If there is a betrothal or wedding coming up in your family, you menfolk should seriously explore the possibility of holding the event without the participation of the ladies in your family, especially the bride-to-be.
For, their beauty make-up sessions are taking longer than Simbu film shoots.
I speak from a recent experience. Three days prior to an event in the family, women in the house disappeared for all manner of pedicure, manicure, waxing, threading and what not, none of which will ever be noticed by most guys.
There was also something called a pre-makeup routine, which is when they — follow me closely here — applied some make-up as a prelude to applying more make-up later.
And not to forget the mehendi (marudani), the traditional application of henna in alluring and attractive motifs (mostly) on palms and arms that give the women the trendy feel of designer psoriasis. Applying mehendi also takes as much time to as it takes to assemble the Tejas aircraft.
All this hullabaloo was for an engagement function that the bride and groom to-be will have trouble recollecting the date of five years later. To give you another perspective: Total (collective) time spent on make-up and mehendi — 76 hours. Total duration of the function: 3 hours.
Personally speaking, I don’t get the funda behind betrothals. It is, at best, a traditional function that allows the bride and groom families to enjoy the same tension and trouble that they would otherwise have to wait till the actual wedding to experience.
First up, there is no clear-cut policy on who is responsible for the organisation of the betrothal event. In some communities, it is left to the boy’s side. In some, the girl’s family is in charge. In some others — the community of senior bureaucrats, to be precise — the staff in his department. But there is no such confusion in the case of weddings. Universally, this is how the responsibilities are happily shared:
Bride’s family: Printing of cards, rent for the wedding hall, transportation and rooms for outstation guests, food and hospitality for the two or three days, dresses, flower and hall decorations, photographers, the priests who solemnise the wedding, knickknacks as return gifts to guests, honeymoon and one-time non-refundable caution deposit to the groom family.
Groom’s family: Showing up at the event on the given day.
Secondly, if you keep a stopwatch and time the actual core of a betrothal function, you will realise it is way too short: One minute for reading the details of bride and groom family. One minute for formal exchange of rings (which is not even mandatory in these parts). So the event, technically, has a run-time lesser than that of Mohenjo Daro trailer.
So, with a lot of time to kill, a lot of photos and videos that will never be seen a week later, were shot by a posse of professional camerapersons and a bigger posse of non-professional camerapersons with their mobiles and iPads.
As far as I observed, these are what were captured: 1. Boy and girl posing in every possible angle. 2. Boy and girl with various friends and relatives formally on the dais. 3. Boy and girl with various friends and relatives informally off the dais. 4. Selfies of boy and girl with their friends and relatives. 5. Pictures of boy and girl clicking selfies with their friends and relatives. 6. Boy and girl with boy’s family. 7. Boy and girl with girl’s family. 8. Boy and girl together with boy and girl’s families. 9. Boy and girl’s families without the boy and girl. 10.Random shots of floral and fruit arrangements. 11. And just in case: a) Boy separately b) Girl separately c) her hairstyle separately. 12. Boy and girl with boy and girl’s families again (as one member who had gone to see off someone else had got missed out previously).
And I dread the fact that this will be repeated in its entirety with even more guests on the day of the wedding reception. By which time, the boy and girl would have added, by a conservative estimate, 2300 selfies (of them together) to their CV.
Anyway, time was once when betrothals used to be nondescript and frills-free events in these parts. They were utterly devoid of fanfare and it was not necessary for the to-be groom to be part of it. He would not even make it to the function. Going forward, I, however, expect the bride to-be to not attend the betrothal.
But that would be mostly because she would still not be through with her make-up.