Disclaimer: Originally published in June 2019. It is being republished since it still remains an interesting topic till today.
Weddings in India are as big a deal as perhaps education. A wedding is considered to be the ultimate rite of passage for people, in a country like ours.
However, marriages aren’t a cakewalk. There are rules and regulations around who you can marry and how you can marry them. While some unions are ‘socially and familially’ approved, others are often beyond the purview of social sanction.
Inter religious, inter-caste and inter community are some of the fundamental digressions that do the social institution that is marriage.
Many a time, these marriages are glorified or undermined through various media like movies, theatre, art and literature.
A movie like Two States was not only a commercial success but also helped people understand the value and normativity associated with marrying someone from a different community, despite familial and societal obligations and expectations.
Having attended a real life wedding like Two States, I can surely say that it was one hell of an experience.
The wedding happened around five years ago and I was of course from the Punjabi side, the side also being that of the girls. Punjabi weddings in India are expected to be of a certain kind, despite the stereotypes attached to them. Weddings full of loud, condescending relatives, free-flowing booze, loud music and an overall ‘chatak’ environment.
Also Read: In Pics: Check Out The Indians Who Changed Our Idea Of Big Fat Indian Weddings By Being Unconventional
Tamilian weddings on the other hand are relatively sober, more ceremonial and devoid of loud conversations and alcohol, owing to the fact that a lot of Tamilian marriage ceremonies take place early in the morning.
Never in my life, had I woken up at 5 am to attend a wedding before this. Having partied, danced and shoved my face with butter chicken the night before, after conversing with drunk relatives and cousins, I woke up on a saturday morning, all groggy-eyed with leftover makeup on my face.
Reluctantly, I got out of bed and got dressed. The couple had formally been married the night before, according to Punjabi tradition, but come morning, the Tamilian rites had to be carried out. As I sat there, observing the couple carry out the wedding rituals and nuptials, I couldn’t help but visualise Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt from Two States.
I could sense the whispers of Punjabi uncles and aunties across the mandapa, hushing and cooing, hoping for the ceremony to get over fast so that they could devour the lavish spread of the buffet. On the other hand, the Tam Brahms, as calm and collected as they are, greeted us with smiles and a subtle element of comfort.
As I saw the bride and groom sit across the room from us, hand in hand in front of the priest, the cultural and regional differences seemed to have flown out the window. All I thought about at that time, was how happy they looked.
After all, they had managed to have rajma-chawal eating fanatics and the rasam-papad driven eccentrics to mingle with each other in harmony, each more than willing make the occasion more memorable for the other.
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