Ananya Birla

My Experience of the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’

My Experience of the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’

And they arrived, loaded with heavy jewellery, layered make up, lovely saris and fitted sherwanis . It’s the guests I’m talking about. And they’re greeted by our overzealous host , “Oh I’m so glad you all came. Make sure you don’t leave until you’ve had your dinner and blessed our dear couple”, followed by a series of over enthusiastic hugs, breaking your rib cage into pieces.

The perfect clichèd scenario of any Indian wedding.

The big fat indian wedding comprises of a groom, his family, the bride, her family, their relatives, friends, friends of friends, their relative’s relative. Oh well, the list goes on and on until they’ve invited half of the town to showcase their ‘love’ for the couple ( Read that as To showcase the amount of money splurged on the wedding.)

If someone fails to turn up for the wedding, the host will never fail to notice their absence and would say, “Oh, he couldn’t make it? How sad,  We were anticipating his arrival” and all you intend to reply is “Yes, we fools drove 25kms to attend this wedding, making our way through the drunk baratis and women clattering about their sarees and jewellery and you’re complaining about one  person who is least bothered to be here”. Except what you end up saying is “yeah sad, I wish he could make it “

Weddings have always been an extravagant affair in India with festivities lasting up to a week or even more. Also, bride and groom witness distant relatives being called whom they’ve  never even heard of. I somehow had an opportunity to visit this big fat indian wedding at Umrao. Yes, The Umrao . I was mesmerized by the ‘carnival like atmosphere’ and a sense of ‘impending adventure’ of being a part of such wedding began to tantalise my senses.

As I stepped inside the hall, I could hear the baarat arriving so I waited at the entry to get hold of my friend who was dancing merrily on the dhol beats. The groom arrived on a horse that was laden with  sparkling jewellery, motifs so much that I feared if the horse was a ‘gift’ for the groom . Secondly, he carried a huge sword in his hand embellished with precious gems, which seemed more like his ancestral property.

Finally as my friend arrived, I could see sweat lacquered faces, including hers.  A boisterous sea of humanity hummed in the perimeter buzzing with maniac energy. The air was laced with the mouth wailing aroma of melted butter, spices and vegetables being fried at one end. The food menu was enormous. I reckon they had every cuisine which was available for the guest, that could practically satisfy half of the population below the poverty line. That’s not an exaggeration but the truth being said. The first hall was dedicated  only to food.  Having a chef who has no idea about Indian food at an Indian wedding is a tremendous virtue, tossing the vegetables in thin air with one hand and juggling noodles with the other.

There comes the bar counter, heavily blocked with boys and uncles and some jazzy aunties in sequin . The entire shelf was covered with fancy bottles, clearly indicating a lavishly expensive arrangement . This place was getting interesting by the minute. As we entered the second interconnected hall, it had a huge stage with flowers adorning every inch of that hall. Orchids, jasmines, lilies name it and you could spot it there.

And suddenly, all the men including the old uncles seemed to look excited until my eyes made it’s way to the stage. *jaw drops* three ladies stepped up the stage, wearing high heels and and a dress which can easily be confused to that of bikini, they were belly dancers. The audience experienced a spontaneous rapture when the gorgeous ladies danced to sensuous arabic beats. The women in the audience eyed them with dreadful looks because they knew that their respective husbands or boyfriends are gazing at the dancers with mesmerised eyes.

It was now the bride’s turn to enter the hall. Loud shehnais were being played in the background and foreigners were dressed in an Indian attire to escort the bride. There she enters in a carriage carried by 6 men on their shoulders.  She steps down the carriage in her designer outfit and she looks gorgeous in that elaborate Manish Malhotra and a traditional polki set which looks like a uniquely crafted piece.

Indian weddings are a way to make easy cash and the elaborate gifts mainly gold or silver, which guests are very particular about . (A traditional way of extortion which is absolutely legal.) The groom and the bride finally exchanged the garlands while the relatives hustled around to get pictures clicked and handover the gifts to the couple.

The Big Fat Indian Wedding is an experience and costs a hefty amount of money. Its all about being elaborate in the whole setup. The wedding’s grandeur is directly proportional to the family’s reputation in the society.

Whatever we say, Indian weddings are one of a kind.

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