The Big Fat Indian Wedding

I'm so fashionably late in blogging that I'm positively ashamed of myself. I have absolutely no excuses other than that I was very very lazy. You can also partly blame it on my brother in law who refused to give me any photos of the wedding. How can I write about a wedding without colorful pics ? Anyway I have a lot of pics and stories to share with you about my brother in law's big fat Indian wedding. Have you attended an Indian wedding? No? Then you are really missing something in life. If you have ever wondered whether there is an experience in life that is happy, stressful, maddening and a total emotional roller coaster, all at once- let me enlighten you that there is one- an Indian wedding. From meddlesome relatives to medley of songs; from mouth-watering food to mammoth guest lists; from tears of joy to fears galore an Indian wedding has it all. Add to it a house teeming of relatives, friends and little devils and the wedding is complete.

My brother in law, Shiyaz got married to a lovely girl Hina from Chennai.

Yes it's a cross-state wedding but none of the hullaballooo that the book 2 states has familiarized you with. That's because my husband belongs to the Kutchi community and they marry within the community- irrespective of whether they are settled in Chennai or China.

A Kutchi wedding in the olden days used to last a whole month. Yes! What did they do for a month? I don't know, really. The current 3-4 days of wedding itself drives me insane. Can't imagine doing it for a month.

So a few days before the wedding, people start visiting the house to enquire about your well being. Its more like an excuse to come and see the dress and gold we have bought for the bride (yes in Kutchi weddings, the guy buys the wedding dress and gold for the girl). So you have close to 50 people visiting you every day. And if that wasn't enough, about 2-3 days before the wedding, relatives from across India and the globe, come and stay at your place. Now you understand why I said a house teeming with people? But, I do admit that it's a lot of fun. That's when the true wedding spirit comes alive. There are loads of people around the dining table every meal.

The rooms smell full of mehendi as all the girls in the family decorate their hands.

Bright lights adorn the house and is recognizable from very far away as the wedding home.

The first function of a Kutchi wedding is peeti. It's a special powder that's mixed with rose water, perfume oil, Badam paste, and a load of other things. Once the peeti function is over, the bride or groom has to spend the rest of the days until the wedding sitting in the corner of a room, reapplying this paste all over their body 3 times a day. They are not allowed to have a bath, come out of the room or even breathe. Ok, I was kidding about the last bit. The concept is that by doing this, you smell of peeti for the wedding. Trust me it's an absolutely lovely smell and it makes your skin really soft and glowing. In the olden days, the bride and groom used to do it for 2-3 weeks. But Shiyu and Hina did it for just 3 days.

Then comes the mehendi or henna function. Basically the groom's side goes to the girl, makes her wear a duppatta of a dress we take, make her wear bangles, put some henna on a tissue that she is holding on her hands to protect the actual beautiful henna she has on her hands and feed her some sweets.

And then every person in the room does the same. What's the point? Then point is that you get good food- ahhhh you should have seen the hot Jalebis they were making at the mehendi function. YUMMMMMM!!!! And oh once the girl's mehndi was over, Shiyu's friends made sure he also went through the same rituals.

Why should only one person suffer, they asked

And then finally comes the wedding. Most people are by this time just fed up and want the groom to run away with the bride and save them the rest of the energy. But that rarely happens. On the day of the wedding, the groom sends a bag called Peda to the girl. In it is every single thing the girl needs for that day- wedding dress, gold, perfume, towels, handkerchiefs and even safety pins.

It's taken by the oldest people in the family who go and ask the girl personally if she is happy with the wedding. Assuming she says yes, the wedding then takes place. Shiyu's was in the evening. My darling sister-in-law (who was my Rock of Gibralter throughout the wedding) and I helped each other dress up and then spent the rest of the time chasing Mehreen who by the way hated that the house was full of people. I will not go into the details of pulling almost 100 people out of the house, stuffing them into a bus and getting to the hall. It took a lot of patience But we made it in time for the nikah.

After the nikah we took the girl on to the stage to sit next to Shiyu for the rest of the rituals.

Uh-huh but not so quickly. On the stage Shiyu was surrounded by Hina's cousins who said they wouldn't move until they were paid 25,000 rupees. Then it was bargain, bargain and some more bargain. Arfaz ended up paying 3000 rupees. Yep he is a bargain expert.

Then comes the moo-dikhayi or in simple words looking at the face. The bride has all this while covered her face. Now the guy will remove the face covering and look at her face before everyone else sees her.

He then puts a ring on her. After this is the sending the girl off ritual where her family gives her a Quran and sends her off to her husband's house. Quite an emotional ceremony that invariably ends in tears.

But the real fun hasn't yet begun. After all the rituals, we got home. Now shiyu has this thick group if friends.

Many of them had flown in from abroad just for the wedding. they wouldn't do that for no reason, would they? When we got home, all of them sat on the stairs and refused to let the bride and groom go to their room unless they were paid 10 thousand bucks. After almost an hour of bargaining they settled for 7500. Hefty sum to pay just for being able to go into your own room in your own house, eh? I said to them "with friends like you guys, who needs enemies?" So finally at about 3 am we were all able to go to bed.

The next day was the valima or wedding reception. After a 3am sleep, it was hard to get up at 9 but we managed it.

Thus in 4 days, the most important ceremony in the lives of two people are over. Needless to say, the one person who enjoyed the wedding the most was the superstar of the family Mehreen. She enjoyed all the attention she got

And the late night bike rides with her Chachu.

The limelight was on her even though it was his wedding

I had to deal with a lot of post-wedding tantrum syndrome because of the fact that a house full of people pampered her. But I managed to pull through all of it with my sanity intact, thank God. But I was so pooped out that it took me almost a month to recover. Now I can't even begun to comprehend the task of my sister in law's wedding whenever that happens. I think I may just run away :-)

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Location:Cochin, Kerala


hashina said...


shan tait said...

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jillu said...

The information you shared was great

Where do we get the peeti powder in Coimbatore and how to use it

Uses of that