By Umm Ibrahim
The wedding season has begun in full swing. All kinds of invitation cards are pouring in: the glamorous, the simple and elegant, the flashy, and the paindu (for lack of a better word). As I mark my calendar for all the events to be attended this winter, I sigh at the thought of the top 7 things I dislike about Pakistani weddings. Here they are, in no particular order:
1- The Timings:
So, you arrive one hour late, (which you believe is late enough) only to be greeted by the hotel staff setting up the stage decorations. You sit in the empty hall, twiddling your thumbs, playing Candy Crush, and counting the tables and chairs for an hour before the hosts come bustling in. Only politeness and decorum prevents you from saying to them what you are feeling at the moment.
2- The Pesky Photographers:
Just because you attend someone’s wedding does not mean that you have given your consent to be filmed and photographed from all angles. I’m not particularly camera-shy, but the photographer who pops up out of nowhere and flashes blinding light in my face, while I comfortably sit there eating biryani, better run for his life. Whatever happened to respecting someones’ privacy? I thought these people were supposed to be professional photographers! Professional ethics, anyone?
3- The Food Stampede:
There is always enough food at a wedding. In fact, there is enough left to have the hosts get it packed, freeze it and survive on it for a week! Why the stampede then? All pretenses of decency and sophistication are discarded as soon as dinner is announced, and the Homo sapiens push, shove and do whatever their primal instincts direct them to do.
4- The Music:
After being bored for an hour, you finally strike up an interesting conversation with someone on your table. But, you have to abandon all such attempts when the music starts blaring at ear-splitting volume. Look, everyone does not love music. I, for one, hate music. It’s not good for my heart, says my spiritual cardiologist. Plus, everyone does not share your taste in music. To force people to listen to your favorite songs over and over again for three hours is very close to the kind of torture they employ at Guantanamo Bay. As soon as the music switches on, I feel the need need to go to the restroom. And stay there in peace and quiet till it’s time to leave.
5- The Nosy Aunties:
These are the ones who inspect you from head-to-toe and make detailed inquiries about every piece of clothing and jewellery you are wearing (unhindered by the fact that they are complete strangers to you). If you’re the bride, they want to know every single detail about which piece of jewellery came from your parents and which from your in-laws, and what every thing cost.
6-The Future Mother-in-Laws:
These are the rishta-wali (match-making) type aunties. The only gripe I have against them is that they make their intent all too obvious. If only they could be a bit more discreet and tactful, they wouldn’t be in this list! A typical conversation could go like:
How are you, Beta?
I’m fine Alhamdolillah
Nice dress. And your ring is so beautiful. Is it your engagement ring?
Thankyou, Aunty. No, it’s not my engagement ring.
Are you engaged?
How old are you?
Ohhoo okay Beta. Bye.
And she goes out looking for her next potential daughter-in-law. Too bad your son is 24, Aunty!
7- The Doodh-Pilai:
To me, this is simply an innovative and sophisticated way of beggary-cum-extortion. The poor groom just can’t squirm out of it. If he says that he doesn’t like milk, the girls are equipped with Ovaltine or Horlicks to suit his taste buds. If I were the bride, I’d just tell them to buzz off and stop bugging my husband. The only thing I dislike more that doodh-pilai would be joota-chupai and rasta-rukai etc. There has to be some sense to the customs and traditions you follow.
So, what is it that you dislike about our weddings? Let me know in the comments below.
And stay tuned for the top 7 things I like about Pakistani weddings. Yes, there’s a lot to like about our weddings too! Meanwhile, happy wedding season!