Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the big fat indian tamasha

Like all girls, I have always dreamed about my wedding day. I’ve played my favourite Bollywood track on repeat, imagining my friends and family dancing around me while I become the centre of their universe for just a few hours. It would be my day and of course my hone vaala’s day. But it would belong to me a little more than it would belong to him. But now it seems I have to share my day with a hundred people with hundred different opinions. I will have to do things I don’t really believe in and listen to a pundit that I don’t really agree with. When did weddings become so impersonal?

 Yes, Indian weddings and traditions date back to thousands of years but during those thousand years, someone somewhere decided to turn a wedding into a tamasha. The very reason for a wedding has been diluted by over the top customs, social obligations and eye-watering bling. I know so many people that want to elope to a small island and get married with no one around except seagulls and crashing waves. But unfortunately tradition and obligations bind them to the big fat Indian wedding.

I respect and even like tradition as long as it’s in small doses. But I don’t really want it following me as I take my 7 pheras. I want to dance around the mandap wearing flip-flops and a neon colored lhenga with a hipflask hanging loosely around my waist.  But nope, I will have to be a demure angelic virginal bride as I walk around the fire and smile coyly while eyes judge me. I will be a victim and I can’t fight it because even though it’s my day I have to make everyone else happy. Funny isn’t it?

But what I’d hate even more than painful earrings splitting my earlobes into two is the guest-list syndrome that I have witnessed many, many times in the past. So you had a shot with someone once and indulged in drunken conversation and that person is already picking out sarees and designer ties for your wedding. Even colleagues expect to be invited just because you ate lunch with them one odd day in a crowded cafeteria. And so does so-and so aunty who is so-and-so’s aunty who once smiled at you with pan stained teeth. If they don’t get a card, they think it’s an insult. Seriously? An insult? I know someone who returned someone’s ladoos because they didn’t get a card for the wedding day. Just eat the ladoos, man! It’s not about you! It’s about two people celebrating their undying love for each other. It’s about two families becoming one. It’ s about over-the-top laughter and smiling so hard your cheeks hurt. It’s not about egos, demands, people pleasing. It’s only about love, happiness and positive vibrations. So no, you and your paan stained teeth will not smile for photographs during my wedding.  

I am not a wedding hater nor am I attacking “traditional family values” or the very fabric of society. But as I get ready to venture down the path of the seven pheras, I am educating myself about certain fallacies that blind people during wedding planning. A wedding doesn’t make a marriage. Let two people start their journey the way they want to start it. Not let tradition, customs and what nots become hurdles. Let two people enjoy every second of their celebration, make silly faces and get uncontrollably drunk and do everything under the sun that makes them happy.  So even though this day might become a little less mine, I’m still going to have a few moments that will belong to me. And tradition will never know