New style wedding



When I was a young man I remember my parents talking about their wedding that was spread over four days. I could never imagine how the guests spent their time for such a long period and also the strain that must have been on the hosts. By the time it was my turn to wed the whole process took just over a day.That was more or less the norm for south indian marriages during that era.

However, of late the saas-bahu serials and surfeit of Bollywood films extolling the ceremonial virtues of north Indian weddings seem to have penetrated the mindset of people in the south, too. Thus, Mehendi, Sangeet and Bidaai seem to have become an integral part of most nuptials that I have attended in Bangalore. Recently, not realizing the enormity of the situation, I agreed to be part of the baraat at the wedding of my friend’s son. I was ordered to come for dance practice at his house. We were met by a professional choreographer imported from Tamil films.The briefing given to us was that we were to beat the bride’s family in the dance face-off at the Sangeet.

The next few days revealed to me the number of disused muscles in my body. Some of us oldies had a tough time keeping steps with the younger members. Meanwhile, my wife was busy as she was part of the mehendi group. Unfortunately, we were trounced at the dance competition as the opposition had younger and more energetic members, plus they wore matching costumes.

The other custom imported from the north is the practice of the bride’s side hiding the groom’s footwear and then selling it back to him at a price. At my nephew’s marriage in Mysore, in their innocence the bride’s family, who had been raised in the north did just that. Unfortunately,they had not reckoned on my sister-in-law’s reaction. When she got the the information of the filching she marched purposefully to the bridal party’s room and in a no-nonsense tone demanded the chappals back.Taken aback, the other side meekly returned the footwear.

With many NRIs holding their weddings in India, some of the western procedures have also been adopted. One such is the toast, normally delivered at the reception or Sangeet. Thanks to having raised toasts a couple of times at my Rotary inaugural functions, I seem to have been targeted by friends and relatives to write one for them. In most cases, depending on whether one is from the bride’s side or the groom’s the idea is to pass light-hearted comments about the pitfalls of marriage and the opposite sex. Thanks to online bookstores I have a large collection of quotations to draw from. Without a qualm I pilfer liberally from them. Needless to say, some of the quotes could be termed chauvinist.
Overall, these weddings are great fun for the guests but pretty tiring for the hosts. But one regret that I have is that I have never been invited for a ‘Destination Wedding’ where guests are flown in chartered flights to exotic islands. Maybe someday…

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