Weddings…people throwing their heads back laughing, kids running around, the aroma of jasmine flowers and traditionally cooked sadhya(traditional meal), the bride gazing dotingly at the husband- these are the images we THINK that consist a wedding thanks to the overly paid photographers we hire. Reality? It’s tiresome and expensive and to be honest, boring. Really really boring.
Here are few of the features of traditional South Indian weddings, in particular keralite hindu weddings, and why I personally being a hindu keralite, never want to walk down the aisle, or in our case, sit cross-legged next to a stranger.
- A whole tour meeting strangers
Weddings are basically reunions, but for these to happen we need to personally go and invite each and every soul settled all OVER India. If you don’t know, India is a union of 29 states and 7 union territories. Your uncle’s friend’s brother must be staying somewhere in Mumbai while your aunt’s grandmother’s friend’s son in law lives in Assam and everyone in India is everybody’s aunt or an uncle.
Personally inviting them is a must otherwise they may take offense and nobody wants to tarnish their reputation-another HUGE must-have in a society. This rule is not applicable for NRI’s.(flight tickets don’t come cheap)
- Hello bankruptcy
Over the top is an unfamiliar term for us,keralites, we replace that term with the one absolute necessities. From the garlands to the gold worn, everything is just..TOO MUCH. Painting the face to make the otherwise beautiful bride into some kind of scary monster, the amount of gold worn on the bride forcing the audience to keep their gaze low for the love of their eyes, the heavy garlands that is used just for one occasion – all these have obscene amount of money involved.
- It’s not for the bride/groom it’s for the others
You did think the wedding is supposed to be for the bride and the groom ,two complete strangers usually, but that’s another point. We put on the entire show, for the people we invite. I remember at my cousin’s wedding, she was fretting about the amount of gold she had to wear and thought it would be wiser to reduce the no. of chains and make it just a single elegant one. My aunt was so appalled at the suggestion and she gave an excellent rebuke, “What will people think?” yes, because we get married for people *slow applause* Wonderful logic!
- The photographers butt
Honest to god, this is a common problem we face at keralite weddings. People come from all places(refer point one) to see the groom and his bride, but of course the photographers butt is what they end up seeing most of the time. I get that it’s important to take beautiful shots, and make it look as natural as possible but take a few and GO AWAY ALREADY. I’m not at all photogenic, so this Is quite personal.
- “Do you remember me? I balanced you on my hip on your 1st birthday”
Uncles and aunties, everywhere think that somehow we are Einsteins. The fake smiling and getting introduced to so many people whose names we will forget the second they step off the stage to let more strangers, who become best friends during introductions, greet us.
- The hunt is on
Weddings are a great place to meet people. Especially for an aunty looking for a bride to marry off her handsome ,’very fair’ son and goes on enquiring after every girl present in the wedding. Yeah, just take away our happiness.
- Inappropriate comments
Since weddings are the only places we would tolerate family, uncles and aunties seize this opportunity and make the most of it.
“Why don’t you have kids yet? At old age, nobody cares about your bank balance”-right, so that’s why your kids left to USA and left you to take care of the loans, and never heard from them again. Yeah sure.
“Doctor? Huh? Family life will be very hard noh? Best you get married before you complete the degree , these days nobody wants old brides”- Yeah because I’ll be undergoing menopause if I wait for like 5 more years -_- and don’t contradict yourself!
“You have two daughters? It’s wise to get them married off early, my daughter Laxmi got married at 21 to an engineer, happy life. Look at Rekha’s daughter, you see her pics on ‘the’ facebook? Nasty child” – we DON’T care
Squeamish references to the ‘first night’ to the couple who already must be hyperventilating with the thought of spending the night together with a stranger. And many many more.
Weddings have all this, but they are also memorable once in a lifetime events that are cherished. If your groom/bride can tolerate all this, and still want to be a part of your family, it definitely forms a special bond. After all who knows, you may fall in love with your other half in your own wedding.