The past month, I was facing what I would like to call a terrible case of writer’s block, when my attention was drawn to the unusual and alarming number of people from my Facebook friends list getting married. The wedding season is here, and the difference this time is that a lot of college seniors of my time are getting hitched, one of whom is my closest friend.
It has been a good 6 years since I last attended a wedding, thanks to the definite clash between exam season and wedding season. My memories of the last wedding I attended involve waiting for the chaat stall to open, and for the shagun distribution ceremony. There’s also a faint recollection of a pretty simple Joota-churai event and the disappointment of not dancing in the Baraat. Probably the most fun that I had as a kid in a wedding was in a friend’s aunt’s wedding, which was held in our colony, and all of us friends danced like crazy on the DJ floor, a literal case of “Begaani shaadi mein Abdullah deewana”.
So I am pretty much out-of-touch with whatever new trends have come into wedding mainstream since Band Baaja Baraat. Photo-ops have become quite common I am told, and so has the trend of the groom helping the bride onto the stage during Jaymaal, borrowing from the English sitcom style of weddings, romantic as it is. I also heard that rotating stages and huge screens for live streaming the ceremonies are quite a rage too. Nevertheless, I am excited about the only one that I am actually going to attend, hopefully. And this excitement came about after a pretty long time.
Let me first give you a background of the happy couple. The bride is my friend, philosopher and guide since the time my only major worry in life was getting done with the homework. She also went on to become my college and department senior. The groom is this awesome batch-mate of hers she used to rave about over the phone even before I entered college and is also my society senior in an oddly contrived way. Theirs is one of the most well-known love stories of our campus.
In my group of school-friends, the full acceptance of our best friend going over to the other side came with all the seven emotional stages of change. When my friend - let’s call her Minny, the Great – first told me that her parents have met with the parents of her fiancée` and she might get married in less than a couple of years, I laughed it off, arguing that they have just met, and she has just graduated, and there’s still time as she is the youngest in the family. And more than anything else, she is what – just a year older- to us. Those were the unmistakable signs of denial, soon followed by the realization that it is happening, the day she told me to save the date. I still remember how dazed with the news I was when I told my mom about it, and was amazed, and a little annoyed, at how naturally she took it, asking me to congratulate Minny, the Great. That is when the resistance kicked in.
Another school-friend of mine and I declared, “Dude, it is child marriage. You need maturity to handle a marriage”. We realized as soon as we had said this, that Minny, the Great had been far more mature than her years, even as a kid, and if there were any children in our group, it were just the two of us. We tried to reason with her, and appealed to her feminism. We reminded her of all her old crushes, quickly realizing that this strategy will do opposite of what we want. We finally let go when she showed us a picture of her trousseau.
Now that there was no going back, we decided to ensure that she is making the right choice by scrutinizing her fiancée`. Now, I knew that there wasn’t a simpler and sweeter guy in our college, and definitely in her batch. But I considered it my sisterly duty to interrogate and warn this poor chap in true big-brother style of how well he is going to take care of her. This really mature guy happily obliged us with the most romantic answers and won the ultimate approval of her best friends, long after he had won the approval of her parents.
As I analyzed what this wedding really meant, I couldn’t help feel elated for Minny, the Great. Here was this great woman, the kindest one I had met, and she found this great guy, and they saw to it that they stick together, whatever be the odds that actually came their way. It is inspiring, really, in this age when it is cool to be a lost and confused twenty-something, they found something of value and honored it, and that is a wonderful reason to get married.
For us girlfriends now, the wedding is all about train reservations, sangeet rehearsals, Saree selections, extensive diet plans (at which I am failing miserably) and all that girly stuff. My best friend’s wedding should be the most perfect wedding to attend after so long an interval, and I get to be a part of both the bride and groom’s parties. But it is also about the realization that we are growing up, and it’s great that we are still there in each other’s lives, in these important stages.
Congratulations Mrs. And Mr. Minny, the Great. May you have the happy ever after.