The Marriage cacophony.
It was at my young cousin’s wedding that the ludicrous farce of the modern Indian wedding hit me. Upon entering the residence of my relative, many days ahead of the wedding to ask if I could be of any assistance, the watchman indicated 4th floor without even looking up from his Candy Crush Saga. I could only imagine that the footfall to the ‘marriage waala ghar’ had increased.
I found the door ajar with a million shoes mounted outside that were enough to put any decent ‘maata kaa jagraata’ to shame. As a person who is not fully versed with the concept of date, time etc., I panicked thinking that I may not be aware of some ceremony and a quick check on the blessed What’sapp allayed my fears. “It’s not even remotely close to the wedding date yet…” I thought as I practiced a smile reserved for relatives.
The dog of the house that was hiding under the sofa clutched my leg for his dear life. I saw my uncle deeply immersed in a conversation with an alien looking person in a fedora hat…”so the platform on which the bride and groom would stand is a hydraulically rotating one so that everyone can get a clear view,” he said with a smile that put Arnab Goswami’s smirk to mind, “ also there will be drones to photograph and shower rose petals on the guests…” I giggled at the thought of my cousin and her fresh husband going “wheeeeeeee…” on the rotating platform and some drunken relatives falling off it… While exasperated father of the bride and the older uncle (who seemed to have been given some commission by this guy going by Uncle’s enthusiastic agreement on everything) were busy working out the math on the crazy stunts, the sofa was occupied by a caterer (busy exciting himself by tickling the innards of his ear with a toothpick), a flower person (again trying to break the ever menacing candy in the Candy Crush saga), a wedding planner was busy talking to another client on the phone and discussing how the horse reserved for the day was suffering from a bad bout of loosies as the ladies in the previous event had overfed it and that he was trying to find a replacement in the required colour… I quickly gave up the idea of saying hello to my uncle and moved on looking for my aunt.
Strangers surrounded her too. A young enthusiastic girl was teaching her some weird dance steps, ”Now aunty, gyrate your hips again at the count of four then move your chest so…” she demonstrated and my poor aunt who has gently packed on some pounds due to her academician’s life, struggled to follow her lead. The senior aunt gave me a hug while I scrabbled at not looking confounded at the goings on, “Preparations, beta, ”she said and I thought, “for what? India got talent?”
By the window was the hair stylist, busy eating ‘faafda’ and looking into the make up person’s phone as she updated her Facebook status. The cook was standing at the door peeping, gazing at my sweating, dancing aunt with such happiness that my suspicion of his infatuation for my aunt was confirmed. The tailor was waiting for trial of the blouses, his bag over stuffed with glittering, shining stuff.
The house that has always held a certain peace and tranquillity thanks to intellectual parents and studious children, was transformed to the set of a cacophonous Hindi soap opera. Shopping bags covered the floor, chocolates and mithai boxes were littered everywhere. I meandered my way to the cousin’s room, with the shivering dog still clutching on to my ankles. She was busy listening to a PYT who was making a strong case for pre-wedding skin care, message, warm pebbles, oils, exfoliation, detoxification etc. while brochures and menus were being waved in her face. “Let me look through it and respond,” my cousin said after which we were subjected to an apocalyptic style warning that if she does not make up her mind soon she will lose a once in a lifetime opportunity, a manna from heaven, a sure shot lottery, a way out of her oily..parched…spotted…patchy skin to morph into a glowing, baby like one only and only if she signs on the services on an urgent basis…
The chafed bride-to-be turned around and shared, ”All I want is to spend these days with family, reading my books, playing with my dog in my room…” I could see a far away look in her eyes. These precious moments of her single life could have been spent in a serene manner while I see her sadly drowning in a quagmire of a crazy circus like mayhem.
Talent: Dayana Erappa
Photography: Vinit Bhatt
Photo edit: Jatin Lulla
Hair and make-up: Megha Kothari