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10 Kinds Of People At Weddings I’m Happy I Won’t Meet This Year

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As the wedding season rolls around the corner, I find myself begrudging the pandemic with renewed hatred. In a year without coronavirus, now would have been the time that I would have scoured for lehenga designs and daydreamt of the string of gastronomic paradises that awaited. 2020 has lived up to its reputation of being a party pooper on all those accounts. A few wedding invites do lay in wait for an RSVP. But I know better than to be lured by the charms of a grand gathering of hundreds at a time when cases are multiplying at the rate at which I would have been guzzling chicken tikkas had I attended.

And anyhow, as I see it, there are a few upsides to not being able to attend weddings this year. Indian weddings are hotspots of sexist judgments that can come hurtling at you from literally any corner. They’re much less an occasion of two partners coming together in holy matrimony as they are of gossip about everyone else attending. So even though I’m remorseful about missing all that free booze and fun dress-up, here are the ten kinds of people I’m happy I won’t have to encounter at weddings this year:

1. The “Beta, You’re Next” Chacha

Depending on how close you are to the 20s, commonly understood as the marriageable age bracket, the more likely you are to hear this refrain. I like to call this golden formula the Shaadi Shor Theorem. The stress of dodging wink-and-nudge relatives who obsess over you being next in line for marriage is something most single Indian girls are familiar with. Not a wedding goes by where this silly pestering doesn’t occur.

“Beta, you’re next” isn’t even threatening anymore. It seems like people are just saying it to keep the tradition of coercing young people into marriage alive. It’s not as if I’m going to give in to marriage before my time just because a random chacha raised the issue. But I’m sure glad to not have to hear it this year.

Also Read: 40 Taunts By Desi Aunties That Make Young Single Women Go WTF

2. The “Kitni Moti Ho Gayi Hai” Mami

I don’t remember that I’ve ever gone on a diet to “fit into a lehenga,” as I’ve seen many other women do. But I don’t blame them. The idea of attractiveness has been sold to women for years by models and film actresses prancing around with their designer lehengas sitting just right on their flat stomachs. In fact, aunties at weddings expect no less from their ghar ki betiyaan.

Sure, they don’t want to encourage us to pursue high-powered careers or sexual freedoms, but our waists must be slim to their liking. And why so? So we can look like “pretty” girls they can enjoy admiring. Talk about narcissism. Thankfully, I won’t be hearing any of it this year over the sound of chips crunching in my mouth at home.

3. The “You Should Have Done Better Make-Up” Sister

Always, there’s always that cousin at weddings trying to one-up you. They may be acting in good faith when they suggest your lip shade doesn’t match your skin tone or that you should have used a different highlighter. But more often than not, it comes off as condescending. Annoying even. Why is every girl expected to look like a Sabyasachi model at weddings?

This is a constant headache for someone like me who doesn’t necessarily go the full mile of professional make-up. A dab here, a dab there, and I’m good to go. This time I won’t have to make even that little effort. The “better make-up” department can be handled by whichever diva sister is attending weddings in 2020.

4. The “Isn’t Your Blouse Too Deep” Bua

Pandemics may come and go but women’s obsessions with other women’s cleavages will never end. This warped notion of moral policing our bodies has been a staple at Indian weddings. Blouse-watching is a common pastime here, where the size, length, width, tightness, and depth of a woman’s saree/lehenga blouse is duly analysed. If your blouse front slips a little, or you keep it that way, or the back is held together by a sexy dori, you can be sure some bua somewhere has eyed it and is making her way towards you to talk about it.

It’s a little hilarious how unsettling people find the idea of skin even as we complete several millennia as human beings. Blouse lengths are considered apt determinants of character judgment. Well, at least I know aunties will have one less girl to gossip about this wedding season.

Also Read: Dear Uncles And Aunties, Who Asked You To Lose Sleep Over My Single Status?

5. The “Wives Are Such Headaches” Uncle

Cross a crowd of boozy uncles at weddings and they will, in all probability, be laughing over a sexist joke one of them read aloud from a WhatsApp forward. Alongside being hubs of gender differentiation between “ladies” and “gents”, weddings are occasions to reinforce misogyny in the crassest form of humour. The levity in the atmosphere lends these uncles a comfortable “anything goes” attitude where they can dismiss their wives with ease.

