My cousin’s weeklong wedding that I attended recently will never fade away from my memory and heart. Each day was so special and touching that I am sure that whenever someone will talk about weddings, I will present this experience with zeal. Held at Bhakna village near Amritsar, it was marked with enthusiasm, rich traditions, simplicity, and unity; which one comes across rarely in contemporary times.
Not only the wedding home but also the entire village was gearing up for the function. The villagers had thrown open their homes to the guests, and many of my cousins and I were among the people who enjoyed their warm hospitality that, simply said, melted our hearts.
To my amusement, whenever the guests were to be gathered for any celebration hour, the announcements were made over the village gurdwara loudspeaker, so that no one could miss it. And, the celebrations didn’t have loud and messy DJ music but women singing wedding folk songs in a group for hours every day. I had seen this sort of celebration for the first time; it had its own charm. The songs were followed with traditional dance giddha and the old comical bolis .
A popular elderly chef of the village prepared gourmet food, desserts and assorted rich traditional sweets that exceeded the expectations of every tongue. He is often invited to cook at functions in even far-off villages because of his high culinary skills. After every meal, the air would be filled with the praises of his food, which was way better that what is served in most high-end marriage palaces and hotels. As I have a sweet tooth, I would try his gulab jamuns and laddoos, his signature specialties, everyday, for taste and quality that not even the famous sweetshops in any of the cities could create. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I feel the chef knew the route best.
With daily hustle-bustle packed with so many surprises, when the day of the marriage came, we thought it had come too early. No, we did not rush to any luxury hotel for the function. Rather, everything was arranged at the grand home, everything except wedding ritual Anand Karaj, which was at the gurdwara that was earlier making all the announcements. The groom and his marriage party from Faridkot came with a young Malwai giddha (performed by men) group instead of the usual brass band.
How those young men danced around to the tune of old bolis had its own delight, and it painted before all a picture of Malwa’s wedding tradition.
The same evening, I had to leave, as my holiday was over, but the memories of the simple wedding travelled back with me. It was a perfect break from the world’s regular, ostentatious weddings that have redefined only materialism. Going by the current tastes, most families use weddings as a platform to show off their wealth, and everyone seems to be in this blind race; even when materialism can never offer you true satisfaction.
But, congratulations to this family that has set an example! It, too, had enough money to organise a big, fat luxurious wedding but it preferred to remain faithful to simplicity and tradition. Let’s be inspired by it and give space to the much-needed simplicity in our lives. American poet Gary Snyder said: “Simplicity is light, carefree, neat and loving and not a self-punishing ascetic trip.”