We Indians are obsessed with weddings, aren't we? Doesn’t matter if the marriage itself doesn’t last long, but the wedding? Oh the wedding has to be a big fat affair.
While the west may stick to just one basic format of conducting a wedding, India has many. Each state has a different custom, some lasting up to five-six days.
And that’s where we Malayalis fall short. Ouch.
Our weddings last for five-six hours, at the max.
(Whatever I’m writing, is based on a Malayali Hindu wedding. I haven’t been to many non-Hindu Malayali weddings, so I don’t have any authority to talk about them. But I would love it if others could share their views.)
# Out of the five-six hours, three hours will be dedicated to photography. It does not matter if the bride and groom get boiled under the heat and lights, they still have to maintain the five-kilometer wide smile. And pose with uncles, aunties, friends, colleagues, mom’s brother’s father-in-law’s sister’s son’s daughter. What is supposed to be the most special day of their lives rapidly turns into one that they just want to get over with, so that they can drag their tired bodies and aching mouths to bed at night. (Do 'First Night's still happen? I wonder how they can still have the energy!)
# Let’s not kid ourselves- we go to a wedding to have the food. You know I’m right! And having food at a Malayali wedding is no easy task. To quote the Cadbury’s Bourneville ad, you can’t just eat a sadhya, you have to earn it. There are a few qualities that are a prerequisite before you even consider having a sadhya at a Malayali wedding. (a) Determination (b) Sportsman spirit (c) Incredible strength (d) Complete disregard for other people, and e) A little bit of shamelessness. Be prepared to say goodbye to your best silks and cottons, because believe me, it’s a fight to the finish.
# And once you get inside the dining hall, don’t relax thinking that the worst is over. This is where your speed-eating skills are put to test. Either you eat fast, or you wait for the serving people to dump everything on your plantain leaf at one go, and then relish the indescribable mass of food at leisure. Your call. Oh, and don’t even for a second think that you can eat at leisure. If the dining hall has glass walls, then may god help you enjoy the food. How, pray, can you eat in peace when people are watching you eat from the other side of the glass walls, impatience (not so much hunger) etched on their faces, tell me?
# The bride and groom have to pretend that they are elephants, or hermits, for the day. A lot of milk and bananas are going to be shoved into their mouths.
# Whose wedding did you come for? Your friend? Your colleague? Not able to find her? You see that girl over there, covered in silk and a hundred kilos of gold, unable to move, with a pained expression on her face, resembling a procession-elephant on diet? That’s your friend. Don’t punish yourself if you are not able to recognize her. It’s not your fault.
#Is the actor/actress within you waiting to get unleashed? Just get married. The photographer will make sure that all your acting skills are put to good (laughable for others) use. Then bury the wedding album in your backyard and ensure that your children never ever find them. They won’t be able to take the trauma.
# There will be a battalion of jobless women, also known as relatives and acquaintances, who come to weddings to do nothing better than comment and criticize. “Oh why is the girl wearing such less gold? At my son’s wedding, his wife was almost falling down due to the weight of the gold she was wearing! Such a proud moment for us *sniffle sniffle*”. And if the girl is wearing enough gold, it’ll be the food. “What??!! Only four types of payasam?! Such a shame.. *BURP!*”. (At my sister’s wedding, she refused to wear gold, and my dad was so tired of explaining to his lady colleagues that the reason why his daughter is wearing only necklace is because she doesn’t like wearing gold, that he finally told them he had gone bankrupt, so he couldn’t buy any jewelry for her.)
# I've always wondered why people gain weight once they get married. Now after seeing my cousins and my sister getting married, I think I know the reason. No no, it’s not because of all the love that they’re probably making(Is that just a myth? Married people, enlighten us.), it’s because they are made to stuff their faces with so much food at the houses of the hundred relatives that they have to visit after the wedding, that it’ll take them years to burn that much fat out. I’ve seen skinny girls transform into mini-elephants a month after their wedding. Come on, it HAS to be more than just ‘love’, right?
IS there any way to have a registered wedding but still keep all the cash and gifts?