Monday, 21 November 2011
Four (Hundred) Weddings & (Sadly No) Funeral
'Tis The Season To Be Not So Jolly
It's Wedding Season again. (Yes there is a special Wedding Season here, I assume because it's way too hot for the bride to wear that outfit in the summer and too rainy in Monsoon to get married at all) As we are extra lucky folk we live next door to a Wedding Reception Hall. So this is the Season I either refer as 'The Season I yearn To Be Deaf' or 'Why did I never learn to operate a fire arm Season'
Now before you all think, oh what's she moaning about this time, weddings are lovely, romantic and should be cherished, I wholeheartedly concur. I'm all for the flowers, the dress, the first dance, the scrummy food, the hilarity of drunken Dad's dancing to YMCA & Oops Upside Your Head. But I what I don't concure with is the Wedding Reception Hall in question, that lays adjacent to our house, bears little or no resemblance to any of this.
Don't get me wrong, I have attended some fantastic Indian Weddings, the ambience of the reception is unparalleled, the ceremony truly auspicious and the food, colossal and sensational, the buffets are living legends, although I do sometimes just fancy a few sausages on sticks.
There is apparently, but don't quote me, a certain Caste who traditionally marry very early in the morning (and if anyone is thinking of leaving me comments with regards to the Caste System, don't bother, I do not have any inclination to comprehend it, as the whole thing goes against my very liberal and slightly socialistic views on all class and race segregation). There are up to three or four of these receptions a day next door but whichever Caste favours the 7am on a Sunday morning spot, is by default, the Caste I dislike the most.
I was already irritated this morning, Indian bugs, especially mosquitoes, are racist & sexist - They will always bite the white chick first, naturally being the only white chick in the house/ building I was mauled to death overnight.
Then once again the familiar dull sound of drumming and bugling (never totally in unison) and horse hoof clopping was in the distance, it was only a matter of time (sadly an expansive amount) that they would get closer and closer and louder and louder and block all of the traffic which will then get backed up. (All processions and general pedestrian activities are done in the middle of the road here) The traffic in turn will beep their horns louder and louder so the drummers and the buglers will drum and bugle louder and louder and less in unison with each beat and blow, then some stupid members of the wedding party will inevitably set off a series of ludicrously ear splittingly loud fireworks in broad in daylight, in the middle of the road and the horse will bolt and clop louder and louder and then the Butterfly Effect will ensue, well by this stage it will be more like the Pterodactyl Effect. And by the time time they reach the Wedding Hall the whole pomp and circumstance will have reached the decibel equivalent of fourteen Concords taking off all at once. All of this, of course, unnaturally occuring before 7am on a Sunday morning.
For those of you unfamiliar with a Traditional Hindu Wedding I'll try and swiftly condense it as the whole whole structure is totally different to a Western Wedding. They appear to go on for three days (and in some cases, the festivities can last up to a week).
Indian Wedding Order
Mendhi - This is where the bride is adorned in beautiful Henna tattoos
Laja - This bits good as it apparently involves food
Baarat (The Wedding Porcession) - This bits bad because it involves ear drum perforation
Then comes the marriage ceremony itself
Often the reception is first, always buffet food and NO ALCOHOL (mind blowing for Westerners I know)
Kanya Danam - This is where the Father gives his daughter away and tumeric is somehow involved
Paanigrahana or Hasta Milap - holding hands (that's all I know about this bit)
Vivaaha - The actual wedding
Agni Parinaya : The Circumambulation of the Fire
(this is the bit that scares me as I am really scared of fire)
Asmaarohana or Shilarohana (Mounting the Stone) A symbolism that the marriage is solid as a rock (like the old Ashford & Simpson song)
Satapadi (Seven Steps) - very important (I think similar to western vows)
Mangal Sutra Dharana - The tying of threads (to unite, not darn)
Suhaag or Sindhoordana - The Groom places red powder on the brides head as a symbol of marriage (possibly chilli powder, still unsure)
Aashirvaad - The Groom parents bless the couple
Grahapravesha - Entering the Home as a married couple
Truly a very sacred an awe inspiring experience
Now let's look at a Traditional English Wedding Format...
English Wedding Order
The Hangover - Groom and Groomsmen hit greasy spoon for egg and bacon stomach settler
Bride Meltdown - Bride has mini fit with everyone especially the Groom who is not picking his phone up due to throwing up aforementioned greasy spoon
Groom and Groomsmen arrive at Church - entire congregation outside smoking
Bride arrives - fashionably late (due to previous mini fit)
Ceremony - she walks down the aisle, a hymn or two is sang, it's I do's all round then back up the aisle (congregation nearly trample them to light up outside)
Wedding Breakfast - sit down dinner with loads of alcohol
Evening Reception - Stand up dinner with loads of alcohol
Post Ceremony Activities - Best Man will inevitably brawl with at least three people due to loads of alcohol
Main difference between the two Cultures? Well lot's but I must say back in Old Blighty if you sent out Wedding invitations to guests explaining it would go on for at least three whole days and there will be absolutely no alcohol, I'm not sure you would get many RSVP's back, in fact you might as well be sending out further notifications
'Cancelled Due To Lack Of Interest'
Anyways now that's all as clear as the Ganjes, back to ear perforation, specifically my ear perforation. I know there is no need for this showy noise in the street because I have been to weddings where this rigmarole doesn't feature, so if you're reading this and you're planning a 7am Sunday morning wedding, think about the people who live next to the hall!!!!!
As for me this morning, it's now got too loud to sleep so I got up, bolted all windows and doors, popped in some ear plugs and rustled up my own Wedding Breakfast and tried to read the paper in peace...
My Wedding Breakfast
(aka the fat feast that I ate during the noisy wedding)
Small Can of beans
1 small onion
3-4 cherry tomatoes
2 - 3 Rashers of Bacon
Chilli Flakes & Herbs to Garnish
Grill or Fry of the bacon & set aside
sautee onions & mushrooms, then add tomatoes for a few mins
Meanwhile heat the beans & the Chapati
Fry the egg then transfer all ingredients onto the warm Chapati
grill for a few minutes then garnish
Pour coffee, open newspaper and pop in ear plugs...