I attended my first Punjabi wedding. Technically, I did not. I left before the wedding started but after dinner was served.
A friend (who used to be close) got married. We (me and another common friend) along with KC were invited for the engagement and wedding/reception. This common friend- lets call him D, is also a Punjabi. The three of us have worked together and now are in separate companies. Like D said, “you are my friends from work”. Yeah, he has a lot of categorizations- friends from school, college, work, current work, family friends, relatives etc…. too many compartments to fit all the friends in his life.
But before I get to the wedding, I need to talk about what I wore… or what I did not wear.
In 2008, when I had just moved to Gurgaon I was invited to the wedding of the brother of a colleague. I had no intention of attending but a call in the evening from a senior made me change my mind. I had just moved from sales to the HQ and my clothes reflected that- daily wear, semi formals, comfy clothes and nothing for a party/wedding. With no time to shop I pulled on trousers and a top which would fit party wear. Big mistake. I was mortified when I saw the turnout. Colleagues who looked drab at work had transformed into swans. So, when another colleague was getting married a year later I took the time and money to buy a wedding dress. That is the only dress I have worn to ALL weddings. It has been 4 years. 1.5 years back I had to attend KC’s friend’s engagement. I bought a sober dress to wear there. After that, I wore it at the office Diwali celebrations. Taking all this into consideration, I decided not to buy anything new for the friend’s wedding. But I did not feel like wearing the same clothes. I decided to wear western outfits. The only people I knew at the wedding were the friend, D, KC and maybe 1-2 batchmates from B school. I didn’t care what they thought.
Coming back… the engagement was at Pitampura which is in extreme North Delhi. I have been there a few times and regretted it. On Friday evening/night, I reached Pitampura at 9 pm. The time on the card was 8 pm. I was late… or so I thought. The friend- lets call him A, was waiting for the to-be bride… food had not been served… 50% of the people had not arrived. WTF!!! At 10 pm, the bride-to be arrived and by 10.30 pm they were engaged. We reached for the dinner and left by 11 pm. There was a DJ and I assume the party actually started at 11.30 pm and went on till wee hours.
The wedding was on Sunday night in some godforsaken farmhouse in Chattarpur… there were no street lights and the road was bumpy. I told KC if we have come to the wrong address, we will head back home and go to sleep. We arrived at 9.30 pm and I thought we are late. Guess, who meets us at the gate? The groom… in the car… with the baraat around him. He had not yet entered the venue. Finally, after all the dancing and insane noise he entered the venue at 10.30 pm. By then, KC and I had eaten dinner and were planning to leave. At 11 pm, we left just as the bride was arriving. The wedding probably started by midnight.
In all my life, below are the different kind of weddings I have attended:
- Family friends: Since I was in the boarding, I did not know most of my parents’ friends. So, these weddings were a pain. My sis and I would plead with our parents to let us stay home but 9 out of 10 times we had to attend. Who was going to cook dinner for us? It was a quick outing… enter, meet the couple, smile, get pics clicked, rush for dinner, eat, leave. Done- by 9-10 pm max. By 11 pm even the couple would have left for home. Btw, this is in Gujarat… so, no liquor
- Family- Sister: Sis’s wedding was different… weddings at home are different… the time and day does not matter. It is an entire week of celebrations. We had a sangeet along with mehendi, janoi (my brother’s), garba night, engagement (along with DJ night), wedding and reception. People turned up for whatever functions they wanted to. Relatives and close friends attended the sangeet… everyone attended garba and janoi… engagement and wedding were at Indore so it was just close relatives.
- Relatives: I do not remember the actual wedding because I was not there… I was probably gossiping with cousins or playing badminton (no kidding… we did that… played badminton at the other end of the ground), playing with cousins or out frolicking with my cousin brothers. Time did not matter. It was an entire week of celebrations for family and there was the reception for outsiders.
- Close friends: Umm… except one, all the other friends are single. I chose not to attend the wedding since I am not into it. If I had a choice, I would not have turned up for my own wedding… actually, if we had a choice KC and I would have had a live in relationship all our life.