Weddings; they seem like happy enough occasions. Two people decide to spend their entire lives together, in sickness and in health, for rich or for poor. The concept enchants many a people out there. Eons ago, I used to be one of them.
Recently however, I’ve had the opportunity to see an Indian wedding up close and I was not impressed, to say the least. I always believed that a wedding should be the happiest day of a womans life. This could be the concoction of sitcoms and movies I grew up on talking, but I honestly believed that the bride is equivalent to the queen on the world for that day. She gives up everything familiar for a new life with a new man; you can’t blame me for believing she would be treated with care. If it were me, I would definitely be on edge. I was however, in for a shock.
I imagined that the friends of the bride would be deeply involved in helping her calm her nerves and be at her prettiest best. I was sadly mistaken. Most of them are too busy checking on their own hair and selfies are a must. It doesn’t really matter if the bride is struggling with her attire or the heat the studio lights are inevitably casting upon her, selfie toh lena hi pade!
I always thought that Punjabi weddings meant there would be an abundance of alcohol and everyone is welcome to drink it but apparently, the bride and her friends should be more ladylike and try to resist the urge to get a little happy high. Although an extremely helpful chacha did offer us quite a few drinks on the day of the Sagan, our little clique was specifically instructed to go nowhere near the bar ourselves. Considering all of us have certainly consumed more alcohol than most of the people there, that was quite a bummer.
I always thought I would find myself slightly envious of the bride; she found the one for her and her special day has arrived. I have never been so wrong. She was decked up in a lehenga weighing around 8 kilograms and had a ton of makeup on. Her shoulders were stooping because of the weight and the exhaustion that set in due to 3 hours of waiting for the baarat to show up. Once the baarat did show up, they were so busy dancing and forcing her to dance, they really didn’t notice how frustrated she had inevitably become. Not only was the baarat 4 hours late, they didn’t seem interested in putting her out of her misery. There were about 8 cameramen flashing away to glory all through the wedding. The inumerable studio lights made it next to impossible I couldn’t help but feel pity for a friend I cherished so much. Pity was not what I thought I would feel but pity was the only emotion I could feel.
The patriarchal nature of the vows almost angered me. “You shall not run back to your parents house without the permission of your husband.” Yes, that was one of the vows she had to take. I could have given a little leeway to “without informing your husband” but the word “permission” successfully shocked and pissed me off. His vows? “I will not spend money, buy anything, or make a great business investment without discussing it with her.” What if she’s earning too? The vows itself made me somewhat nauseous. I thought people in this particular socio-economic environment would have moved past such primitive notions of male domination. The fault in our society is deeper than I ever perceived it to be.
Arranged marriages usually give me the heebie-jeebies, especially if it’s only been a couple of months since the bride and the groom have gotten acquainted. I personally wouldn’t be able to make such an important decision in such limited time. You meet a stranger a couple of times, and you decide whether you’ll spend your entire life with them or not. It sounds even more bizarre when I pen it down.
I fail to understand why one needs to call a gazillion people to their wedding; people the bride or the groom hardly know. I believe it is their day, I believe they have a right to control their own guest list and I believe they get to decide how many posed photographs they want to get clicked. But what do I know? I’m just a pseudo-kid with a so-called twisted opinion on the handlings of marriage. My word really doesn’t count that much.