Yesterday my beautiful friend Shambhavi raised her arms above her own veiled head and threw a rope of flowers around Sidharth’s. Everyone cheered as the bride and groom walked towards the mandap and the sun began to set behind Shambhavi’s farm, turning the sky momentously golden. My palms began to sweat and I turned to my brother and said, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that.”
I am petrified of getting married. It gives me butterflies in a terrible way. As though butterflies have been caged within my stomach, and are fluttering there helplessly. When I say this, the response I get is – “Why are you so anti-marriage?” But I’m not. Note, I said what scares me is “getting married”. It took me years to realize, that the thing that gave me nausea at mandaps, wasn’t the unwillingness to be married. It was the trauma of getting married. The thought of a wedding turns my blood cold. Not any wedding. The great Indian wedding. Over the years, as my friends have begun falling like flies who’ve hit a glass wall, and I’ve had to memorise choreographed numbers on various occasions, I’ve begun to hate the sheer pomposity of the Indian wedding. The often outlandish décor. The colossal waste of cash. The incredible amount of outfits that ‘must not be repeated’. The heartbreaking waste of food. The self-indulgent dances and assembly line DJs. The sad fact that neither the bride and groom, nor their families, ever really look happy. The day I get married, I want to look happy. The culmination of love, for me, is not represented by a combination of designer outfits, a good event planner, how many people turned up and how late the night went on. My symbols of love are flowers, the music I really love and listen to, the friends I really value, and people who can afford me the comfort of me being myself. Ideally, I’d like to be alone with a boy on a mountaintop, our mouths full of kisses, our hearts full of love, and God as our witness. I understand the legal complications and selfish implications of this, and know that perhaps I will have to turn my dream into a big budget film, and make my big day a production with me as a deranged self-indulgent director cum star, and my parents playing producer. My sisters will be ADs and my best friends will all act superbly.
I know I’m being harsh. Everyone loves a good shaadi – lots of booze, lots of gossip, you meet old friends, you sing and dance and laugh and indulge. You have hangovers and tummy aches and funny moments and later, these make for terrific memories. I agree. But I don’t want my wedding to be about your memories. I also know there’s a middle ground. You can get married like my friends Sahira and Dhruv – big, but beautiful beyond belief. Or like Chandni and Jivjeet, who were relaxed, happy, and low key. Or like Sid and Shambhavi, who made yesterday look so easy. My aversion to weddings in general though make even beautiful examples like these scary, despite how wonderful they were to be at. When I imagine myself playing the roles Chandni, Sahira or Sham did with such grace and ease, my immediate thought is to run. Or burst into tears. I had to admit to myself while watching the ceremony yesterday, that possibly the main reason I don’t want to have a big or proper wedding, is that a part of me still isn’t emotionally intact enough. That my closeness to crying every time I watch a jai mala ceremony, help choose a friend’s bridal outfit, or attend a choora, represents something far deeper. I threw out arrows, hoping they’d hit something. My parents? My fear of commitment? My fear of dependence? Nothing struck. So here I am, surrounded by my dislike of weddings, and stuck with my honest hope that I can be the girl who avoids one. Because for that one day, I’d like to do what I want to. It’s not a lot to ask, is it?