Cliche'd Title... rightly so.. there is so much so cliche'd about the Indian Wedding that one would not even know where to start from. I intend to write about my observations about an Indian wedding, or maybe a "how it's done for people from UP" wedding as I walk through the course myself (in due course of time) and how I see things happening around!
What you read below is something that I had written about a month ago at a small gathering at my cousin's place!
I am sitting at my cousin's place attending a small function where his future in-laws have come to formalize the marriage and start formally calling him the son-in-law or Damaad. My cousin is a very soft spoken family guy and has been agreeing to most of the things a very typical arranged marriage system offers and demands from a groom-to-be, right from meeting the girl for not more than 10 minutes, and that too after the marriage was fixed, not talking too much with the girl till marriage, to adjusting with the marriage of two families.
Yes, in India its families that are married and not just bride and the groom. I am sitting amongst auntijies and taijis, and mausijis and chachijies and what not, who remember me by my nick name and find it very awkward associating a 30 year old man with a name like that! This cousin in question is younger than me and a part of all initial conversations, and no points for guessing, is when am I getting married? or why am I not yet married? Mom over years have perfected a response to this question, which is, Baat Chal Rahi hai, Dekho kya hota hai! i.e. there are talks going on, let's see when things take shape! It does stop any further questions, however not before an elaborate mention of some distant relatives daughter who is very pretty, slim, tall, well educated and comes from a family like none other!
Me not being married is a big concern also because most men of my age in their opinion have atleast two kids, one of which is already going to a school! My dear friend Prashant, the clock is ticking! tick tock tick tock!
Now that the fact that I am not yet married and would soon be getting married, is established in the conversation, I now get treated like any other kid around. Everyone suddenly has this uncontrollable urge to stuffing me with food, and the keen observation that I have reduced weight and I look weaker than before comes alive! The fact that no one around has seen me for years, and have no clue of what I used to look like even an year ago has very little or no statistical impact on this observation!
Whatever said and done, this overwhelming affection that you get in Indian homes from people you know and people you don't, makes India a better country to be in from the rest of the world!
A couple of hours later, after the girl's family has completed the "Ladka Hamara Hua" (the boy is ours) formalities, the environment is suddenly a lot louder and happier. Pleasantries have been exchanged, sweets distributed, and envelops with 10 and 50 rupee notes have been given by the bride's father to my mausiji for distribution in the family... These envelops equal the number of people in the family, first cousins of my cousin, brothers and kids of my mausaji's and their family, and who and what nots... This is some sort of a ritual that is important, and is called Milai, something that you give when you formally meet the boy's family, only in this case they have met just a handful of people they got envelops for!
There are some kids roaming around the house and according to the auntijis mine should have been a part of that gang, but that is beside the point! There is this li'il girl about 5 years old who is looking at her reflection in the glass door of a showcase and calling it a ghost! Cute! and that makes her the centre of attention now. I am writing this and am trying to read "Chai Chai" ( I need to write my thoughts about that book too soon)
The ladies in the room are also talking about the various connections between various people and how they are related to each other through some distant chacha or mama or mausi aur dewar or bhabhi and so on... During all this relationship networking, what stands out is the fact that all the women in this room still refer to themselves along with the village they belong to! and there is a certain amount of pride which is associated in this reference! interesting!
Infact, for a long time I used to refer to Kariyari (my mother's village) as mine, which irked my grandfather (Father's father) like nothing else... That's is another story that I would write sometime later!
For now, the people have started dispersing and its time for me to get back home!