I participated in the wedding of my nephew today.
I have missed many a wedding in the past many years, because I have been away from the country or from the city where most of the action happens – that would be Chennai, or the South Indian city more famously known as Madras in the past.
The best part of Indian weddings is the renewal of the old contacts from relatives and acquaintances, who you have forgotten or who have moved on elsewhere, or who have become top bureaucrats, or officials of public sector companies, or who have started companies of their own, et al. It is wonderful to get to know these folks, who also sometimes happen to remember you, hopefully with pleasant memories, and then start chatting.
The second best part of Indian weddings is the spirit of camaraderie between the family members of the bridegroom and the bride, which is often witnessed only during the wedding, sometimes ostentatiously to ensure a smooth execution of the wedding itself. Nevertheless, it is an important display of possible teamwork between two largely unknown groups of people, who come together on the occasion of the wedding (usually only a few key people from both sides meet prior to the wedding, unless there was a big betrothal event well before the wedding). I like that spirit, and watch for the execution of the same over the couple of days that the teams are interacting with each other.
The third best part of Indian weddings is the competitive “games” that are played between the bride and the bridegroom as part of the wedding process. For example, the bride has to sing a song and the bridegroom has to reciprocate. These games are held amongst a closed group of relatives from both sides, usually in the afternoon of the wedding day. There are many such games and it would be very interesting how the relationship dynamics moves between both sides and how the bride and the bridegroom interact in a social setting and try to loosen up.
Nowadays, the length of Indian weddings (except for the very rich ones) is dropping to barely a day. During my time, it started on the first day afternoon, went into the main wedding day, and then on to the third day when the departure takes place after breakfast. Those old-fashioned weddings do happen these days, but they are becoming rare, with cost and time pressures having a big impact on the wedding execution and budgets.
The one thing I forgot to mention is that the “dress sense” of most attendees is on good display – one would see that even the usually most shabbily dressed guy turns up in a jacket or in a nice shirt because he is going to be on the video and going to be photographed, and he wants to make a good impression on others. The other thing is that parents of offsprings who are reaching marriageable age look out for suitable matches in gatherings of Indian weddings, which is a good place to start with.
Overall, it is always beneficial to attend a relative’s wedding from the perspective of renewal of contacts and to rejuvenate old relationships. As one gets older, these things become all the more important. The older people in the families also love the fact that all their family members come together for such an occasion.
I decided I would try most sincerely to attend most weddings of close family members from now on. Hopefully I should be able to do that.
4th February 2012