On Weddings & Celebrations

The last 16-17 months have been the first time since 1996 that my parents and I have lived together in Chennai(Bombay – ’96-’03 and ’03-’09 I was in a different city/country). And coupled with that, myself and college friends slowly inching towards(or are already) what everyone we know perceives as “marriageable” age. And that can only mean one thing – attend a hell lot of weddings. In fact I’ve realized that there is really nothing called “wedding season”. It seems to run throughout the year nonstop.

Indian weddings have always been about a lot of noise. If it’s more of ritualistic cacophony down south, it’s music and dance up north. More often than not. While the Nadhaswaram /Melam helps a lot in this case, the noise gets accentuated by itself depending on the crowd density and this in turn depends on the families involved. And when everything comes together, forget your NRI friends on the phone asking you for wedding details, you can’t even hear that NRI friend’s husband sitting right next to you. But fortunately, that was not the case in the recent wedding I attended and that was mainly due to the fairly moderate crowd in attendance. Thanks to which, we also got to listen to a beautiful saxophone fused with the Nadhaswaram that made for a quite a serene noise less Tambrahm wedding. This is always cue for your parents to tell you,”Remember this idea during your wedding”.


For weddings where you do nothing more than sit down in one corner, small talk if you are lucky enough to find company and then proceed for the food, there is always bird watching to do. Beautiful people dressed in designer clothes. Ordinary people made to look beautiful with all the clothes and decking up. And if you end up tracking the relationships that begin at someone’s wedding ending in marriage, you’ll mostly continue tracking well into the past. It’s recursion at its best, somewhat in the reverse direction. And if you’re more than usually interested in clothes, you have more things to watch out for. In which case, my mom sets the peak by tracking similarities in blouse stitching and how one city follows a similar pattern while another has its own. We realized much later that those NRI friends hunting for wedding details should have actually spoken to my mom.

In Chennai though, I’ve seen quite some strange adulteration of traditions mostly serving as a reason to celebrate more. Now the whole “Mapillai Azhaippu”, band etc. have been done away with. It’s of late substituted with Mehndi and Sangeet where legs move quickly and alcohol flows freely.  Last weekend, there were two weddings with Dandiya as part of the events on the eve of the wedding. I am wondering if Falguni Pathak would begin to have a niche market down south in the coming years. These gatherings can be fun but like a stock broker, you need to know when to quit. The parties run well into the night and by about 2 or 3 AM, you’ll witness(if you are sober) the family members getting cocky and twenty year old issues coming to light. Trust me, you don’t want to be there. That’s your warning bell to leave. But if you’re drunk it’s not going to make one bit difference to you just as it doesn’t  for them. Well, as long as everybody’s having fun, no one’s complaining.

In all this reverse larceny orgasm, the least involved people are the two beings getting married. Some of them don’t even care. Most of them, given a choice would go for a quiet non-celebratory event. I recently met a blog/online friend who returned from US and was telling me about how she doesn’t really want these elaborate get togethers and would rather opt for a simple ceremony. She asked me, “Why is an engagement necessary? Why serve food to the same set of people five times in less than a year?” Very valid question, no? But then there are no rights and wrongs here. It just comes down to the choice of making it a quiet happy day or a boisterously joyous one.


19 thoughts on “On Weddings & Celebrations

  1. Well, we NRI friends were actually sitting here wishing we were a part of the whole wedding! Compared to the quiet, streets here with not a soul to be seen walking, that noise is a refreshing change!

    I wish I have a very quiet, simple, inexpensive wedding. I’d be more than happy with a saathiya type (minus the eloping) simple temple mein wedding. But to watch, I’d love to attend all kinds of extravagant ones!

    I also worry sometimes that in making a wedding huge, we might end up losing the traditional touch — nadaswaram, wedding mantras, the tiny tiny rituals. etc. Hope that never happens!

    Really enjoyed reading this post wolfie!

