Thursday, August 16, 2007

Project 6 - An Affair To Remember

Objective - Use voice modulation effectively and explore the possibilities of your voice

Read the wedding card


The greatest and strongest institution in India - Marriage. It is an institution that commands a lot of awe, respect, and sacredness! There is a lot of preparation involved more so in an arranged marriage. Let us take a peep into this whole business of the Great Indian Arranged Marriage.

It all begins when a prospective groom comes over to see the girl. The decked up girl walks into the room with a tray of teacups for the guests, coyly, shyly. She sits herself down and while they are busy forming first impressions about her, the girl is thinking ‘Wow! I never noticed that each tile on our floor has 16 checkered blocks within it...’ She has never looked at the floor for such long a time!

The usual viva-voce begins...‘What have you studied?’ ‘What are your hobbies?’ ‘Do you know to cook?’ ‘Would you be interested in working after marriage?’...As the girl tries to find her voice after such a long period of silence to answer the questions she wonders...‘Did the panel at my first job interview ask me all that? Getting a job is easier than this!’

If everything goes well, a few days later they convey their decision - they like the girl...there is excitement at the girl’s house, there are sighs of relief, the girl blushes pink as her friends squeal in their ‘Congratulations!!’ and preparations for the wedding begin.

The Engagement is accomplished with much fanfare...In a few communities the rituals are so elaborate that they might as well get the couple married then and there. Post the engagement, for some days the multitude gazes at the rings and utters various exclamations...the girl’s friends especially - ‘How beautiful! 23K or 22? And that stone is diamond is it?’

After the engagement has faded from the minds, the wedding starts to be planned. There are frequent calls between the two parties. "What is the Groom’s height?" "What brand of suit does he prefer?" "What colour of Sarees to buy for the bride?" "Kanjeevaram or Benaras silk?" "Which Marriage Hall is available?" "What design to have for the invitation cards?"...The hustle and bustle that characterizes any house where a wedding is to take place.

The day of the wedding dawns and the ceremonies ensue. The guests start pouring in. Children have the most fun at such occasions paying no heed to the purpose of them being there. They run around the hall disturbing chairs and inventing their own games. The little girls collect fallen flowers and shout out "Hey I got a pink rose...which colour did you get?"

The bride’s friends are busy in discussions, ‘the couple looks good together no! And she looks so pretty in that Saree. Apparently her mother-in-law gave it to her...which company did she say the groom works for?’

Somewhere in the 3rd row, oblivious to the ongoing rituals are two ladies having a discussion more important than India’s security policy...‘Do you how much the boy earns?! I heard that he has got a Green Card...you know, he has a younger brother who is single...’ And then ‘what happened to that boy we met at so-and-so’s wedding? You had spoken to his parents is it not? Oh...he became a monk is it! He was a rather nice boy’

The elders assume their positions in the Hall and people start taking their children to meet them...an adolescent boy touches the feet of an elderly aunty supposed to be his father’s 3rd cousin...she exclaims, "How tall you have grown!" As if the he was expected to grow shorter! "I saw you when you were this much, you used to be such crybaby..." and then to his mother "He still cries like that is it?" By this time the boy is thoroughly embarrassed and only wants to run away from the wedding and civilization in general.

Suddenly, the music starts and goes into a crescendo marking the moment of holy matrimony. Everyone crowds around the marquee to shower blessings on the couple. They hand over the gifts, mumble their congratulations and proceed to eat.

Food is another major article of discussion. "You know, at so-and-so’s wedding they had 3 different cuisines...we couldn’t even taste everything! By the way, did you taste the Biryani? It is delicious..."

A child bothers his mother with cries of "I want ice-cream!" when there is none...and his mother tries to bargain "Baby, I will buy you ice-cream this evening...promise...for now will you be a good boy and eat the dessert?"

Meanwhile, preparations to see the couple off have begun. And among sobbing relatives, friends wishing the best for a happy married life, hugs and kisses from the kids of the household, the bride steps out with her husband into a new life with new hopes, apprehensions and excitement for the future. For all that has gone into sending the darling daughter away, every Indian wedding in itself becomes - an affair to remember.

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