We live in a country which is famous for its big fat Indian weddings which last for days, have elaborate menus, royal decor, a long list of guests, and much more. An Indian wedding is incomplete without thousands of guests and raucous Bollywood dancing. A wedding is probably the most important day of somebody’s life and we know how to make it extravagant and memorable but the pandemic and the lockdown that followed came at a time when India’s wedding season was in full swing.
Couples had booked banquet halls, hotels, and exotic destinations to take their vows but as COVID struck us, these dream plans had to be put on hold or shelved, but can Indians ever get bogged down under pressure? No… never! Lo and behold, we were ready for virtual weddings. The internet, newspapers, and news channels were sharing news of couples who had decided to tie the knot virtually and as for me, well I was waiting for my first virtual wedding invitation. The lockdown had given me various opportunities to attend online birthday parties and anniversaries but I was seriously looking forward to attending a virtual wedding.
My wish was granted when my cousin decided to get married during the lockdown and finally I was all set for the wedding day, filled with excitement and enthusiasm with jhumkas in my ears and a little bit of makeup (so what if I was wearing a t-shirt and leggings, my clothes won’t be visible anyway, right?)
The wedding was supposed to take place at my cousin’s residence. The Zoom call began and there I was, attending my very first virtual wedding. Amidst the hustle-bustle, and the erratic movements of the laptop which was being placed at a position from where we could all view the ceremony, the bride and groom walked in front of the screen to wave at the Zoom guests. My cousin, the bridegroom, looked dapper in a kurta-pajama and a matching waistcoat, while the bride was looking absolutely gorgeous in a bright pink saree.
I could see 15-20 people around the house and we were about 15 people on Zoom. Some of the guests present there were sitting on sofas or chairs while the others were busy helping around. A Panditji was engrossed in decorating the havan kund. The ‘about to be married’ couple sat next to the Panditji and the ceremony began.
The Zoom guests were muted as the Panditji did not want any disturbance during the rituals. After a few minutes, the Panditji asked the couple to stand up for the Jai-mala. A few mantra’s later, the Pheras began followed by the Mangalsutra and Maang-bharna rituals. All the wedding rituals were done in less than an hour and my cousin was married. After seeking blessings of those present there, the couple came closer to the laptop screen to take our blessings and wishes.
Once the ceremony was over, we began logging out of Zoom. Even though the wedding lasted only for a little more than an hour, my excitement of having attended my first virtual wedding remained high throughout the day.
The lockdown has taught us how to live with minimum things and that’s just what I learnt from this online wedding. It’s not that I am not a fan of larger than life weddings but this ‘wedding from home’ idea was extremely cool too. I guess big fat Indian weddings will need to allow small, virtual Indian weddings to take their place for the time being.