For the better of the past week I have been going to a wedding every single day. It was a 5 day affair and very frankly I am bored out of my mind. To the point that I might take to shooting the wall next however, I had to control the urges since, i could not afford to ruin any of the bride’s dresses. Even though the bride was not from my family as family friends we had the job of decorating the pieces that will be given as gifts to the groom’s family. However, this post is not about my wedding blues and why i hated this particular wedding (It should be but, yeah), this is about the Indian wedding and the customs and why it is a spectacle you must be to at least once in your life (Even though it might leave you with an upset stomach for a week). No pictures will be there since, I respect the bride’s personal right to having a private wedding.
The Indian wedding is spread over three days (or five days) and people are supposed to feed their relatives for that duration (usually with crappy overpriced food). So, the first day of the three day ceremony is the wedding. It is basically the day where they cram in thousands of rituals and still make time for the registry of marriages. There is a set time for this stuff according to our astrological signs and what not. There is also a set date for such programs (Magh and Phalgun in the Moon calender accounting for the most weddings). The thing is the day has a lot of rituals. The bride is supposed to fast and go through excruciating ceremonies that will bring out her beauty (to ready her for the uhm, first look at the groom). One particularly nice ceremony is the one where the bride has turmeric applied over her face and everyone joins in.
These procedures are followed by the ceremonies (usually done at evening), there are different times when a marriage would take place, the best one is at 7:30 PM, the worst one at 3 AM (and it is not upto the bride to choose).
Here is where it gets real complicated. the bride is at the place where the function is being held and the groom arrives, with the groom’s family and close friends in tow. Some poor souls from the Bride’s side have to life the bride and hold her near the face of the groom as she removes the leaves from her face for the first look (termed as Shubhodristi). The poor souls also have to carry her around the groom 7 times (God bless the family where the bride is a bit on the heavy side).
Then the rituals take place for about half an hour and everyone eats food.
The groom’s show is usually stolen and he’s not allowed to enter the prescribed room after the marriage and extortion with emotional blackmail follows until the groom coughs up a huge load of money to all the involved people (and they think that shopkeepers are the biggest cheats in the country).
That is the wedding day over.
The problem with Indian families is, the ones who come at your wedding or your birthdays are the people you probably won’t even know. People who are such distant relatives that you have to write down their relation in a piece of paper lest you forget and offend them (omg). So, there might be a particular wedding where you go as the friend of the bride or groom and some stranger (someone who hasn’t bothered to show up in any day before the wedding to aid you with the arrangement) and ask you how you are related. So, you would stand there with an open mouth trying to explain the relation feeling awkward between a bunch of people. They are also the best relatives of all because they would somehow choose the most inappropriate gifts to gift. (At my sister’s wedding, a bunch of relatives who me and my sister didn’t know all decided to give her Sarees that were short for her)
The food there is served through caterers (who are basically service people who would make you unhealthy food). They make oil drenched food that you can eat at will and fill you up enough so that you can go all night.
Sometimes the bride and groom themselves are subjected to staying awake all night because of some brothers and sisters the bride might have. In this case, more money is supposed to be given to these particular brothers and sisters (though they won’t let you sleep either way). Then, of course they would go away once the morning comes (No there is no marital bed on the first day) and you will start all over again for another day where you face another bunch of rituals.
Happy Indian wedding monsoon y’all..