Friday, July 4, 2008

Frustrations of the bride

As the D-Day approaches, the planning gets heightened and more urgent. This is usually a very irratable time for all concerned. This is simply because Indian Wedding mandate a huge supportive family who will pitch in and share the work.

In todays weddings, with a Nuclear family and relatives dispersed in various cities and continents, I find that this is all but impossible. It leaves the bulk of work to the Parents of the bride and the bride herself. Trivial chores become monstrous and boring. Writing of Invitation cards is one of them. Finding out the addresses of relatives and friends you havent even met or didnt know existed is an associated problem.

Matters are made worse if one has an opinion on anything. If one is particular about how one looks, how the wedding hall will be decorated and how indeed the wedding will be conducted, be prepared for ulcers.

Most of the time, there is little choice, reminiscent of the old India where if you wanted soap all you got was "lal wala sabun" and nothing else. Today we have opinions and our own personal taste and demand choice.
The consumer is king nearly everywhere but not at wedding planning. Tradition and lack of original thought have meant that the rituals of the caveman era continue to be perfomed today without any idea as to why.

Nearly all brides from a particular region therefore look nearly alike, almost uniform. You want to deviate from the beaten path? ( Gosh! What will people think? )

Our weddings and most aspects of our lives are governed by the "What will people think?" rule. It will decide nearly everything that can be decided. Including what one wears, eats, and does. Who these people are; who think; is never clearly stated.

Often the people involved will have ideas of their own, and impose them on you. Photographers will want to use graphics and transport you in your wedding finery to the swiss alps / back waters of Kerala / Waterfalls . They will be surprised when you say no to such advances in technology.

There is also a lot of politics involved in the whole wedding pageant. Chances are your bridal dresser will want to dress you to impress the crowd ( to increase her business ) so she will insist on a style that sits well with them; you will not be high on her list of priorities. No changes pls. ( what will people think? )

Indian brides traditionally look unhappy and sad ( to be leaving the parental home). Today this is simulated by making them as uncomfortable as possible. Stiff kanchivarams, several kilos of strong smelling flowers and mountains of gold all play a role in this.

So it took some convincing on my part to reach a compromise and I am happy to announce that people are far more flexible than before. I convinced the lady dressing me up to abandon the usual white coloured duppata that forms part of the Mangalore wedding dress for a more creamish colour.

It is also customary for a south indian bride to be covered in piles of gold. While I love jewellery, I dont want to be made up like a christmas tree. Protests fall on deaf ears ( what will ppl think? ) All Indians love going over the top, you cannot make it gaudy or shiny enough for most of them.

If you are a control freak like me, you'll want to organize things so that all your guests are comfortable and so that you yourself are not lost in all the confusion. This is hard in an indian wedding, where things work not on planning but on prayers and miracles.

Excessive planning is not good and not possible under the circumstances, attempts at bringing order to the mahem are frowned upon. People are used to indiscipline feel restricted when told of the agenda of events or given a time. People prefer to be surprised and hurried.
Till date not one of the people who were to come home have come on time. Delays have been anywhere from an hour to our decorator who suddenly arrived 4 days later than the appointment and said he was delayed by a traffic jam!

I would suggest stepping back and letting things take their course. If you cant beat them, join them. After all, if things go wrong, people are great at adapting to the situation. Swalpa adjust maadi.


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