I’ve always hated family weddings. I only survived mine because of my good friend Old Monk. Maybe it’s because there’s always been intense pressure to look a particular way at an Indian wedding, to be someone you really aren’t and will never be i.e. an immaculately groomed, flawlessly highlighted, bleached and blow-dried, diamond-loving Sindhi. A potential, perfect bride for some Times of India-reading Sindhi businessman.
My curls were always out of place at family weddings. The first time I finally ironed my hair to fit in, every single relative came up to me and said: My god you look so lovely. And then they turned to my mother: So when are you getting her married?
Six-yard secret: Discovering saris made me view weddings differently.
Also, I’ve always been uncomfortable in Indian outfits. Currently, one “going out” salwar kameez hangs desolately in my wardrobe, a solitary peach in a cloud of black. I only got it tailored because it was a present from a lovely Pakistani lady old enough to be my grandmother. She gifted it to me four years ago.
Wedding wardrobes have always been the cause of serious mother-daughter stress. Recently when there was a big destination wedding in the family, everyone went into overdrive trying to cobble together their outfits. Designer saris were bought, jewellery was made and many undercover operations (mostly linked to tailors) were under way.
The husband and I returned from our world trip just in time for the big event. “It’s good you were travelling. Everyone’s gone a little crazy,” my father whispered in a weak moment. Needless to say, there were many arguments about what I would and wouldn’t wear.
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But then, earlier this week I attended a family wedding and it suddenly hit me: I don’t hate weddings any more. Of course I still pretend to hate them, but secretly, I must confess that I have quite begun to enjoy them.
I’ve been married 10 years and I’m no longer a prime cut on display at the community meat market. I’m old enough to feel happy and comfortable that I don’t fit in. My mother’s almost given up trying to get me to dress the way she wants me to. I’ve discovered I love saris (and I actually have a good blouse tailor too).
Besides, the husband loves Sindhi weddings and the way the women who prowl the red carpet compete with the crystal chandeliers—and the attention they bestow on him.
More importantly, it’s nice to connect with people you don’t otherwise encounter in your hurried harried lives. I meet my extended family only at weddings. “How are your children?” the bride-to-be asked me this week. I don’t have children, I informed her politely. “Oh then who are those girls on Facebook?” she wanted to know.
It’s a time when business disagreements are smothered in Chivas. When people who have nothing in common, discover they have both hit the dance floor to escape the same relatives. When aunts and uncles, after they are a few drinks down, give you a peek into what they are really all about.
And now when I see a young boy standing angrily near his father, underdressed for a Sindhi wedding and whose body language screams that he’s trapped, I think to myself, one day he’ll learn to love the spectacle.
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