Weddings can be simple, chilled out and joyful too

Even the corona lockdown restrictions could not dampen the enthusiasm of my son and daughter-in-law for the wedding. After all, their bosom friend was trying knots with her long time beau. Dressed in ethnic party wear, they were all set to attend the wedding. In amazement, I watched them open their laptop, log into their zoom link. Voila! There they were attending the marriage online along with their friends,  from different parts of the country and  across the world.

Online wedding! No, that is a misnomer. A real wedding complete with all the rituals Jai mala, phere, but with the virtual presence of guests joining via video conferencing. Technology doing wonders, creating a virtual reality when physical presence was not possible in unprecedented times!

I sat in disbelief to watch the wedding sans band, baja and barat, the   big-fat Indian wedding reduced to a simple ceremony with just a few people around.  Hardly any grandeur, no flashy decorations, no big pandals, no array of food stalls serving a variety of cuisines, just a simple wedding with rituals performed solemnly. Pandit ji chanted mantras and pheras took place in a sober atmosphere without the usual banter and jest around the ceremonies.

Corona has cast its shadow on everything, jeopardized big plans. Plans of tying knots tangled hopelessly in the pandemic showing no signs of abating; the ‘big-fat’ Indian weddings are being recast, the scale of celebrations downsized drastically. Covid time weddings are much simpler, leaner and of course, lighter on the pocket of the host.

Lockdown restrictions have significantly pruned the guest list. Though the permissible guest limit has now been raised to a hundred, the number is much smaller in comparison to huge wedding gatherings before the pandemic.  I recall the reaction of my son’s Australian colleague when he came to know that we were expecting around three to four hundred guests on my son’s wedding, of course during pre-corona days.  “Do you actually know so many people?” he asked. Well! It was not easy to explain to a foreigner that guests in India include not just the  family  and friends, but also neighbours, colleagues ,  former colleagues and sometimes even acquaintances. Wedding in India is not supposed to be an intimate family affair, but a big social gathering, an occasion to flaunt one’s riches and also connections.

Of course, two people coming together in a holy alliance is a special once-in-a-lifetime occasion to be celebrated with friends and relatives. Virtual participation of guests may be the new norm due to the abnormal circumstances, but can never replicate the feel of physical participation; in no way replace the real experience. However; weddings need not be a crowded affair with hundreds of people.

One invisible virus has shown that a wedding can be a chilled out with limited guests in an intimate gathering. Even without a shred of big-fat-wedding hangover, the occasion can spark off joy. Yes, wedding can be simple and joyful too.

(Published in Hindustan Times E paper as  Guest Column on November 1, 2020)

25 Replies to “Weddings can be simple, chilled out and joyful too”

  1. Wow!Madam, I enjoyed reading this write-up a lot. I never thought such a fantastic article could be written on changed marriage trends.Its wonderful!

  2. Wedding 👰🏻 during lockdown with all its festivities in touch on ZOOM makes us feel that this this could have been a good option in our times as well We all would have loved this option What a fun this would have been. Simple but with full enthusiasm and with latest technology ‘ MARRIAGE ‘

    1. Yes, could be,but perhaps fun part is missing in virtual participation.But of course, weddings need not be a crowded affair .

    1. Thanks Romila. Yes could be called blessing in disguise. the pandemic has provided opportunity to hold simple weddings in relaxed atmosphere. Definitely lighter on the pocket of the hosts!

  3. Dear Rama
    Read your article on wedding just now. You weave the events so vividly and perceptibly that the whole scene dramtises in front
    Recently I attended my friend Dr Rita Kalra’s son’s wedding on Zoom . It was the same as you
    Explained. Enjoyed the article to the hilt . Proud of u . You gave us the opportunity to share

  4. You write beautifully Rama. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise and we learn not to waste on big fat weddings. The other day I attended a wedding function. Just about thirty people with masks. Social distancing was observed. Friends connected on zoom. But the enthusiasm was the same . No cuts. Family was singing and dancing till late into the night. We also enjoyed.

    1. Thank you so much . This is what I was trying to convey that weddings need not be a crowded affair. A small intimate gathering is more relaxed and can be joyful too.

      I wish I could know whom i am interacting with.

  5. As always it is a beautifully written article Rama. Marriages in the present context have become simple ,, less cumbersome and pocket friendly … virtual participation of family and friends is a new concept not acceptable to many but very practical and of course enjoyable as well.

    1. Thank you so much Mrs Dhawan for your lovely comment.It means a lot to me.Virtual participation may be compulsion in abnormal times but definitely one misses the fun .

  6. As always a very well scripted article. Yes we have started living in a virtual world due to Corona lockdown restrictions. Even the big fat Indian weddings have been reduced to simple ceremonies cutting the cost of all the DIKHAVA n this is practical too. Hope this change becomes the trend setter.

    1. Thanks Uma .Yes, you have described it so well we have started living in a ‘virtual world’- online classes, video conferencing …but definitely miss the real.
      There may be some positive on wedding front if it applies brake on big-fat-Punjabi weddings becoming fatter.

  7. No doubt pocket friendly with much less hassles but you still miss the real fun which you get by meeting your near n dear ones ,the peels of laughter which you have while taking Gol gappas,AlooTikkies,Gulabjamans&innumOther innumerable erable delicacies. Also you miss the Sight Of beautiful dresses of Joyous crowd and Lovely faces& so on. The joyous happening digs into your mind forever. However,I do appreciate your description of the wedding during the pandemic period.

    1. Absolutely Mrs Sharma , virtual is no substitute of physical presence.One misses the fun described so beautifully by you. Attending a wedding online is not participating in the celebrations ,but just being an onlooker.

  8. Everything though written in a natural conveys an important message along with a sarcastic remark that we in India flant our wealth and status at the time of celebrating a wedding. Thanks Rama for writing such an eye opning article

  9. Rama you have portrayed the whole ceremony so beautifully but virtual can never substitute the real. It is a one time experience for the young couple and a golden opportunity to meet all relatives and friends. In the present times people are spread out in all corners of the world and this becomes a reason to stay connected. I have a wedding going on these days in India in Our family and we all know how much we are missing it because of the corona factor. The life seems to have come to standstill but no one can help it.

    1. It is wonderful to hear from you .Absolutely, virtual can never replace the real – a poor substitute. But then it is the only way out in abnormal times. You are so right wedding is not just once- a lifetime experience for the couple but also an occasion to connect with friends and relatives.
      Hope the crisis ends soon and we able to meet our near and dear ones.

  10. It is indeed a very well written article.
    A lot depends upon a person who is getting married. When I got married in 1963 my husband who was of Marxist leaning said that there will be just fifteen baratise. Though he had a large family and many friends but the baraties included just one member of each family of brothers and sisters, one each from his uncles families, two close friends, the principal and his department head. I wish even after the pandemic there will be simpler weddings. Of course there can be no restrictions on the guests when they are attending virtually.

    1. Thank you so much Mrs Rahi. It is always a pleasure to know your take on the subject.. to learn about your rich experience .
      It is an absolute pleasure to know about your wedding comprising fifteen baratis . My head bows in admiration for Mr Rahi , a man of high ideals and principles.
      Even in 80s when I got married, weddings were much simpler as compared to big- fat- weddings of today.

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