Someone needs to tell them these jokes are tiring, and making their wives slog in the kitchen without so much as a thank you, only to dump on them later is highly problematic and revelatory of their own sexist nature. If you’re reading this and have a wedding to go to later, be sure to school the uncle who tries shitting on his wife behind her back.

6. The “Dulha Could Have Done Better” Aunty

Why do you think the bride and groom sit atop a grand stage in full view of their guests? So people can admire them better? Hell no. So people can judge them better from head-to-toe. The couple’s clothes, shoes, make-up, love story, future parenthood, future kids – every single thing is under the radar of aunties looking for gossip fodder. Their go-to method for checking the compatibility of the couple is by matching them basis skin colour, age, height, weight, nose-sharpness (yes, it happens). Basically everything outwardly.

In all this, the dulha (groom) is often given the benefit of doubt, but the dulhan (bride) is never spared. By virtue of being a woman, she is always expected to be as flawless as, or “better” than the groom. I wish these aunties spent their Good Samaritan energies on something more worthwhile and left the happy couple to figure out their compatibility themselves.

7. The “Can I Have Your Number” Random Dude

This one actually doesn’t seem too bad for someone who’s always on the lookout for her fairytale love story. But wedding romances are nothing like what our romcoms would have us believe. My dupatta never gets stuck in the wristwatch of a strapping young man crossing me. What really happens, instead, is that some wisecrack stares at you from the corner of the room, conspicuously whispering to his friends who egg him on for entertainment. Then he approaches you, expectedly trying to hook you into a conversation you desperately want to avoid.

No, I wouldn’t want to give him my number either, because thanks to the dismal state of women’s cyber safety in the country, I know better than to hand a random dude any personal info. Girls attending weddings this year, be judicious.

Also Read: Kim Kardashian’s “Normal” Private Island Birthday Shows How Tone-Deaf The Rich Can Be

8. The “Feminists Are Such Drama Queens” Jiju

When the party crowd at weddings has had one too many drinks, the conversation always turns political. And often, the easiest targets are people asking for a better society. But naturally, why would a bunch of well-fed, well-drunk, privileged people care two hoots about any of that? They find it much easier to poke fun at them.

For instance, women asking for equal rights or gender inequality appear to them to be nothing but “drama queens.” Because, as one of them would authoritatively assert, “Women already have so many rights. What more do they want?” Ask them about the endless crimes against women, and they’ll most likely say, “Arey, all that toh will keep happening. Besides, aren’t men attacked?” While at home this year, I’ll pray for them to educate themselves.

9. The “Just Find A Good Husband Instead Of A Job” Brother

Indian weddings seldom have settings that encourage profound conversations. And for this, the young, single crowd suffers under the weight of questions about the future. For girls, the infamous “aage ka kya socha hai” comes conveniently self-answered. Before you can even tell them about your plans to pursue a dream job, they give you a solution – “Just find a good husband and settle down. Why study? Why work?”

It’s hardly wonderful to see that the world works for them in black and white binaries: Men can do the earning, women can do the settling. But in the 21st century, settling means something more for women who are looking toward financial independence. Something brothers with saviour complexes don’t seem to have understood still. I hope such people don’t receive any wedding invites this year, so they have to sit home and reflect.

10. The “It Could Have Been More Lavish” Mausi

This is one time elders would do well to practice what they preach about money not growing on trees. Every wedding they attend seems to be lacking, either in the bride-groom match, or food menus, or the decor. They whisper to each other how the host families should have had a better “arrangement.” If you strain your ears well enough, you might even catch a couple of them complaining about how insufficient the dowry, if any, was.

These are the same people who won’t flinch when shortening the guest list for their own child’s wedding to cut down costs. But judging comes easy when it’s someone else’s child. Here’s wishing the pandemic has made them empathetic and grown them a conscience. And also that their wedding masks filter out their words when necessary.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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