>How late is too late for a baraat to arrive at an Indian wedding? When the time given in invitation cards is 8:30 pm, what time do you expect the guests to arrive? 9:00 or 9:30 or may be 10: 00 pm? And what do the guests do if the baraat doesn’t arrive till midnight? And surely, there must be a decent limit to which you can be late to your own wedding!
At the wedding The Guy and I attended last evening, the groom and his family and friends must’ve felt no compunction to be punctual. Perhaps, arriving at twelve in the night wasn’t bizarre for them. It certainly was for me! It’s not the first time I’ve heard of a baraat being so delayed, but being from the bride’s side, I couldn’t help but pity the girl who was ready well in time and had to sit through agonising hours of waiting. When the baraat did arrive, it was greeted by an almost empty and beautiful pandal – most of the bride’s guest had already had dinner and left even before meeting the bride. How pathetic – the girl spent days deciding her clothes for this occasion, spent hours getting dressed for it and in the end, there was nobody left to even admire her!
Luckily for us, there was another party we had to attend in the same vicinity and we didn’t have to twiddle our thumbs in anticipation for the groom to arrive. We hopped over to the other party and an acquaintance at the wedding kept us informed about the status of the baraat. Since the groom was nowhere in sight by 11:30 pm, the acquaintance also left. And it was after our party had winded up at around 12:30 am, that we thought we’d give our luck another try – perhaps we would now be able to meet the bride and the groom! We sure were lucky, because they were just exchanging garlands when we reached the venue. I was glad I’d finally be able to tell the bride how pretty she was looking. So, as the bride and groom posed for pictures, The Guy and I waited patiently watching all the commotion of a typical Indian wedding with repressed amusement.
Just as the garlands were exchanged, a man – probably the groom’s relative – in the middle of the small crowd – began to fire his pistol in the air. He was standing a few feet away from us, surrounded by lots of other people. And he fired six rounds of gunshots. But the first one was enough for me to turn on my heels and head for the exit. Call me paranoid or practical, I just didn’t want to be present at a wedding where my life or anyone else’s could be threatened by a brazen act of foolishness. Had I been in a more compliant mood, The Guy would’ve suggested that since we’d waited so long to meet our colleague, we might as well wait a few more minutes. But I seriously was in no mood to be in a potentially dangerous situation, even if that meant having to forego the chance to meet a friend at her wedding. And firing in the middle of a wedding crowd is creating a potentially dangerous situation for everyone present there.
To me, this kind of a celebration is as repulsive as it gets. Exactly what purpose does it serve? If it is meant to be a show of power, go shoot a canon ball! We’ve heard of so many tragedies caused by such foolishness, I don’t ever want to be at a wedding where I may have to see someone being killed because that someone could even be me. And why do anything that could turn a happy occasion like a wedding into something tragic? What does it take for people to learn from others’ mistake?