Before my wedding
Being on the clumsier side(I would rather say that people around me are always over smart), wedding was a word I normally never chose to say aloud in childhood days as this topic would lead to another irritating topic- match making and I would be teased for no relevant reason. Just one question about wedding is enough and I would be flooded with questions like why do you keep thinking about wedding all the time, do you want to get married soon, is that why I don’t see you studying. I am too grateful to god for not giving me any cousins who I can get married to. Otherwise I would be teased with him like anything. Why is the word wedding introduced to us in such an irritating fashion?
As a kid, I was supposed to stick around my mom in wedding ceremonies as I will also be wearing some gold (there were too many people and it is not safe), thus preventing me from playing with other kids of my age. Otherwise I would have made friends with them easily(my mom's statement, I can speak to even a stone) and saved myself from extreme boredom and my mom from my extreme irritation. When my uncle got married I learnt that wedding changes both the guy and the gal’s lives drastically. Why should there be 1000s of people gathered for two people getting married?
As I grew up a little more, my cousin got married. That was fun. We used to comment on the people from the groom’s side as they were strangers to us and we were not bothered about the fact that we were supposed to welcome the guests by sprinkling rose water on them and presenting women flowers. We tried to distract the bride by doing gestures when she was following the pandit with the rituals. She would shout at us later but we were in our own world. From here the great saga of match-making started. And this ends only when you get married. From then onwards, attending wedding became a highly troubling thought.
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, when the weekend just starts, all the happiness is spoilt when mom says ‘tomorrow we are attending a wedding’. Grrrr!!! Throat cleared. I did not hear anything. Ignorance is bliss. And then mom says ‘I’m going alone so you come with me’. Another grrrr! And mom says ‘There’s no harm in socializing a bit. And you don’t even know your grandma’s sister’s son-in-law’s brother’s kids.’ Why do I have to know them? Anyway, my mom is an unstoppable force of nature. She was about to ask me to practise wearing a smile on my face but I was already working on it.
The best part about weddings for me is that there is a man now in his 70’s named Dev. I call him Dev maam (Dev uncle) because he likes it that way. As a kid I used to call him TV ajjo(TV grandpa) because we became friends when he came to my house and mom was preparing something for him as well as looking after my sister(a kid then) and dad was not at home and I attended him with a friendly gesture. Our conversation picked up and he started throwing general questions about TV and he was impressed by the way I responded. The next time I attended a wedding, mom introduced him to me as ‘Do u remember this grandpa? He asked you about TV at our place, remember?’. He happens to be my grandpa’s cousin and is a very good friend of mine. His wife (who is also very sweet and is coincidentally my grandma’s cousin) often calls me Dev maam’s girlfriend (she even told that to my husband on my wedding day while wishing). He is my savoir when my mom decides to introduce me to someone I don’t know. I quickly disappear and will be busy talking to him. Mom won’t interrupt as he is an elderly person. If he doesn’t attend the wedding then I am in danger.
The giggling sisters would tell me for the 63rd time that they have seen me when I was a baby. And I would swear for the 39th time that next time before they tell me, I would tell them that when they saw me when I was a baby, I wanted to punch them. I would even smile a bit at the thought of seeing them not giggling. An overacting fat woman in her 50’s would come to me and say ‘Oh my god, you have grown up!’ as if she expected me to shrink with time. This comment was worse for me as at the age of 12 I was 5’4”and I never grew an inch after that. The problem is the latter part was a mystery at that time. So the comment will continue ‘if she keeps getting taller like this, how will you find a taller groom for her?’. Come on aunty. I’m just 12. I’m getting married at 27. There are 15 long years to search. Don’t you worry. I will search one for myself by then. The most common question after getting introduced is ‘What are you doing in life?’ The response to my answer is ‘Really? You look like you are going for a job.’ Then she calculates in her mind my age with that of her close relative and the most eligible bachelor according to her and decides that he has to wait a lot for me so it is a bad idea. I would smile a little more thinking that the poor guy doesn’t even know what is happening and she imagined him waiting for a 7th Standard gal to be of marriageable age and complete her studies.
Another escape from these people is to help the old people. They end up being familiar faces as they sit in the same place and are too weak to get up even for the feast. Someone has to get a plate overfilled with all the food items for them. I offer to get the plate for them and they will not be overfilled, just what they want. They ask me again and again who I am(because they forget) and I would reply confidently because I know that they are too preoccupied with making ideas on how to get up to think about my wedding. Here we also get bonus blessings.
People rush to the serving hall the moment they are allowed to. Some are too hungry to wait. Some want to hog as much as they can so they come without having breakfast. Some come late and directly go to the serving hall without even checking if they are attending the right wedding or not. Some are worried if the wedding halts they won’t get to have the food. After four to 5 rounds, comes our round to have food. Mom will still be busy introducing me to someone, but I’m too busy with the food to answer their questions and my mom does it for me.
The worst part in a wedding is greeting the couple and posing for a picture. There is rarely any couple out there who smiles whole-heartedly and accepts our wishes. They are so preoccupied with the pandit that even if someone comes with a smile and in a greeting gesture says ‘Dude I din like your choice’, still the guy will take it as ‘Congratulations’ and will thank him. In short, they will not have the patience to listen what the person is saying as they will be tired of listening to each and everything the pandit says. They do not really bother that we have come. Even some of my really good friends acted weird when we came to greet them. They just gave a half smile and continued. It is very disappointing. But why would they care? There will be thousands of people and the day will be one of the most special days in their life. Not to mention they will be stressed and tired and hungry.
The whole idea of this changed when it was me getting married.