Punjabi by Nature
(No intended mockery, just a peek-a-boo into a Punjabi wedding from my eyes)
A colossal farmhouse situated far from the city and undoubtedly it would take you at least an hour to reach there no matter where you live. On the way you just might get confused as to where are you actually heading to as you would be driving on a highway at night among those horrendous trucks but one diminutive thought to your attire will bring you back to reality. Finally you somehow manage to reach your destination, partially aware and partially ignorant of what lies ahead. You step down from the car and while uncreasing your wrinkled outfit you put on a facsimile smile almost instantaneously as you see a relative. The parking which is generally positioned at a comparatively higher level than the main party area, gives you an overview of the throng of ‘sardars’,their turbans in shades of black, grey and blue with a few odd ones in red or maroon accompanied by their wives dressed in multitude of colors.
Now starts the actual process which can be divided into two broad categories- formality and actuality. Formality would be performed by the distant relatives of the bride and groom, whose sole purpose out there is attendance. But they also perform another important function of ‘indulgence’ into all kind of edible stuff they can put hands on. Actuality processes would include all the close relatives, the immediate families of the bride and groom who are actually a part of all the ceremonies taking place and often would not even know what was on the menu. It also includes the bride and groom for whom actuality, more appropriately put, is reality. The bride uneasy in her weighty dress, anxious but giving a smile portraying her disarmingly charming beauty and the groom waiting patiently on the stage as the bride enters gaining all the attention. As soon as the bride reaches the stage everybody goes back to their own tasks.
The aunties, congregating in groups forming a place to watch and be watched, a place to flaunt something on which they spent thousands over the past month. After minutely examining each one in their own transitory group and in the vicinity of the group they would start commenting on how many kilos each has gained or lost and why. While the uncles can be found wherever some drinks and non-vegetarian snacks are being served. The children would either be up to some mischief with their new-found playmates or they would be trying to find a way to rid of their over possessive mothers. Among the ever ignored group of adolescents, some find their way into the limelight through ways I am totally unaware of, and others like me comparatively socially awkward, tend to adhere to someone with whom they can possibly have a word or two and then again look for their parents, finding them with some relatives and manage to get an occasional remark on their growth spurt.
I do not intend to ignore the most important part of a wedding, FOOD, which I believe concerns 95% of the people in the party. The variety as we all know is bountiful for snacks, drinks, main course and desserts, making it a sort of paradise for ‘foodies’.If one observes closely, there are interesting ways in which the food is served and consumed. The waiters would do everything they can for beautiful ladies or seemingly wealthy and generous ‘foodies’, where there would be high probability of baksheesh. Other waiters can be mostly found serving with reckless discourtesy, carelessly spilling things over some auntie’s expensive sari who would in turn curse him with observable artful animosity. But a waiter, a server, emanates some kind of anguish, shows stoic anger that hangs in the eyes of repetitive ill-paid work. The consumption of food would bring forth yet another fascinating aspect, coming back to the aunties; they must never be found eating something while meeting a relative. You can actually see them making all possible attempts to hide the fact that they were eating and also its against their pride to go and take something on their own (except fruit chat and gol-gappas).So they devise ways to do that, they hunt for their children and tell them to do the same, the obedient child goes and gets whatever her mommy wanted only to find out that four other aunties also want the same thing, and the poor child is trapped. Whereas the uncles have no worries of being caught they rather tell the other person to join them.
So after getting your attendance marked (giving the ‘sagan’), you mentally start preparing yourself to go but physically it would take a lot of time. The spouses would keep telling each other that they are getting late, but either of them gets stuck up with something and the other gets goaded in that time. Then somehow they reach a consensus and finally move out, settle back in their cozy car, loosen their ties and other tight strings (whatsoever), yawn and go back home discussing everything from food, to clothes, to venue, the overall arrangement et cetera, et cetera.Just then an idiotic argument would crop up from nowhere and the husband takes a wrong turn by mistake, wife:” how many pegs did u have tonight” ,then pin-drop silence in the car until they reach home.