An 'Indian' wedding

An 'Indian' wedding

When my nephew Ramu suddenly announced that he is going to marry his colleague Sushma, the first question my sister shot was to which caste Sushma belongs to. Ramu said, “Amma, she is from our own community but she is a Hindi speaking girl from UP.” My sister was disappointed to have her only daughter-in-law a non-Kannadiga, but didn’t articulate it.

My brother-in-law was very firm that the wedding should be held as per south Indian customs. Sushma’s parents wanted traditional north Indian wedding to be held at their home in Noida. The consensus was that the wedding would be held at the bride’s place in both north and south Indian styles and transport and accommodation for groom’s party from Bangalore would be met by the bride’s father. Christmas day was fixed as the wedding date.

Our family priest, who was unable to accompany us, arranged for a priest at Delhi to officiate as the ‘purohit’ for the wedding. Many of our close relatives backed out of the trip at the last minute even though my sister had offered a trip to Haridwar and Rishikesh as bait. We blamed the north Indian harsh winter for their decision.

The moment we arrived at Delhi railway station we were welcomed by the bride’s relatives who had arranged a bus to take us to Noida. Since the ‘muhurtam’ was fixed at 5.30 am the next morning, the Delhi purohit also joined us at the station. A gusty chill wind made us uncomfortable. Our escort distributed ‘kambals’ thoughtfully brought by him. As we reached our hotel, we were told that the Mehendi will begin at 4 pm and the marriage will be solemnised at 10 pm.

Though we were all very tired, we reached the bride’s house in time. The events that unfolded made us feel as though we are part of the movie ‘Hum Aapke Hai Kaun.’ Invitees started arriving by 9 pm. A clandestine bar set up at the venue by the bride’s folks became the most sought after place for most guests.

Even by midnight, the reception had not concluded and the guests who wished the couple were enjoying the king of good times. Feeling tired, my brother-in-law asked his ‘sambandhi’ to order ‘pack up’ so that all of us could be ready for the early morning muhurtam as per our customs.

We hit out beds at 1 am. When my wife and I came to the hotel lobby at 4.30 am, except the groom and his parents, none of our relatives were to be found. We reached Sushma’s house at 5 am. A sleepy servant opened the door. Our priest made hurried arrangements. Even at six there was no sign of the bride or her folks. At seven Sushma’s mother appeared and said that it will take at least two hours for them to get ready. My sister looked at the priest. He consulted his books and said that the next Muhurtam is only after two months. My brother in law’s face fell. I said “Do not worry, the wedding is already over.” “In north Indian style,” retorted my sister.

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