Parties ki shaan, baraat ki jaan
Humse behtar nahi milega mehmaan
Dulha ho ya dulhan sabko hasayenge
Khud bhi nachenge aur tumhe bhi nachayenge…
I should have considered giving an ad like that – alternative employment you see, the times are not really the best for people in the finance domain L
While that might seem an eccentric idea to many, it would certainly not seem that way to one of my friends, who insinuated me with the serious allegation that I would have attended 100 weddings in the last one year. Be reasonable yaar, it was not 100. It is only 10. In the last 13 months. ONLY that is. And why is that a big deal? Let us look at some data. I have 792 friends on FB (while that might seem to be directly proportional to the vella time I have, I assure you that is certainly not the case. It’s only pure FB dedication), 91% of them are of marriageable age (of which 61% are now married, a number which has gone up from 19% some 18 months back). So if you do the maths, I have attended the weddings of only 1.28% of my friends. Such a small number! That looks much better, puts things into perspective!
Let me be clear, I am not even attending every wedding I am invited to. I still wish I could have been there at 4-5 others, which unfortunately I could not because of some occupancy or the other L
Now of course, I have my reasons to rush to these weddings. And when I do tell you those, I am sure you would concur with me. Let’s get started:
1. Golgappe – Yes, golgappe and all the heavenly and delightful chaat items that it is representative of – the kind you find only in North India. I am sure every North Indian residing in Mumbai shares my plight, my pain. Who the hell mixes hot ragda and cold water to make Golgappe? Everything here has ragda! And the genuine dearth of spices! I mean, what’s chaat unless after eating it one of your eyes gets closed, your tongue comes out crying out for water! That is the feel of it! Anyways, so yes, North Indians (and Kolkata wasis) always have chaat delicacies as a part of their wedding spreads, and the wedding is a great excuse to indulge yourself! J
2. Bharat Darshan – In the last 13 months, in the course of attending these weddings, I have got to explore so many places – more than the no. of places I had been to in the rest of 26 years of my life! So I got to go to Kolkata (4 times – Every second person I know is from Kolkata), Kanha National Park (on way to Raipur), Chandigarh, Nainital, Indore, Bhopal, and sadda gaon Agra (I know that does not count). Now the handful of you who are still bachelors, please keep weddings in Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat, or North East, and I promise you will see me there :P
3. Lone reading time – I enjoy reading, but am not an ardent reader. I am hardly able to get time or commit myself to reading while at home in Mumbai. My frequent travel has become a great excuse for me to read whatever is on my reading list. At all times, I have an inventory of 4-5 unread books, and as soon as a trip is on the horizon, BINGO! 2 more down!
4. Skill building – As they say, practice makes a man perfect. From being a left footed, shy guy in the first wedding I would have attended 13 months back, I am now the over enthusiastic vanguard of the baraat army! And with my own collection of perfected baraat steps! “Le jayenge le jayenge dilwale….”
5. Meeting old friends and new – Weddings are the best place to meet so many old friends/acquaintances at the same place, share some jokes, relive some memories, laugh your heart out, before you eventually return to the mundanity of everyday life. And at the same time, meet friends of friends, who eventually become your friends (FB friends, at least) J
6. Crispy takeaways – In my experience, every wedding eventually results in some moments, which are totally random, and which you bring back home with you to end up smiling whenever you think about it. Now be it missing a sangeet due to a hot tub bath, missing an engagement due to “Cheers to abcd” cries in the hotel room, missing a varmala coz you were too busy chatting with the dulha’s female friend, late night long drives, loads of card games, lots of leg pulling, I have been there, done that. And what fun it has been!
7. Prospect hunt – People say an eligible bachelor steps into a shaadi to identify candidates for his own crisis situation. Actually in my view, finding the right girl is a stagflation situation (negative growth in number of desired girls combined with ultra high expectations). In my defense, this is another allegation people make towards me. Poor me, just because I am of that age, I am subjected to such generalization. Obviously I do not go on a mission; whatever happens is just, collateral damage ;)
While the above reasons are important enough, there is this another one I would not like to miss out on…
I go to these weddings to complete some stories. Stories of my school friends, college friends, office friends and my flatmates – people from every stage of my life, whose weddings I have been to. People whom I have spent considerable time with, whose journeys I have witnessed. I have seen love win and lose; the shock of despair and the surprise of happiness, hearts being broken and hearts being won, even violins playing in thin air. Some of the stories reached where one would have hoped for, the others took a detour, but eventually each one of them reached where they were meant to be - a happy ending. Or rather, a happy beginning. Beginnings that could not be foreseen a while back. I was there to witness those beginnings. I could not have missed that feeling for the world!