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Blast from the past: A typical Tam-Brahm wedding
This one is too bloody dated. Since then, I've got married and we have a 13 month old daughter as well. But most of what I said is still relevant. Unfortunately, I couldnt have my way with the 'simple marriage' thingie. My insistence on a registered marriage was shot down brutally, without a second hearing.
Come September and its the annual marriage season here. The actual hunting ritual though starts a little earlier on obviously. Having just been to a wedding where I knew both the groom and the bride, from school days, and given the fact that its been ages since I attended a wedding, I was obviously enthusiastic about it.
The first thing that affects you is the early morning start (of course, I really am speaking from attending a Tam-Brahm wedding in Madras, obviously different people have weddings at different times of the day). It really accomplishes two things:
a. Less crowds for the actual wedding ceremony. I mean who in his right frame of mind would travel 10 km on a 2/4/8 wheeler to catch the ceremony ? (It is a different matter though that I did) Besides, doesnt less crowd always mean less expenses ?
b. Hoodwinking the groom. The groom is as human as you and I are. It is ridiculous to expect him to wake up at 0300 hours, take a cold bath and be dressed in the most minimal of garments and sit for hours at a stretch with a few glasses of water and coffee to keep him awake. As a result, a lot of the time the groom is more or less close to zero alertness and unwittingly he's hooked before he wakes up.
Ok, so you're done with watching the groom and the bride (along with their umpteen relatives) go through the early (and i mean really early) morning chores. Next its time for the paatis to show off their vocal talents. Typically the people who sing at marriages are aunts/grandmas/some other random relations of the groom and the bride. Even more typically they are people whose musical careers were snipped short cruelly because of marriage and other such family commitments.
They nurse a burning desire to make it big like MS Subbulakshmi and ML Vasanthakumari. But where's the damn opportunity ? In their case opportunity knocks on their doors whenever there's a wedding in the family. So, in the most screeching of voices (this is after they make a dozen excuses about how its been 34 years since they sung any songs and they have no practice etc. However they are put to ease by half a dozen other people who insist that they are the best singers in that gathering), they "sing" a few FSAM songs (Frequently Sung At Marriage).
The next thing in the wedding (mind you, we arent past 0700 hours yet !) is the actual "he's hooked" ceremony. The music reaches a crescendo as everyone in the hall shows off their throwing skills to the best possible extent, the only problem is that the flowers reach as far as the maama in the previous row and they go home with a "tennis elbow" to attend to for a week.
After this the wedding gets pretty mundane. Of course, the afternoons are reserved for gossips, songs and sleep. Cut to the evening reception.
The groom is dressed in a 3-piece suit, in the 40 deg. C heat of Madras mind you, while the bride has 3 layers of flowers on her person along with a 5 kilogram embroidered saree and as much gold as there could be in Fort Knox. For these two people, this is possibly the worst part of the entire marriage because they'll just have to stand like mannequins and say "Thank you" to everyone who greets them, and sport a smile throughout the 3 hours of the reception.
At another wedding, where I didnt know either the groom nor the guy but had tagged along with my family for a dozen other reasons (primarily because a wedding reception offers a sight for sore eyes :-), I shook the groom's hands and said 'Hi, I'm Jagadish' and unbelievably, his reply was 'Thank you'. He was so used to hearing "Congrats" that the reply was sort of auto-generated !
On a more serious note, I think its high time we, as mature and independent young men and women, put our foot down on all this enormous marriage expenditure and made things as simple as possible.
However, I remain cynically yours
Jagadish - who doesnt expect to go through all this, well not for quite some time yet
All the blasts: Kargil & WC 1999, Lata v Asha, Tam-Brahm wedding, Madras, Unglamourous Orissa, Idols and Bangalore.
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