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The Big Fat Pain Of Big Fat Weddings

arathi menon column9
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Imagine 1500 people shimmering in their kanjeevarams, diamonds, suits and other glitter. Now imagine all 1500 of them asking you whether you remember them? What are you doing now? Where you live and other inane questions, which a simple printout of your résumé could answer.

 

Sometimes I feel like doing that. I would like to take a thousand copies of my CV and hand it out as flyers near the entrance so that when I walk-in no questions will be asked and I can hug a corner in quiet anonymity.

arathi menon column9

Most of the people I have spoken to who have had a big fat wedding do not remember their guests. Almost all of them say, ‘It was our parents’ party. They invited the world.’ When I have asked a couple of parents, patient enough to listen to my questioning they have given me absurd answers like, ‘It’s something that keeps society together’, ‘After all, we need a place to wear our jewellery’.

 

Another puzzling point about tying the knot is the clothes involved. Astronomical sums of money are spent on six metres of cloth and then, they are never worn again.  A friend of mine got one of those designer lehengas for her D-day, which weighed as much as her. It’s been ten years now and I have not seen her once in it. When I quiz her she says, ‘I will give it to my daughter.’ I look at her six-year-old cartwheeling around the place, a wild-haired, grubby-fingered tomboy and wonder whether she will indeed grow up to be a chandelier on her wedding day.

 

For me, the only redeeming thing about weddings is the food. A traditional spread, which we can never get in a hotel but even this blessing seems to be changing in the name of modernity. If I am given one more plate of gobi manchurian, paneer butter masala or fried rice, I will personally stab the chef.

 

Read more by the author: Shaking Up Some Stardust

 

I know though, no matter how much I rave and rant I cannot skip the weddings of people who are close to me - friends and relatives who demand to see my octopus-leg-facial face amidst the others gathered, to mark their passage into another stage of life.

 

I have a strategy for these times. It’s called ‘Smile and Nod’. As stream after stream of humanity washes over me, with their dazzling smiles and endless investigation, I smile and nod with a vagueness of an astrophysics professor.

 

It seems to be working. The last wedding I went to, an old gentleman in a crisp, starched, white kurta commented, ‘What a nice girl. Such a pity she is hearing impaired.’

 

arathi menon column9

Still Figuring It Out’ a funny, sad, questioning take on adulthood will appear every Saturday on newsable.com. Arathi Menon is the author of Leaving Home With Half a Fridge, a memoir published by Pan Macmillan. She tweets at https://twitter.com/unopenedbottle. The views expressed here are her own.

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