Weddings, poles apart
We had the pleasant experience of attending a South Indian wedding in our old friends circle in Mumbai recently. Both the bride and groom were IT professionals and their parents were well-placed too. The ceremony was arranged at a community hall on a Sunday from 10am to 1pm. Writes Neela Soodchandigarh Updated: Feb 19, 2014 09:32 IST
We had the pleasant experience of attending a South Indian wedding in our old friends circle in Mumbai recently. Both the bride and groom were IT professionals and their parents were well-placed too. The ceremony was arranged at a community hall on a Sunday from 10am to 1pm. The rituals started at 10am dot and continued for two hours. The bride and groom were in simple, traditional attire.
All male family members were in dhoti. At the time of the ceremony, the couple and their respective family members participated in the rituals piously. After the ceremony, they accepted compliments humbly. There were no designer dresses or hairdo or any beautician to prepare them for the special day. No snacks, cold drinks or coffee were served. Yes, there was drinking water.
At 12.30pm, we were requested to move for lunch. We were seated on tables coupled with wooden chairs. Around 250 guests from both sides partook of the food that was served on banana leaf. The food course comprised eight dishes. We ate to our heart's content and relished every delicacy, each being served by individual men, in steel buckets with serving spoons. They would ensure that one had as much as one wanted. There was no wastage. After lunch, every guest was presented with a special packet of 'laddoo' and an idol of Lord Ganesha.
While returning with another Punjabi friend in his car, we were in a thoughtful mood. Overwhelmed by the sheer simplicity of what we had seen, we were busy mulling over the big fat Punjabi wedding. In the last decade, we have noticed how even choosing the wedding venue in North India has become a big issue. A few invites take you 25 km away from town for the two-hour ceremony, while others settle for a star hotel. The ceremony is generally at night and you're lucky if the 'baraat' arrives by 11pm. By then, most guests have loaded themselves with snacks so when dinner is served you indulge yourself just to spoil a plate. Many don't mind leaving behind a lot of unconsumed food. Generally, you are back home after midnight and the hangover remains the next day.
In the North, the wedding ceremony is performed past midnight when even most of the close family members are yawning and struggle to stay awake with puffy eyes. Very few attach any importance to the rituals though care is taken to engage the best 'pandit' and select the most auspicious time. Both the groom and the bride are least inclined to understand what he chants in Sanskrit. The entire attention is on clothes, hairstyle, make-up and of course the photographer.
The point is if'idli dosa' can travel from South to North, why can't the simple customs whose aroma is more pronounced than that of'sambar'? All of us claim to champion the cause of women's equality but it can happen only when we walk the talk by making the marriage ceremony a simple affair.