I have a problem.
Many of my close friends are getting married. The problem I have is I hate attending weddings. And a lot of my friends think that an ideal way for me to express my warmth towards them is for me to attend their weddings. I disagree completely.
If you conduct a dipstick among my friends I think most of them will tell you that I’ve been a decent friend to hang around with. I have smiled, laughed, frowned, teased and listened to all my friends. I’ll continue doing all of that and more all my life but one thing that really pisses me off more than eating Mutton Palak (They serve it in our canteen. I don’t know why!) is that one line that I dread hearing from my friends.
“You can’t even attend our wedding?”
What the bloody f**k?
I brought you home on my shoulders when you were pissed drunk. I let you copy from my notebooks when you didn’t know that Gobi Desert was not a sweet dish but a spot on Asia’s physical map. I was the one who actually told that girl you finally married that you liked her. And I still haven’t told your wife yet that you got rejected five times before by 3 different girls before you proposed her.
So what have I done wrong if I didn’t attend your stupid wedding? What was in it for me anyway? You’re the one who gets married, gets all the gifts and takes a vacation for the honeymoon. How will it help me if I attend your goddamn wedding?
Now the puritan will stand up and give us the explanation that joys and sorrows are meant to be shared. He must’ve heard it from his father and his father must have heard it from his neighbor who in his green fields must’ve heard some donkey braying in Tadzhik (a Central Asia dialect) that joys and sorrows were meant to be shared. This entire world creates a superfluous din about this whole rigmarole of wedding celebrations but nobody realizes why they do it.
Make a grand announcement from Qutub Minar. Carve an invitation card with sandalwood. Let a thousand odd people eat so much that they can’t even shit properly the next day. Decorate cars with flowers. Get dressed in your finest suit and drive your bride away on a rented limousine. Wake up next morning like a pauper, make a list of all those people who didn’t attend the wedding and then call them up and moan, “You didn’t even attend our wedding!”
Just as Robert De Niro’s exclaims in Goodfellas, I’m left wondering, “What’s the world coming to?”
Can’t the world see through the contorted custom, the hollow celebrations and the redundancy of inviting people to weddings? And on top of all of this, the reckless expectation, that everyone should attend these weddings. Sorry, but I fail to get this. Completely.
The last wedding I went for, I cringed and cribbed and cursed myself for the whole of 50 minutes I’d to be there. There was a group of friends who were seemingly having fun. They danced on the streets of Delhi for no good reason with some losers trumpeting distorted versions of old Hindi numbers ahead of them. I shook a leg and wished I had drowned in Red Sea. And then I hear my friends telling me , “Yaar, shaadi mein bahut mazaa aaya…” .
I asked my friend, "Isme mazaa kya aaya?"
He looked at me as if I asked the dumbest thing ever and shrugged his shoulders saying , "Mazaa to aaya..."
Now let’s spend a moment on the logistics. Even if you go for your best friend’s wedding, you can’t speak to him one bit. The guy/girl will have a plastic smile on his face all the time. He won’t be your college buddy he used to be. He wants you to be there, even if he won’t be able to see you. Why? Even he doesn’t know. But his family must’ve told him, “Invite all your friends”, so if his friends don’t turn up, he’ll be questioned and if you didn’t go his level of conviction in the “Yes! They came!” in his bellow won't shine through.
I can understand the importance of big moments and the need of friends around you in such moments. But the moment you’re getting married to someone, somewhere you’ve chosen your best friend for life, so why do you need your old friends to be there physically to gape at you? And if you haven’t chosen your best friend to marry, why the hell are you even getting married?
So my dear friends, get married, have a great life, live long and stay happy! I wish you well even if I don’t attend your wedding. I just can’t practice the superficial science of being able to attend weddings and not feeling hollow about the entire celebrations. Meanwhile, I’ll continue being the friend you could always hang around with.
Like the good old college days, I think…