So, I’ve been invited to a wedding, a big fat Indian ‘shaadi’, next month. Nothing unusual about that. Except the nuptials will be taking place over 17 days, spread over the entire month of March. Why? Because stars have to align for saas-bahu-bridegroom etc — and consecutive dates are proving to be inauspicious. Coincidentally, the couple are Rahul and Ketki (Rahu-Ketu for short). The bridegroom-to-be’s driver showed up at my doorstep bearing 17 cards atop a gift hamper, five times the size of an average Koffee with Karan one. Each card was made of different material, ranging from wood, to satin to velvet to paper.
Illustration/ Uday Mohite
(One invitation had an image of two rotund cherubs straining to touch each others fingertips). The hamper, apart from a year’s supply of dry fruit, had a bottle of olive oil.
When I was growing up, a marriage meant one ‘matrimonial day’, one sangeet evening for the girls to do their mehndi. Bas, that’s it.
All that’s changed now, with elaborate events and occasions planned to keep up with the Joshis.
So, why am I telling you something that you all experience, dear reader?
The reason is this — to attend all these ceremonies, I realise I need to go into serious physical training. All these events required me as an attending guest to be in peak physical condition, fitness levels need to be 100%.
There was a time when ‘attending marriages’ was simple — you showed up, armed with an envelope containing cash. You wished the bride-bridegroom atop a stage, ate and drank a bit, exchanged a few pleasantries and went home. Now, it’s damn hard work.
Let me take you through two of the proposed evenings and you’ll see why I need to hire Mickey Mehta or Leena Mogre.
My friend Rahul, wishes, Phantom-like to get married on a white horse, accompanied by a ‘baraat, complete with a wedding band’. No issues with that, except he wants to retrace the same route as the Mumbai Marathon. So, the dude is on a horse, and ‘The Jolly Wedding Band’ are on a truck, and I have to be in a pink ‘saafa’ hip-hopping, bhangra-ing and whirling like a dervish with gyrating hips, over Hughes Road Bridge, through peak hour traffic.
No wonder this wedding’s taking the whole month.
Then, there’s the bachelor party. Which ideally should just be the groom and his male friends sitting around a table sipping beverages like old times, reliving ‘the wonder years’…yes?
I’ve been requested to attend dance class rehearsals. With a choreographer called Cajetan. We, the bridegrooms ‘chaddi buddies’ are to learn two medleys for the watching pleasure of our friend — one is a combo of ‘YMCA-Ketchup Song-Macarena’ for a retro part of the evening. Followed by a Bollywood-meets-Gangnam-style dance sequence. The last time I danced with a group of men, we had a Prime Minister who drank urine.
Right, gotta go. For event number 15, Rahul and his bride are to arrive on a hot-air balloon. I’ve been asked to go for a trial run, flying above the racecourse.
I will be wearing a gas mask.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at email@example.com