How many friends do you have? We will assume that the figure will not be in the region of 25,000 to 30,000. The Samajwadi Party contestant from Ayodhya is clearly much higher on the popularity polls, for he was planning to get married and invite the said numbers to the feast. But the spoilsport Election Commission's vigilance has put paid to poor Tej Narayan Pandey's wedding plans fixed for January 18 on account of the fact that this event may just be a cover to bribe voters. The guest list now stands at barely 100.
The size of weddings is something that we Indians excel in. Many ministers, and we don't want to take names here, have called entire districts to the weddings of their children and then claimed that all the poor ducks were treated to was nothing more than a samosa and a cup of tea. It has become quite the fashion to invite large crowds to weddings even though they may not have a nodding acquaintance with the bride and groom. In fact, it would appear that the bride and groom are the least important people at their own weddings. Indeed, wedding planners now choreograph the event so that the guests, the pyrotechnics and the atmospherics get mention, preferably in a national daily. The poor groom and bride form the backdrop. Not so long ago, a popular neta's son got married and all we learnt is that the gift given to him by the bride was a helicopter. And that the celebrations went on for a week.
When business tycoons get married, we get news that a film star danced at historic sites like the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata or the Versailles Palace. The aesthetics must have been stunning, but who were the bride and groom? In the case of the unfortunate candidate from the Samajwadi Party, it would appear that the man had already paid bills for the gargantuan crowd. But then, he may just enjoy the fact that those who really care will turn up at the wedding and not those looking for freebies, which is what the EC seems to suspect. It would seem that what God wants joined, and we mean wedding guests, the EC has put asunder for the moment.