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The Big Fat Punjabi Wedding and Xmas cheer! by Ravneet Sangha

Ravneet Sangha: An eminent social worker | December 25, 2016 12:09 PM

I am in the midst of a big fat Punjabi wedding, just the kind Karan Johar tries to sell to millions of cinemagoers, but we have all the melodrama, clothes being stitched, darned, taken out as they miraculously got tight, hair being fashioned in the latest designs, and trust me the time these girls take to do their hair is not funny but it still comes across as messy. 

In our time (yes, I’m old with all the shades of white hair) we were made to dress up in suits that were fixed for us, with gota tikkis on them, and hair was oiled, braided so tight that even air could not pass through it .The only concession to fashion was bangles and a parandi. And, if you were old enough you were given your mother’s smallest gold loops to wear so that you would look all dolled up.

These days, the decorators tried to sell us themes, flowers, canopies, umbrellas, and some innovative smart kid tried to sell us the Modidemonetization package. He told us about solar lights, flowers that could be recycled and virtual cards that would lower the cost.


I must say they do come up with everything. However, what takes the wedding to the next level is the word co-ordination, We literally coordinated everything from the flowers to the clothes to the traditional boxes, and out went the budget .

The key word here is color has to be taken into mind, it has to be the subtle English pastel rose for the boxes as we were drinking high tea in Dorchester, to the bright yellow reminiscent of the mustard fields of vibrant Punjab for mehendi and the sophisticated golden or ivory for the wedding. It’s like the Punjabi in us, just went out of control over one word, what will people say, and there you have it. Demonetization is the new annuls horribilis for the year 2016 but I think it skipped the wedding chapter. We just got bigger than ever.

The best part of the weddings is how one family member will get upset with another and a whole family saga is written, and that is how history is made. 

I have this habit of posting, chronicling the wedding in my own way, posting pictures and trying to convince my better half to smile and that its ok to do so. The stiff upper lip persists, however. Taking pictures in our finery and posting them, and then discussing the colors fashion is the best part and getting to hear from a sister that its my 200th suit is all part of it.

However, we all came to a consensus that the late night anxiety ridden, depression induced, stress ful, guilt ridden besan eating chai sessions were the best. The bonhomie of those late night masala chai, fuelled by gossip, with mind you the latest Turkish soap opera playing (that is a standard at our house) with the entire house surrounded and engulfed by fog has set the standard for all weddings to come.  

And the chaos, next morning of applying what else make-up plus the confusions of missing thermals and getting ready on time, with tempers flaying is what we Punjabis are famous for. In fact given the mix even the hot water geysers acted up and threw in their fit of tantrums, they just refused to work, the solar water system was elusive and we kept on packing ourselves with enough inners to rival the advertisements shown in television. I must say they are misleading; none of us looked that svelte wearing them, just more and more boxy! And, to cap it all the wedding season is not complete with out the NRI who is  full of life and thinks everything is nice , but in our wedding this time suffered from the worst case of Delhi Belly that even left us ironclad Indians afraid. Thus, we friended all kinds of chooran, hajmola and pudin hara, we are all popping these drugs that are working wonders and raising the temperature wherever we go.

The cheer is there and today the bazaar is full of Christmas cheer and on the traffic lights one of the young hawkers shivering in her thin clothes wearing a bright white red Santa cap was trying to sell me balloons in her chaste Punjabi Hindi mix.  


And she sold all her balloons to all of us, embracing the holiday cheer and spirit and the festivities continues and it leaves a warm feeling in the heart when one knows in spite of divisive politics we still celebrate all function irrespective of religion …and it continues with wishes and the light is brightest in the hearts of the poor as seen in the next village to ours where the church is lit up with the best laser lights and the colors of Christmas cheer .

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