Is it one of those days when you’ve finally exhausted all means of entertainment? Have you weaned yourself off of Tumblr and Facebook? Are you lying on the ground and staring glassy-eyed at your whirring ceiling-fan? Have no further worries because I, an experienced ceiling-watcher (I’ve done that for two hours at a stretch once), am here to coax you out of your catatonic stupor.
I am going to introduce you to the best movie you will ever witness. You don’t need to download it, because there’s a 99% chance you’ve had it in your house/your parents’ house for as long as you’ve been alive. And that movie is, *cue drum rollll* YOUR PARENTS’ WEDDING VIDEO!
Allow me to put forth a convincing case. I put the CD in and my parents and I sat down together to watch the spectacle of their love (or whatever). The video started off with the pixelated animations of the early 90s. ‘Happy Wedding Day’ showed up in huge white letters while a groovy disco instrumental played in the background. After a stream of words the video finally began.
And what did it start with? Zoom-in close ups. Not of the bride and groom, but of every show piece in the hall of the wedding. From the chandelier to the flowers, the camera man captured it all. I don’t know if my parents had 50 waterfalls, or just one waterfall zoomed-in on at 50 different angles. I wouldn’t be surprised if the camera man went a little (more) nuts and took high-fashion close-ups of the toilet seats.
After 20 minutes of every piece of decoration in the hall, I bated my breath, expecting my 25-year-old parents to appear on the screen. But instead, I was greeted by a hoard of guests. It’s like the entire Indian population had come to congratulate my parents and eat their food. I watched as guests streamed in through the doors by the second. Girls wore laced, shiny frocks that blinded the camera with its own reflected light. Pot-bellied men walked in showing a forest of chest hair and a glittery gold chain hanging from their necks. That right there, is every Sindhi man and some point in his life.
This was especially surreal for me because I got to see how all my relatives looked and acted before I existed. Bearded Uncles now, were ‘waiting-for-puberty’ boys then. Serious Aunts were then running around on pudgy legs and yelling in high-pitched voices. Furthermore, my parents spookily pointed out all the older men and women in the video that didn’t exist anymore. That number seemed higher than the ones who were still alive.
Finally, my favourite part of the movie arrived. My parents walked in together and were hounded like celebrities amidst paparazzi. As I saw their faces, I found myself comparing every mole and wrinkle and tiny behavioural quirk. In my case, my parents looked surprisingly similar. They could dress up in the present, re-enact their wedding no one would be able to tell the difference. Except, if I attended the re-wedding. Some people may get suspicious then.
I watched as my parents obligingly greeted everyone and walked towards the stage. As most of you know, Indian Weddings have several events that take more than one day. This is a reception. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I have informally defined it below:
Reception (n): An illogical ceremony in most Indian Weddings where the Bride and Groom stand on a grand stage and smile, and guests come up in groups and click pictures with them. For the ENTIRE evening. Also, there’s food.
I saw my parents’ smiles turn into plastered ones as they spoke to every human that walked up to the stage. My mother would smile at a guest and immediately switch to an exhausted expression once the guest had left. It was hilarious. My dad told me he remembers how his jaw had begun to ache from all that smiling.
Many guests had also brought gifts in the form of money in envelopes. For some reason, when they’d come on to stage, they’d slyly slip it in my father’s hand, quite like a bribe. I have NO idea why. Probably to make up for the fact that each person had brought their entire family to be fed for free.
Guest slipping envelope in Bride’s/Groom’s hand: (whispers) “I’ve given fifty rupees more pls give me extra plate I have got my sister’s husband’s nephew’s buffalo also.”
After what seemed like ages, my tired parents finally let their sore legs off the stage. They sat down together with all their close family members for one big dinner and I watched as they laughed and ate.
I’d be lying if I denied that my parents looked extremely happy (although tired), that their parents looked even happier (probably because they didn’t have to stand in the same place on a stage for three hours and smile at the blinding flash of a camera) and that the ceremony was quite beautiful.
Without a doubt, it was one of the best movies I have ever seen. I urge you to do the same. Go dig for that cassette or CD and tell me what reaction you have when you watch it. Meanwhile, I’m going to constantly remind myself to never invite a man to my wedding who has even the slightest connection to a buffalo.