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The thing about weddings

It’s that time of year. The stars have aligned, the mahurats are perfect, and most importantly, the Marine Drive gymkhanas are ready. Weddings are coming. And as a half-Gujarati, I get invited to about four billion a year. If I so choose, I could be the Kishen Mulchandani of weddings, racking up four a night, with awkward photos to prove I was there. But I’d rather eat used needles.

People my age are rejecting their parents’ notion that weddings are where you pay off all social debt. So they’re not inviting that one aunt who invited you to lunch once, or dad’s distant business contact who may or may not want to sign a deal next year. Representation pic/Thinkstock
People my age are rejecting their parents’ notion that weddings are where you pay off all social debt. So they’re not inviting that one aunt who invited you to lunch once, or dad’s distant business contact who may or may not want to sign a deal next year. Representation pic/Thinkstock

So I now have a process of elimination to decide what weddings to go to. I ask myself a series of
questions:
1. Do I recognise the name on the invitation card?
2. Will there be alcohol?
3. Was the last time I met this person before or after I was toilet-trained? (i.e four years ago)
4. Will there be alcohol?
5. Are pants optional? Also, daaru kitthe?

And before you judge me as unsentimental, I’d like to point out that I do this not for myself, but for the couple and their families. By not being part of the line to greet the couple, I save them an entire minute of robotic grinning. By not being at the food counter, I save the family 800 bucks a plate (or more, if there’s a live counter). My absence is, if anything, a show of benevolence. And my abhorrence of pants.

Wedding avoidance was easier when it was a friend’s brother, or cousin getting hitched. But now my friends are getting married, and unfortunately for me, I love these people. This year, I have to go for a record four weddings, and for the first time in my life, I want to be at every single one. More terrifying, I want to be at every single function of every single one. Luckily my friends aren’t the ‘Let’s invite everyone in India with voter ID’ brigade. And we’ve all grown up held hostage at generic receptions and weddings that wouldn’t end, so the idea is to do the exact opposite.

And I’m pleased to report that I’m seeing this more and more. People my age are rejecting their parents’ notion that weddings are where you pay off all social debt. So they’re not inviting that one aunt who invited you to lunch once, or dad’s distant business contact who may or may not want to sign a deal next year. We’re holding on to the token white guy though, because our entertainment is directly proportional to the growth in discomfort experienced by the average white person as the ceremonies draw on.

Most refreshingly though, for all the weddings in question, I’ve received instructions (in writing) from the couple that guests are free to wear what we want, as long as we’re comfortable. One couple, marrying near a beach, specifies that we’d be idiots to wear anything but chappals. I wish them happiness, love and prosperity. In fact, I also wish them the happiness, love and prosperity that was supposed to go to the couple that made me wear a suit in Mumbai in peak October last year. You know who you are, and you can rot in the stench of your own BO, and I hope the top button of your shirt never ever opens.

So if you’re planning a wedding, here’s a thought. Invite who you want, not who you have to. Wear what you want, not what you have to. And nobody cares about your stupid soy kheema pav counter. Nobody. And remember, you don’t have to invite me. You don’t have to invite me at all.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi

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