I know the title would make all the married folks smile, for the one who takes the plunge knows it all. But, for all you married and single readers who are hoping to get some masala on the nuances of marriage, you are in for some disappointment. For this post is not about the side effects of marriage, it is about the side effects of attending a big fat Indian wedding!
Recently, we had to attend a relative’s wedding. But what seemed like an occasion to unwind and catch up with juicy family gossip turned out to be a comedy of errors. So, without wasting any more time, let me just take you through the countdown to the wedding.
2 days before
Just like the bride’s beauty regime begins days before the D day, the guests too take pains to look their photogenic best. Mom in law ordered me to arrange for her hair color to ensure not even one white hair escapes untouched! I requested my salon lady for a late evening appointment for her “special” glow facial. What usually is a relaxing activity for me became a substitute for lullaby since an exhausted me, after a day full of meetings virtually got the facial etc done in a sleep mode. Poor lady had to wake me up frequently to save the facial cream from smudging on the salon chair.
This is the focal point of the preparations, for any slip here invites horrible photographs and secret discussions among the ladies groups. While I prefer to plan the look in advance, mom in law always comes up with a lazy “I will pick up anything that day” answer. However, in this department, I am the boss, so I insist upon selecting the attire, jewelry, accessories etc and even give strict directions not to make any last minute changes on her own. Seemed my foresightedness worked for we realized we had added few more pounds since the last wedding we attended and an emergency visit to the tailor was called for.
No matter how much work life balance we working women maintain, we are always expected to take leaves whenever there is something to do with relatives. Be it a relative dropping in for stay over, or a function at a distant relative, my father in law always tells me “the organization won’t stop working if you take a day’s leave!” I somehow manage with a “I will come early” promise, and by now, everyone has realized my leaving early from work means leaving half an hour early! Still for them, something is better than nothing!
The D Day
It was the day of the wedding. While the relatives had summoned me to be a part of some rituals to be performed by married women of the family that day, my super supportive mom in law made up for my absence with a perfect excuse. Praying for not getting any last minute meeting invite, I rushed for home.
The moment I stepped in, I was welcomed by shining faces with smiles. Everyone but me, had spent the afternoon getting ready at their leisurely pace. Now only I was left. Mom in law asked me to get ready in 10 min. “Getting ready in 10min for attending a wedding?” My eyeballs almost popped out of the sockets! “Ya, you can just get the basic thing and remaining can be done on the way. After all the venue is far and there will be traffic jam” she said. I realized arguing would have wasted even those 10 min so I smiled and took my time in getting ready (well not just for myself, coz in between I also helped MIL with her saree, makeup etc. which ensured my extra time went unnoticed).
The Oh so pleasant lo..ng drive!
We just sat inside the car when Mr. Hubby realized we had forgotten the most important thing…the invitation card! For it had the address of the venue! MIL and I grumbled as we had to repeat the process of unocking and locking the house just to get the invitation card! “Couldn’t the men have kept it in their pocket while they watched the IPL repeat telecast?” we grumbled.
The wedding was in at the fag end of an NCR location, and as I struggled with Google navigator to help Mr. Hubby with the route, father in law kept cribbing we would be late and miss the function (though I kept on convincing him that going by the time Baraats (wedding processions) arrive these days, we could watch all prime time shows, leave for the venue and still be early!)
Since FIL was concerned about missing the action, we landed up at the wedding venue directly instead of the Baraat assembly point (we were representing the groom’s side). However, the scheme of things there took me by total surprise. At 8:30pm, the venue wore a deserted look, with some strange faces roaming around. These were people from the Bride’s side and were warm enough to welcome the early bird Baraatis!
Since we were the only people at the venue from the groom’s side the stewards flocked to our table like honeybees on flowers and after 2 rounds I, embarrassed with the extra attention, asked them to focus on serving the bride’s relatives as well!
The 2 main questions
Now there were 2 big questions for the evening –
1. When would the Baraat arrive? (For then only we would be able to hand over the gift and leave)
2. How to pass time till the Baraat arrive?
One hour had passed since we came. There was no sign of Baraat. Father in law got excited everytime he heard the sound of Dhols and trumpets, only to find that the Baraat belonged to another venue! Everytime he called up the father of the groom, he got the same “we are reaching in 15 minutes” reply. “Their 15 minutes never seem to get over” mom in law revolted, for sitting idle in an open lawn on a sultry summer evening wearing heavy saree, makeup and jewelry was testing our patience levels.
Thankfully, the venue was decently filled with people now, majority belonging to the bride’s family, for the 15 minutes were not yet over. There was no sign of Baraat. Many from the groom’s side like us had dropped in the venue too and I empathized with them as they inquired about the whereabouts of the Baraat. Most women took the delay as a chance to take rounds of the venue and flaunt their sarees, makeup and jewelry. The teenager girls sensing competition, took to the dance floor and their almost perfect imitation of popular Bollywood moves ensured a lot of attention from the male fraternity!
Mom in law and I killed time by discussing the sarees and jewelry of the women who passed by but that too didn’t help us for long. I was beginning to feel sleepy and tired by now and felt like hitting the sac, for I had to go to work the next day. So mom in law suggested we have dinner and hopefully by the time we finished, the Baraat would have arrived. Sounded like a good idea.
We had relished the dinner and the desserts but the Baraat was still nowhere to be seen. “Have they demanded dowry and decided to call it quits?” I winked and asked mom in law! “Shhh…don’t talk inauspicious things” came the reply. I was almost asleep with head down on the table when mom in law noticed the groom’s sister in law. As if she spotted an angel, mom in law rushed to her with the gift in hand. From a distance I could see her share a few pleasantries, hand over the gift and come back. “Lets go, we are done”, mom in law said.
“But, w..where the hell (actually I didn’t say hell, though meant it!) is the baraat we have been waiting for?” I asked.
“She says it’s on the way, the people are still dancing” mom in law explained.
Still dancing? I was wondering. Didn’t they know they had invited guests over who had been waiting for more than 3 hours? In a country where guests are considered Gods, here were some people who preferred to keep the Gods waiting while they danced and made merry. Didn’t for once they think of the bride who would have been waiting in heavy clothes, makeup and jewelry since evening, practicing the prefect smile to pose for the shutterbugs? It has been a trend at many weddings for the groom’s side to keep the junta waiting and arrive late for this makes them feel like celebs. But let me tell you that just by wearing flashy clothes and sitting on a horse, one doesn’t become a celeb….one becomes a celeb by his deeds and traits. What is the use of printing false timings on invitation cards then? People should at least respect others’ time.
We left without any further wait for the Junglee Baraat (as I named them)..:)
I felt a sudden impulse to slip a note for the groom’s father
Had we known the 15 minutes would never end, we would have struck a deal like they do with Pizza delivery boys…15 minutes or free…well, since the food is anyway free, the deal would be that if the Baraat doesn’t arrive in 15 minutes, they would be welcomed by a deserted venue!”
Being the sanskaari bahu I am, I obviously didn’t leave any such note.
Yes, the half wedding we attended also gave me a return gift. I was down with food poisoning the next day and red rashes all over my face (wished we would have couriered the wedding gift instead!)
So, for all of you who though only being married has side effects, even attending weddings has its own share of side effects!