There is a reason why it’s called a big fat Indian wedding. The number of people coming to it is usually big, a third of them are people you don’t even know and at least a fifth of them are fat.
Big is a relative term actually. At a recent wedding of a close friend who insisted it was a ‘small’ gathering, there were 400 odd people. It was a scene from a K-soap—her lehenga weighed 10 kilos, her card weighed a kilo and shed glitter with a vengeance, her make up weighed another kilo and rendered her smile-less, almost botoxed. She needed four chaperones to stand, sit or move and it took me a while to spot her, as she was beyond recognition.
The average family wedding I have attended has anything between 400 to 800 people. So my folks were a bit shocked when I told them our magic number was 120. Only immediate family and friends— people we celebrate and those who celebrate us—that was what me and the beau wanted. The list was a dream come true.
“What about all the weddings we have attended? Don’t we owe them an invitation?” was the initial worry from my folks. Fortunately his family was much cooler and totally believed in the ‘small is beautiful’ concept.
I can’t speak for others, but I don’t exactly dig going to my grandfather’s sister-in-law’s niece’s brother’s wedding. Or such innumerable miscellanous weddings to which one is invited at age ten, when you don’t want to go anywhere except to play with your friends.
And I get no joy out of someone telling me how he/she is connected to my family tree.
My parents are largely cool, and they came around. But the uncle from down south thought otherwise. “Well, I will need some cards for my wife’s brothers, sisters, their spouses and their children. Also, you must invite my son’s in-laws, they might expect it… I quickly added up the utterly dispensable cast and shuddered.
There is a problem with wanting tradition, but also wanting it to suit your sensibilities. My pundit was a bit stupefied when I told him that I only wanted rituals that celebrate womanhood and are not in any way sexist…That I had issues with kanyadanam and being offered as a bribe to stop the groom from embracing asceticism. He mumbled something about getting back to me and hasn’t called me since.
The wedding card was another thing I was concerned about, and I somehow managed to extract rights from the mother, else it would have been Sow…, daughter of……., niece of …………., grand-daughter of………….. weds Chi…….., son of …………, brother of ……………., brother-in-law of …………….
She relented, as she gets me..but she had her two bits to leave behind:
“It should not be black”
“It should have a ganpati”
“People should know it’s a wedding card..”
Ok, that much I can deal with.
There was more—the whole sari and jewellery business. I saw no point in picking something that weighs a ton and that I will never wear again, so I picked up something light, yet elegant.
“It’s not grand”
“It doesn’t look like a wedding sari”
“What will people say?”
“You only get married once…”
And to think that I still have more than a month to go.