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December arrives and brings with it not just the holiday spirit but also the wedding season. The season of big, lavish, modern, Indian weddings. Here the traditional ‘Saptapadi’ (the bride and the groom go around a holy fire seven times) goes hand in hand with the couple’s dance, a la Bollywood style. Here the ‘pangatiche jevan’ (lunch arrangement where guests sit cross-legged on the floor and food is served on banana leaves) is replaced by the chocolate fountain that adorns delicious desserts towards the end of an elaborate buffet line up. No one celebrates weddings at the scale that Indians do, no not even the Greeks as one Hollywood film would have us believe.
As a kid the weddings I attended would only be a half day affair with the guests leaving after lunch. Curiously enough, the various ceremonies that precede and follow the main event these days start around 8 pm. Attending such late events can be a ‘night’mare (pun very much intended) for the parents of toddlers especially when it comes to kids like our daughter who have a strict bed time of 8:30 pm. I was very skeptical when I had to take her to a spate of such wedding related celebrations that lasted for a whole week last December replete with loud music, people talking even loudly in order to be heard over the din and uncomfortable seating to put babies to sleep (read me and my husband huddling close to each other to make our knees touch and make a, long enough ‘bed’ for our daughter). We thanked our stars later that our daughter was very co-operative and did not throw any tantrums although we were altering her daily schedule. She was truly a darling in that she did not crib even a little bit while I was being the party pooper as I could not stand the onslaught of very late dinners and even later bedtimes for a week.
I recently read this article in the newspaper about the arrival of the anti bride on the Indian wedding scene. The anti bride denies tradition, disowns the red lehenga/sari, tones down her make up limiting it to just blush and gloss and wears minimal jewelry. I am yet to find her. There were at least two dress changes for every event that I attended last month not just for the bride and groom but for all the guests. The boldest jewelry and the trendiest dresses were all I could see all around me. In fact when I landed there with my daughter in her everyday, playtime clothes since I had no time to change her clothes as she slept during our drive to the event, I was surprised when someone chided me for not making her wear something ‘.fancy’. I had to stop myself from blurting out that my daughter was only being pulled here because of me and the only thing she looked forward to that late at night was to make some friends her age and not flaunt her wardrobe.
However, what I was totally stumped by was when someone asked pointing at my 2 year old daughter ” Would you plan her wedding at such a lavish scale too?”. Totally avoiding answering that question, the only thing I said was ” I wonder if people would even bother to get married when she grows up. Maybe that would be the trend then!”