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My bigger fatter Indian wedding


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Check this out... :lol: :P



The Great Indian Wedding Tamasha


You’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Now watch the sequel: My Bigger Fatter Indian Wedding. Coming soon to a family near you.


Last week, it played to a packed house in my family. The groom was Punjabi, the bride was American and the wedding was a full-blown Indian affair with more relatives, more noise, more chaos, more functions — and more calories — than any other event invented on Planet Earth.


The bride’s family — all Americans visiting India for the first time — were drowned by the typhoon. The culture shock must have been similar to what Aunt Puppie from Punjabi Bagh would feel were she to be suddenly dropped in a remote Alaskan reserve.


Function one: Bride’s family, dressed in formal black, arrive promptly at 7 pm because that’s what it says on the card. There’s no one there. They don’t know yet that when we say seven, we mean eight, even nine. All evening, they stand politely in a corner with a glass of wine, unsure of what to do.


By function three, they begin to loosen up. The beat of the dhol is irresistible, and some even dance Punjabi ishtyle. By function five, there’s full capitulation: All the Americans are now wearing bright Indian clothes, eating chaat and going balle balle.


By function 55: the bride’s girlfriends also all want to have a big, fat Indian wedding.


I think the ease with which this particular American family adjusted to the chaos of Indian wedding celebrations had a lot to do with the smash hit film Greek Wedding which “wedding-broke” many westerners into our touchy-feely, family-oriented cultures.


American anthropologist Edward Hall said that a neat way to understand world cultures is to broadly classify them into two primary types: High Context or Low Context. Once you understand the differences, you can immediately sense where different countries fit in.


High-context cultures (the Latinos, Greeks, Indians, Asians) are marked by lots of touching, hugging, constant interruptions, loud decibel levels and many things happening all together. Life revolves around family and food, food, food.


Low-context cultures (Germans, Scandinavians, Americans) are more reserved, more punctual. They are uncomfortable with too much touching and too much noise. People tend to be more individual than family oriented. They do business differently too, going by firm commitments rather than word of mouth. When a Swede, for instance, says a deal is done, it’s done. When an Indian says a deal is done, it means: Maybe, if one of a million things don’t go wrong.


Still, even among high-context cultures, the Indian wedding stands out. It involves as much planning as the construction of a nuclear power plant — except it costs more. And it has stubbornly withstood the winds of globalisation. My family members have married an American, a Swiss, a German, even a Chinese. But did they have an American, Swiss, German or Chinese wedding? No way. It was always the great Indian wedding that prevailed.


The pull of the Indian wedding resides in the deepest part of our cultural psyche. Take all those global Indians who are westernised in every way, punctuate their every sentence with: “That’s so cooool”. But when the time comes to marry, they all want to fly back home and have a Hum Aapke Hain Kaun wedding.


While the world gets more compact, the Indian wedding continues to expand. It has not let go of any of its old traditions but it has opened its big arms and allowed many new elements in including dance floors, DJ’s, Thai food, western music. Meanwhile, we continue to also do everything our ancestors did. Why we braid the horse’s hair or put kajal in the groom’s eyes, beats me. But we do it anyway.


What makes the Indian wedding so resilient? I think somewhere the great Indian wedding is an affirmation of Family, which is among the deepest held of Indian values. Weddings are a public statement of how much family matters, even when it contains embarrassing relatives, gossipy aunts and the inevitable drunken uncle or two. The great Indian family embraces it all.


The bride and groom are actually quite incidental to the whole show. Lots of other sub-plots are going on during the celebrations. Cupid is running around between the shamianas. The air is full of intrigue, hormones are on high alert. Hindi films have taught us that love is inevitably found at Indian weddings — hey, that could be a future spouse standing by the dessert table. The great aunts are busy sniffing all the young people and filing them in their mental matchmaking drawer: “Mr Chopra’s son, my, how well he’s doing. He’d be perfect for Mrs Singh’s daughter. Such a lovely couple they’d make.”


Of course, one of the USPs of an Indian wedding is also that something must go wrong. You can hardly have seven days of celebrations without a disaster or two, stuff that will then become stories to tell grandkids. I have personally witnessed several such “disasters”.


Like a close friend whose family went to town over her wedding — with theme cuisines, decor to-die-for and a bridal outfit that made everyone go “awwww”. Except in all the chaos, they completely forgot to arrange for a priest or a havan. The mahurat clock was ticking away. The bride and groom ultimately had to take their pheras around a candle placed on a table.


Then there was this cousin whose baraat we accompanied to the bride’s hometown of Jaipur. Just as the baraat was about to depart from the guest-house, the groom’s pyjama tore. The family dispersed all over the place, hunting for a needle and thread. But none was to be found. Finally, we reached the bride’s house two hours late where our hired band was waiting. Soon as we reached, the band packed up. It was a jail band and their time was over. They had to report back to jail. So we entered the bride’s house in utter silence.


And then there was this other wedding where the relatives all sobbed copiously as the bride got into the doli car. The shehnais wept. The sisters cried. The car wasn’t even out of the driveway when it collapsed with a flat tyre. The crying relatives had to come running to fix it.


Speaking of which, our Big Fat Wedding of last week also ended with its own little disaster. On the last day, the entire party fell sick with upset stomachs. What began with champagne ended with pudin hara. That’s just the way marriages are. For better or for worse.


Kabhi khushi kabhi gham.


Simran Bhargava has been a writer and editor for several years. She writes a weekly column on the business of life. She can be contacted at [email protected]




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Guest LiquidSky

That is too much too read....so I didn't read it... :smug: :lol: :dozey:



and as for the question of the poll... I'm not gonna get marry... :)

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