A Wedding List

Two of my very good friends decided to get married on the same day. That’s two weddings and not one. With it came a huge logistic dilemma of running across Chennai for the various ceremonies and now as a bona fide Chennaite, I along with a friend was expected to manage this coordination for all the friends coming from out of town. Not that that amounted to excruciating schedules and timelines being drawn up but sure allowed me the special benefit of showing off a city I have come to truly love. But above all I got to experience one of the Tamilian Brahmin (better known as Tam Bram) communities greatest show, the wedding. Yes, I must agree that I had my reservations of the fact that there will be no alcohol or meat. I mean aren’t everyone in the hall allowed the luxury of forgetting the fate that awaits them or has already befallen them. Ask me and that’s the reason alcohol should be allowed in a wedding. But then these are just things I say to fit into the mould of a twenty four year old guy who is tuned to believe that marriage is the end of the road. My views are very different, my views are for another day.
Both my friends are girls and were getting married to guys who besides being simply amazing were also the loves of their respective lives. Our entire friends circle had been preparing for these wedding for sometime now and all of us were united in our pure joy for this great occasion. A Tam Brahm wedding is truly a very emotional experience. As I had friends explain every nuance of every ceremony, I couldn’t help but begin to observe the various characters in a wedding and their reactions to the proceedings, it sure does make for some timeless entertainment. Here we go:

The Wedding Romantic
These people charge themselves on wedding adrenaline and go all energizer bunny on us all lackluster spectators. They enthrall us with stories of how their wedding will be, how the flower decorations will be different, how the hall will have so many more people, how their partner will wear exactly what they have in mind. All in all how they have the entire two days playing like a stuck tape recorder in their head. Even though my first reaction is to ridicule them, I sit back and think that your wedding day, truly is your most special day, so what’s the harm having it planned perfectly. So just as I begin empathizing, one of them begin with how they have had their wedding planned from the age of 8. Alarm Bells!!!

The Dark Wedding Humor Comedian
The usual quips of this wedding spectator will revolve around ‘gallows’, ‘undertakers’, ‘doomsday’, ‘Mayan calendar’ jokes and a few ‘end of days’ jokes thrown in too. They always make for the best humor at a wedding until you have one of those aunties who may as well have gift wrapped her ears and given it to you, turn and glare at you like you are vermin. Yes, well these are the guys and girls who just have to get these jokes out of their system. The Wedding Romantic will look at them with disdain and will instantly become the butt of all the jokes. So you keep laughing at these jokes and then look a little harder at the’ life of every party’/’depressed alcoholic’ in the making and wonder if they even know what they are talking about and tend to pity them a little. That stops the moment you go on stage and they go upto the groom or bride and point out how the garland around their neck can also become a noose and they do an undertaker impression. Rolling on the Mandapam Laughing (ROML)!!

The Back to the Mandapam Spectator
Well this one is a character. Affable, intelligent and with an acute case of ADD. At a wedding, they will have their backs to all that’s happening to the couple that’s going to pay for their lunch and will have a comment for all else in the wedding. They will check out all the hot singles in the room, pass adequate ratings and predictions on how their lives will turn out. They will also look at the oldies in the room and imagine the conversations they are having which will mostly range from match making to ‘so when are you due’ questions, utterly reducing the oldies  to a collective incapable of any other intelligent interactions. They will start finding faults and often times hilarious things with the stuff the camera guy is capturing. On the whole they are the ones least bothered about the occasion and most indulgent in creating their own. Hats off to them for being so completely aloof and so unbelievably entertaining.
 Disclaimer: Don’t be around them if you have family at the wedding. Trust me!!

The ‘Coming soon to a wedding hall near you’ Groom/Bride
These are the ones who know their chance is coming up. They are universally the butt of jokes for everything. They watch the proceedings silently, like they are memorizing the order of things. Tam Bram weddings have the unique ability of starting everything before the sun is up, therefore the early morning jokes laced with the subsequent lack of a late night after that get thrown around mercilessly. They quietly take the jokes with ominous warnings of ‘it will happen to you soon too’. They are intercepted by relatives and people they have never met with questions of a wide ranging quality. Following are the questions with answers I would love someone to give:

‘So when is the big day?’ – You talking about the day I lost my virginity? I was 16 and it was sometime in June, it was raining that day and..

 ‘You must be so excited, no? – I don’t know about myself, but you sure seem to be excited. Now that’s all matters.

Do you have butterflies in your stomach? – Oops how did you get to know of my carnivore oddities. So the other day I saw this blue winged one on my window and I got my fork out..

You know, just leave these guys alone. They really have their own issues to deal with. But don’t miss a couple of jokes on them. Priceless reactions in return.

Amused. Bemused. Stuffed
This category is where I usually find myself. Wedding food is always exceptional. Linked to the thought that the more stuffed you are at a wedding, the happier the marriage, families leave no stone or gulab jamun unturned in their quest to stuff your guts out. I always choose shamelessness over dignity at such occasions and pig out like its 2012 ( Oh wait, it is) You will have a very unsavory label attached to you, but savory reminds me of all the sweets available. Even though Tam Brahm weddings are veg buffets, they are veg buffets eaten by the Gods. Every dish has a touch from heaven and for a guy who is known to have eaten his first masala dosa at the age of 2, this was just an out of body experience – quite literally. After all the hogging at constant intervals I tend to remain generally bemused with the occasion and amused with all the characters described above. I’m the silent spectator at these weddings except for when I’m chomping all that food down. I am the one who mixes a bit of all the above because I myself am quite undecided on who of the above I am. I am the one who is the butt of the jokes and I am the one cracking them (music builds up superhero movie style). I am.. Wedding Man.. Well couldn’t resist that one but at a wedding where every one is a character straight out of all those wedding movies you have grown up on, you best belong to this one. It’s where all the fun is!!

I’m sure you can add many more to the above not-at-all exhaustive list. So do let me know and do enthrall us. Till then I just want to wish the best to my two good friends whose marriages I had the fortune of attending and also to a very special friend in Mangalore who got married the same day too. You were always in my thoughts and I’m sure that all the three couples are going to be immensely happy and blessed. But for the rest of us.. On your marks.. Get set.. Go/No!!