Indian Weddings Are Getting Monotonous
Much as I enjoy weddings (only close ones), the big fat Indian wedding is becoming monotonous. At least to me. After all, how much of the same song and dance and plastic smiles can one consume?
To be honest, I am tired of looking at the same kind of jewellery, costumes, glitzy indoor settings (actually bordering on being garish), eating the same kind of food, film songs and even the same dance steps. It’s all so predictable. Aesthetics, what is that?
A typical Indian middle-class wedding owes its origin to Bollywood movies, specifically Karan Johar, who so to say, set a wedding routine for others to follow, glorifying every ritual that was otherwise taken for granted. The rich also follow the same routine albeit with more money and finesse thrown in. Soon film stars themselves started replicating reel weddings into real weddings when it came to tying the knot.
Look at the spate of weddings in the past two years or so, beginning with Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli’s destination wedding, followed by Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif and the most recent one of Siddharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani. Each couple tried to outdo the other in terms of novelty, whether it was the destination, the ceremonies or the attires.
Each real-life middle-class wedding now has an element or two copied from these grand affairs. Both the families tire/stress themselves out in shopping and events – cocktail, haldi, mehndi, sangeet, wedding, reception and in some cases, even an after party. Everything is kind of stage managed and happens only for the camera and finally of course, Instagram.
I had the opportunity of attending one such wedding (no offence meant to both the families and the guests, just my observation) that will give you a clear picture.
The scene unfolds.
It is a stormy, rainy night. The wedding arrangements are partly indoor and partly outdoors. The huge venue looks straight out of a movie set with traditional chhatris, an artificial pond, colourful plastic walls etc. Needless to say, I enter a nearly empty venue with the outdoor arrangements drenched in rain, the family is present minus the bride. I fritter from one snack counter to another in my best ensemble. As time passes by, guests start trickling in and get busy in eating while also exchanging pleasantries. Meanwhile the rain gods show no mercy and the opulent decorations go for a toss. By the time the baraat comes it’s 10 pm. The welcome gets over in another 45 minutes and when the groom enters, it is nearly 10.45 pm. The entry is royal with ‘Azeemo shaan shehanshah…’ from the movie Jodha Akhtar playing in the background. He is escorted to a dais, which is as high as the ones made for the PM for security reasons. I am told the bride has also just arrived after a five-hour make up session at the salon.
From the corner of my eye, I spot some guests slithering out of the main gate just vacated by the bridegroom’s party. It is obvious that they have already given customary ‘shagun ka lifafa’ and are now making good their escape. I can’t escape because the bride’s mother has spotted me. I enter the bridal room and flash a smile for the cameras and am then shunted out unceremoniously because the it’s time for the ‘dulhan’s’ photoshoot. The bride’s mother asks me to wait to see her daughter being wheeled in a decked-up cart up to the dais to garland the man chosen for her by her parents. I spot some colourful pots placed on the wet grass and a few famished girls in bright clothes ready to break into a dance.
By this time, it is 11 pm and most of the guests have left and I too, am planning my escape.
Only a smattering of guests met the bridal couple. I believe the bride’s lehnga weighed a good 50 kg and the groom was indeed looking like a shehanshah wearing a designer sherwani and pearls in his neck. But not even fifty people got to admire the couple because in their frenzy for dressing up and fussing over minor details, the whole family forgot that there’s something called punctuality.
Finally, it is all a big drama for the cameras.
My point is, why have turned weddings into events? Why are they so stage-managed? Where is the warmth and the love?
Let’s get back to having real weddings, please!
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