Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The ordeal of attending wedding receptions

If attending wedding ceremonies is futile - attending wedding receptions is an ordeal - actually a series.

The first problem is finding a gift. I never realized that finding a gift is a problem , till some years back - when my friend confided that he normally re-packed and re-'presented' gifts that he received...."What do you do with 17 wall clocks, 8 pairs of watches , a dozen Milton Casserole hot packs and a half a dozen flower vases?" - he asked. Ever since he made this startling 'disclosure' - it has been my challenge to find a gift that does not get re-packed and re-presented. For a while thereafter, I thought I got over this problem by getting gift vouchers or gift cards...till another friend to whom I had gifted a gift-card for his wedding called me about a year later to say that the card's validity period had expired and wanted know how the validity period could be extended !!!. I then decided to ask the 'inviter' what they wanted . Some have been helpful...but not all. So....the problem still remains...

If after some mental wrestling and walking up and down several stores, you finally manage to find a gift that wont get re-'presented' (that is , if you are really concerned about it) and go to the wedding reception, you encounter the next problem. - actually a question and that is when to reach ?. If you reach early - you have a problem and if you go late - you have a problem.

It took more than a couple of instances for me to realize that punctuality is not a virtue when  it comes to attending receptions. Whenever I had gone to the reception hall on time - I would realize that I was usually the only soul there...people would start trickling in quite some time later. And whenever I checked, I was told that the bride and the groom had gone to the parlour !!?!  Men going to parlours sounded obnoxious and unmanly to me - for,  those were the days when there were no 'Naturals' or 'Green trends' and the term metrosexuality was not yet in vogue (people are now saying  that metrosexuality is giving way for 'spornosexuality'...whatever that means) ... After a while, the couple would walk in - both made-up in the parlour beyond recognition...with the girl usually more un-recognizable of the two. The groom would have his hair looking wet, with a coat of powder on his face and the girl would have her hair (I guess it is mostly wigs) done up with plastic pearls pinned up here and there, hair and wig , all swirled around. The greatest damage would be to the face - with all colours ( matching with her saree) applied above and below her eyes, a garish lip stick, several coats of paint ... oh ! ...terrible. !!. Further, ever since the days of Hum Aapke Hain Koun - or about that time, it is become a norm that grooms in Tamil Nadu should wear richly brocaded sherwanis for wedding receptions and the bride should wear a gaghra choli or a glass and stone embroided saree - even if the reception is in Omalur or Puthanampatti....(call it cultural penetration if you want to) ...I have always wondered if they ever got to wear the sherwani another time.... Anyway - the point is - if you go early - you will have to wait.

And if you go a bit late, apart from the trouble of having to find a parking slot for your car, you will still have to to wait . You will have stand in a queue and wait to pass on the gift. A long winding queue it is. Waiting for the queue to subside is no panacea ...the queue only gets longer. After so many years of attending wedding receptions, I must admit that I haven't yet found out the exact time to enter the reception hall.

In the meanwhile if in the hall, you see some folks you know, you soon realize that you have to be an expert in sign language to be able to communicate with them. Reception halls these days are usually awfully noisy. Forget classical cutcheries - even soft and pleasing music has become a rarity . These days, it is a deadly cacophony of heavy noise - voice and instrument that masquerades as music. People who arrange for the reception usually make it a point to get some super-singer drop outs and the like to come , belt out some recent and no so recent movie numbers - of all kinds - yes - of all kinds - and tear your ear drums. You just can't shout beyond their 'notes' - and so communication within the community in the hall is purely non-verbal....You keep hearing that dun dun dun dun ..and some off-notes ...and soon, all that you hear is a 'koooooiiiinnnnnnn' sound in your ear.

You realize it is time and join the queue. When you finally manage to reach the dais and wait for your turn , over all the din in the place, you slowly start hearing things (probably your system has got used to the noise) ...interesting conversations that are spoken in loud voices. And they are usually of the following kinds : A man in late forties would usually asks the girl ...'Hi , Do you recognize me ?' - and the girl would quickly do some thinking and says ' Yes of course - I do Mama', and the gentleman would quickly correct her ' I am not your Mama - I am your Chittappa'.....( as if it mattered to the girl :) !... . And a little later, a Mami in early sixties would come, squeeze the grooms chin - and much to his discomfiture,  tell the girl ...'this boy was very mischievous as a kid' and would go on recounting some terrible goof up by the poor fellow. After all these people move, you get your turn . You say a big congratulations to the groom - while  he takes a lot of effort and introduces you to the girl ( you can be dead sure that she wont remember a bit of it) ...and they insist that they will want a visible proof of attendance - in the form of a photograph. So, you hold your breath, pull in your now-starting-to-show belly , freeze as a statue for the photographer to do the honours and carefully get down ...(thanks to the videographer's glaring light- you cant see anything for a while) ...

And then comes the next problem ...dining. The dining hall is usually overflowing and you wonder if people had come straight to the dining hall before going up to see the couple. While you wait to see if there is some kind of a queue there too, to your horror you see some people standing behind people who are having their food - waiting for them to get up...OMG !. Now you have decide if you can shun shame, stand till somebody gets up , to hop into the seat or if you should drive to some restaurant nearby for your dinner...And if you decide on the former,  in a jiffy you see a large plantain leaf spread out with some 23 items served on it ( I counted it once)...the mere sight of which fills your stomach...But if you have the fortitude to taste all that stuff , and by chance if you really want a second helping it is really tough ..the Uncle and Aunt who sat next to you would have already left and the hungry ones would have already started to occupy their seats...So , you wind up - wondering if you had a proper meal or not , walk out, pick up a beeda and move out.

இப்படி ஒரு திருமணவரவேற்பு  நிகழ்ச்சிக்கு போகலேன்ன என்ன ?  ...மக்களே !, don't take invitations for wedding receptions too seriously. If you care for the couple, call them up a few days later and convey your wishes. And if they are really your real near and real dear - call them over for lunch or dinner at home - or if you are confident of the quality of cooking at home , you may call them to a good restaurant...You can be sure that you are seeing the couple, your eyes and ears remain undamaged and they will also be a normal and relaxed. 

No comments:

Post a Comment