Indian weddings are synonymous to the big fat affairs especially if you belong to somewhere in the north of India, not to mention, the state of Punjab where the weddings are grand affairs demanding more attention than a lot of festivals.
An Indian confesses that the foremost reason why she never misses an opportunity to attend a wedding is because of the food on offer! Agree?
India and its customs never fail to surprise anyone. With every 100 kilometres, one can notice a change in dialects, which usually don’t claim a lot of attention but also don’t go unnoticed by the people with a keen eye and keener ears. The same goes for lifestyles, traditions, festivals, and folklore. With every 100 kilometres, a difference in the style of celebrating a festival can be observed, a different tradition kicks in with next 100 and a different lifestyle follows in the next 100. The weddings in different parts of India are observed in different ways varying with not just the location but also the communities, religions, castes and historical backgrounds — but the reasons as to why, when and how people attend Indian weddings majorly remain universal.
I remember when I was a kid, the sole reason as to why I liked attending weddings was because the weddings were a rare opportunity to catch up with distant cousins with whom I shared mutual interests but who otherwise lived so far south that it was almost impossible for a ‘middle-class’ me to geographically spend my vacations with them. However, I did spend my vacations thinking about their vacation spots. Practically, the only way to stay connected with them in those days was to write letters and while I did write them four-page long letters every now and then, I rarely ever received replies longer than two short paragraphs. Whoever once said that our priorities change with time must have been a very wise man (or woman, no offences) because I clearly remember that by the time I attended my fourth cousin’s wedding, the only thing I cared about was the food. Unanswered letters from my favourite relatives had put me off and the only motivation for me to travel 300 kilometres for the uninteresting wedding of a bimbo for a cousin with a rich NRI was the possibility of treating my taste buds with a variety of delicacies for three full days. Trust me, if the food at a wedding is good, everything else has a chance to go unnoticed even the bride and the groom. It’s equally applicable vice-versa.
Food remained the sole motivation for me to attend weddings for a large part of my life. Even now, when I am at a wedding, there is a great chance that I am there just for the sake of food. After all, what kind of Manchurian can ever replace the taste of the ones you get at the weddings? How can anyone resist the never-ending supply of Paneer Tikka and Tandoori Chicken? The seemingly perennial fountains of endless varieties of cuisines particularly of the food items that your mothers tell you against can turn any food-addict on.
In fact, simply the idea of great food especially if it’s apparently for free can lead you to foodgasm. I have been particularly lucky in the case that my brother has constantly been in habit of tipping waiters at the weddings ever since he was a young fellow. However, the size of the tips grew with his age, profession, and class but I never thought of switching my table or company at the weddings. I have always chosen to stick by him because that choice has always ensured me quick service of best of the cuisines available at the wedding. I remember a particular wedding where the waiter promised my brother a couple of extra cuisines of his choice which was not available for any other guest for an extra charge. That night, the two of us with a couple of more friends and cousins had sat in the car parking of the hotel, swallowing chicken tikkas and kebabs!
While my reasons to attend weddings have remained constant for a long time now, not much has changed for my parents. They still care about the price of the plate at the hotel and how much shagun they received on their own kids’ weddings before they load their bags of shagun to be handed over to the bride or groom’s parents. In fact, they even care about getting their pictures clicked at the wedding with the wedding couple to ensure that nobody, later on, accuses them of not giving the shagun. Sometimes, I wonder would their lives have been much easier if they too cared just about the food?
Now, I might seem like a ‘bhukhad’ at an Indian wedding but there are a few other things that too tempt me to not miss the occasion, however, they don’t stand a chance without the food. I love the way everyone is high on emotions at the weddings, the smell of mehendi and haldi thick in the air, the traditions, the customs, the colours, the smell of the spices and sweets all across the house, the décor, the flowers, the apprehensions, the lights, the music and the dance and the endless possibilities of a new life. I guess, weddings everywhere are both similar and unique at the same time and no matter why we attend weddings, it’s the people that we are surrounded by that make everything beautiful.
Keep blowing the Trumpet! This & many more stories await in the pages!