Weddings in India have often been generalised into an amalgam of Noise, Colour and People. I don’t believe I am as well placed to confirm this ideology, nevertheless I have found myself attending quite a few of these “Indian Weddings”, and well it is true. But not as true as one would believe.
As a member of the party of the bride on various occasions, I had mostly seen quite a number of Christian Weddings. Amidst all the hullabaloo that is integral to well, any wedding, it never dawned on me to look with a keener eye or even gaze a little more diligently. I didn’t question customs, their rationale or their history. For Indian Christians aren’t married exactly like in the west. There is a wedding service in the church, but the service is interspersed with elements of local customs and traditions. But as a consequence of the elasticised time frame, I had slowly started learning. Through bouts of wedding errands and bouts of staying out of the way so the “Grown Ups” could run their errands, I understood some of the concepts. But then all these instances were almost always a family affair. Thus repetitive in the nature of their proceedings.
And finally I found a way out of the rut. An opportunity had presented itself and it placed me at a very Hindu Marwari Wedding. With no familial obligations and no wedding responsibilities, I got to go exclusively as a well wisher, which invariably translates into spectator. Indian weddings have always been deemed loud, from the clothes, to the music, the colours and the food, and I would be lying if I said that I expected anything different. But, surprisingly I had stumbled onto a very different kind of wedding ceremony. Indian Weddings are seldom quiet affairs, but here I was.
This time as part of the Groom’s, also known as the “Dulha“, entourage we got a chance to see him get preped and ready. With the elders instructing him on what to do and what not to do, he readied himself for the “Baraat” or the Groom’s procession.
Traditionally, the Baraat would ensue from the Dulha’s house to the house of his bride, whilst the Dulha leads on a horse. A band accompanies the Baraat as the groom’s friends dance and cheer. Unfortunately, now with the urbanisation of marriage, the Baraat isn’t that long a walk.
And the groom doesn’t always ride a horse, either.
A little coaxing is always in order, and the women folk always relent.
The Baraatis continue dancing till they finally reach the abode of the Bride and are welcomed by the bride’s family. In this case, though, we had just walked over to the reception hall of the Resort. There was a little more dancing but only after did the ceremonies begin.
Erstwhile, I finally managed to catch a glimpse of the bride. And she looked ravishing, I kid you not. As shy as she could be, she smiled nervously as the groom made jokes of his own. Even the Pandit laughed.
Thus in this very “Mandap”, these two took their vows and completed their seven rounds around the sacred fire, “Agni”, and henceforth, were happily promoted to the ranks of the Married.
Weddings, only after you go to one (or in some cases, quite a few) do you understand why whatever happens, happens.