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The Great Indian Wedding

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!


  1. While the essence of the Great Indian Weddings probably remains the same across India, these little rituals vary so vastly across regions and cultures that I think a whole book can be written on just those bits.

  2. great!! it happens everywhere. I thought these rituals happened only in my family. When I got married these small things were the most important compared to the marriage itself.

  3. @ Richa
    then I think we should write a book :)

    @ Varun
    you bet they do!!! Marriage is made up of so many small small but crucial tit-bits that its virtually impossible to know all of them I guess!

  4. I totally love Indian weddings and every small 'rasam and rivaaz' associated with it. :)

    Hmmm ek book likh hi dalo aap :)

  5. Prashant, you forgot, the rupees filled envelops have either 1-rupee notes or 1-rupee coins (sometimes a 2-rupee because the elderly family member can't see so clear with/without glasses). I love those crisp little notes/bills/coins so much.

    Rs. 11 or Rs. 51 is luckier than Rs. 10 or Rs. 50.

    Nice post. :)

  6. Lol..I was smilin while reading the entire post, you made it sound so funny!!
    Nice post though..congratulations to your cousin, and a very good luck to u too!!

  7. LOL... gosh I miss Indian weddings.. Not because I enjoy these item like events but for the foood !

    Yeah there is this silliness in Indian weddings and i have often wondered if any wedding ceremony for that matter is as silly. REFERENCE to movie my big fat greek wedding.

    I am so happy I simply surpassed all these auntijies and taijis asking me when I will get married. Yet there must be some fun answering those questions too

    Have fun

  8. @ Swati
    hmm… I doubt if I love all of them… most don't seem to be worth it as they are more of a "shosha" now than real rituals! I hope I will learn more about them and change the opinion!

    Book = WIP

    @ Kishley

    @ Kanan
    I actually noticed if these envelops have the 1 rupee coins stuck to them! they did not have :)

    There was a reason why 1 rupee is added to the whole amount! let me find out and write about it!

    @ Vaishali

    he is a good boy! and would be a nice husband and a son in law!

    @ Iya
    Food is great there! I agree :)

    There is a bit of silliness yes, and some are rituals which are being followed but seldom people know the reason why or they have been deformed beyond recognition just to suit the modern style of living!

    No asked you ? uff! too bad! :P

  9. very well and humorously written post...capturing the essence of the moment...

    i love weddings....especially all the music and dance elements....of punjabi weddings...but they are teally OTT now [over the top]...it is nothing short of a bollywood production.....

    the earthy sanctity and simplicity of creating bonds of the heart between families have been reduced to matireal exchanges and politics....

    and it is perhaps because these bonds of are not created between families, that they are becoming easier to break.....

    it would be worthwhile to understand the deeper significance of the 'rituals'.....i think several are there just to provide livlihood to tentwala...and ghodi walas...

  10. ya...you are right. 'shosha' is the word for some of them these days.
    I don't love 'all' the rasams but I like the sweet & fun ones like the various games the bride & groom play during the shaadi pooja - including the 'coin' game. Also, there is another very sweet game in which the groom has to open small boxes using only one hand the bride hits him with a tiny 'belan'...it means the groom will not interfer in her kitchen and let her handle it...lol. Then the 'joota churai'...total fun :)and there is another one called 'Dwaar Rokai' in which the groom's sister blocks her brother's way and asks for money before he enters his home with his bride for the first time...hehehe And of course, the 'kanyandaan'- the most emotional moment is any girl's and a parent's life....love all these :)they make weddings so much FUN!

  11. Badhiyaa Chai......infact the weddings across India are same! They are tea.....everyone addicted but prefer a customised tea as per taste :-)

  12. Another thing to like about Indian weddings...the beautiful clothes... the bhangra/dancing! I have seen that the weddings in Delhi are more elaborate, in Punjab they aren't on the scale of Bollywood, are simpler.

    The reason (as far as I know, there may be more to it, but thats what my Mom told me years ago) for giving Shagun in denominations of 11, 21, 51, 101, 501 etc., the addition on Re 1 is for the auspicious, happy moment to increase by leaps and bound. 11, 21, etc. signifies continuation as opposed to just 10, 20 as it signifies culmination, an end. And for that reason the decorative envelopes come with Re 1 already attached...it is hard to find currency in that denomination...unless you go to a bank! So put the shagun in and one is good to go. No need to worry about where to find Re 1!! :D

  13. this post was fantastic...captured the full essence of Indian wedding specialy the north Indian one :)

    The events seemed so familiar :)

  14. lol...very interesting and accurate narration...long live indian weddings...its no doubt a tamasha but so very full of fun :)

  15. @ Joy
    koshish to bollywood productions ki hi karte hain sab :) family ke liye time kahan hota hai!!!

    @ Reetika

    @ Swati

    @ Jigyasa
    hehehe… very true!!!

    @ Jas
    the bhangra is not "Indian" weddings, its punjabi weddings! The weddings in the south are lot quiet and subtle.. nothing like what we see in the north :)

    That is an interesting point of view for the 1rupee… I heard a different view.. will share sometime :)

    @ FJ

    :) you bet!

  16. Oyee can you write a summary :) ??

    Else make it readable on reader entirely...

  17. I hope the book you are planning to write is not as lop sided as chai chai

  18. "When are you getting married?"
    Tell me about it bhai...