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Weddings

January 24, 2010

I just got a wedding invite from a friend. There are several weddings happening over the next few months… And I’ve noticed the collection of wedding invites pile up. I don’t know what to do with those cards. I feel a little rude throwing them away… it is special for a friend after all but some aren’t precious enough for me to keep.

And I notice that online invites are gaining popularity. Not the email invite… Elaborate portals where everything from the photos to the venue to whatever else is posted, along with RSVP options though that is such a rare thing in Indian weddings.

Indian weddings are extravagant at any cost. There is never a fixed number of people… RSVP is just catching on and doesn’t always work. I would use the word ‘chaos’ or ‘bustling’ depending on my mood. But it is charming… the mix of people, the food, the warmth for whoever turns up at your doorstep and the willingness to feed them all. That is perhaps the only time when Indian hospitality still comes alive. I remember my cousins and their friends laugh about times they’ve eaten at weddings of people they didn’t even know. That probably wouldn’t happen at a wedding in the West where they have to pay per plate. Well, even here we pay per plate at the bigger dos but the common man… they feed everyone.

And gifts… I wish registering caught on in India. With all the developments, it still hasn’t. Every time a friend gets hitched, I ask them if they have registered and they always say no. It isn’t possible apparently… some might even see it as an insult.

Which is why our generation does everything double fold – there are special invites for their friends, which is more casual and fun, and sometimes via email or like this portal only. There are hard copy invites which can be quite elaborate for their parents’ or family friends and the ‘older’ people. Some people even have two events… for the friends – with booze and dancing and the frills; and for the traditional crowd with a standing reception and all that.

I can’t pick the best one I’ve attended so far. I have attended more engagement ceremonies than weddings so far… and the one that touched me most was an old school friend’s deal. Maybe because I knew her. Maybe because I never thought she would be so excited and jittery and in love. She sparkled. She was a bride. And despite getting two hours of sleep and the length ceremony, I could see her sparkle and I could only smile. And that is perhaps the magic of  a wedding… If it isn’t, I’ve several to attend this year to figure out what it is that makes people want to dress up and sit through hours to have that one plate of food. Apart from the chance for unofficial reunions.

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