    Adi: Dont talk too soon. We’ll be there! :P


    1. I agree.
      I also think I was born early too. It seems so much fun being a young marriageable adult these days and more so one who lives in India. :|

      Adi: Seriously?! :P


  2. Oh yes. My friend, who recently got married, had their mappillai azhaippu at Rain Tree, with all the NRI aunties getting drunk and the Chennai mamis left aghast. To top it all, 2 days after the wedding, they had a cocktail party at Savera to further celebrate. We had our fun, but it was funny actually. My parents got scared I’d ask such unrealistic things (according to them) during my wedding and carefully refrained from attending and endorsing it ;)

    Adi: Haha I’ve been hearing a lot of tales like that!


  3. lol….Im curious to know…what type of wedding do you want…it looked abundantly clear that u do want to get married ;) :D btw I think u missed another type of wedding which has become the rage….theme weddings…especially beach themed on ECR/Goa

    Adi: Podaaaaaaaa!


  4. Yeah, even am seeing Sangeets and Mehndis in Telugu functions. My take – This is a big wannabe-ness, and like you said the bride and groom are not even concerned most of the times!

    If only we realized that if we invest the money we spend on the weddings and get quiet registered marriages done, we could grow richer faster!

    Adi: I doubt it. We are big spenders right from birth!


  5. Dude,
    You’ve left out light music?
    I kinda feel that marriage these days are more about showing off than actual celebration.

    PS: guess you meant “slowly inching” and not “slowing inching”

    Adi: Yes, corrected! And oh light music? The quality is uber bad these days!


  6. “Remember this idea for your wedding” – LOL! That’s a familiar line if I ever heard one.

    I’ve already informed the rents that in the unlikely case of my getting married, the marriage will be something small performed at home with only close family and friends invited. So about 150-odd people only. Sigh. They can have whatever monster blowout party they want afterwards or before that. The groom, of course, will have no preference because I wouldn’t marry someone who’d have the bad taste to interfere with my plans for my wedding. :P

    I’m with Yamsivam – something tells me we’re all going to get an invitation in the near future. :D

    Adi: 150-odd people? Small? Ahem :P But yes considering some Tambrahm weddings, that is small. And invitation? Hell no!


  7. Lol.. Don’t be so desperate to get married da.. All in good time !! Btw wat ever happened to the good old Elai sapadus and hours and hours of
    Vettti gossiping..

    Adi: Dei! You comment once in 10 yrs and you had to call me desperate!


  8. Lovely blog :)

    Funny how the bride and the groom don’t know most of the people who attend the wedding/reception.

    Also, a correction..
    “…. how one city follows a similar pattern while another has it’s own.”
    – “its”

    Adi: Ty! And yes, corrected!


  9. whatte good boy you are, going for weddings with parents!! :)
    i love weddings only for the elai sappad! sadly for me, most weddings opt for buffets these days…

    Adi: Haha many of those weddings are of friends!


  10. To each his own I guess. Given a choice (ha!) I would go for a simple low-key thing for myself, but these things are more according to the girl’s predilections.


  11. dude,
    it is very costly these days.
    i mean even a middle class wedding would come anywhere near 5 to 7 L.infact my bro made an excel sheet for

    Sometimes,even i wonder do we need to spend that much ?

    Nways, its one time expense…


  12. I loveee weddings, but then again, I attend them once a year so it’s not as common. Also, my age group is JUST entering the whole wedding thing (And sadly, I might be one of the first), and a lot of the weddings are in India so I never really attend.

    Here, mixed marriages are getting to be VERY popular, but even then, I can’t think of any of our family friends who have had an alcohol-friendly South Indian wedding! And definitely no Sangeets. Either people are more backwards here, or I just know the wrong people :P

    Weddings are really expensive, more-so in Canada, and I know people say its a 1 day thing, but really, it’s a lifetime of memories. Ideally, I’d love to have my wedding attendance to include only my closest friends and family, and one big reception to invite everyone, but by the time you invite 10 people, there are 450 on the list!


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