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Shaadi Khana aabaadi ,Mere Yaar ke Shaad iHai ...

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    Shaadi Khana aabaadi ,Mere Yaar ke Shaad iHai ...

    Recently one of my friends got married with a boy from India.

    Friday, May 25, 2001

    Today, weddings in Hyderabad are not just lavish and extravagant. They are also completely cosmopolitan, in the true sense of the term. Telugu weddings have sangeet and mehendi functions, where youngsters happily swing to a Piya piya O piya piya, Chamma chamma or Aye, kya bolti tu!

    The traditional chowki dinner, where authentic Hyderabadi food is served — biryani, kebabs, qubani ka meetha, so typical of Muslim and Hyderabadi culture — is now avidly followed by non-Muslims. Even among Marwaris, for whom non-vegetarian food and alcohol is taboo, the trend is changing. Now, there are a few Marwari families in the city who’ve hosted at least one dinner in a five-star hotel only because they wanted to entertain their guests with alcohol.

    Some weddings are outrageously flamboyant too. Not content with good food, music, and regular sangeet and mehendi functions, there are some who also organise mujras — yes, just the way you would see in a Hindi film — flowers strewn all over, with nautch girls gyrating, and men throwing money at them.

    Stag parties or the last bachelor bash, a popular western concept, is the ‘in’ thing where the bridegroom is allowed to enjoy his last days of bachelorhood.

    Traditional wedding clothes have also had a sea change. For the South Indians, pattu pavada-paitas (the traditional half saree) and Kanjeevaram saris are no longer in vogue. The new dress code is ghaghra-cholis, zardosi, Swarovski, Banarasi saris…. Charminar is the place where people place their orders, if they aren’t buying it off the rack from Mumbai and Delhi, that is.

    Even among the men, very few opt for the dhoti, most of them prefer the churidar-kurta or bandgala or sherwani with the pagdi. Unless of course the dhoti is designed by someone like Rohit Bal!

    Among the North Indians, it’s the other way round. The south sarees like Kanjeevarams, Uppadas, Gadwals, etc., are a big hit, a ‘must item’ in the bride’s trousseau.

    “Our weddings are very formal where people come, sit, see the function and then leave. What I liked about North Indian weddings is their sangeet, where the entire family has fun. Which is why I was very keen to have a sangeet for my daughter’s wedding. All the youngsters participated and it was such great fun,” said Samyukta Reddy. It was her daughter’s Marwari friends who planned the whole event for them.

    Telugus of Hyderabad have no qualms about admitting that they have picked up a lot from the Marwaris, especially with regard to decor. Says Malathi Reddy, whose daughter Preeti was married recently, “One is anyway spending money, so we may as well make it look exquisite. I’ve always liked the way Marwaris organise functions. Something as simple as a mithai box is packed so well. Fortunately, for us there are professionals who will take orders and organise the same. So we may as well do it too.”

    Perhaps another reason that has led to intermingling of cultures is the recent spate of inter-caste marriages that have been taking place — Reddys and Rajus marrying Punjabis/ Marwaris. Even inter-religion marriages have become common. Since both sides of the families are keen on having their respective rituals performed, the end result is: “Let’s have all functions, theirs and ours!”

    Others have imbibed what they think is fun and best suited to them, while they continue to stick to their rituals. Like Muslim families want to do away with the chowki dinner, as it’s a hassle and have buffet instead. Marwaris, Sindhis, Punjabis like the traditional style done by the likes of Lalitha Prasad and Meenakshi Devi.

    Moreover, today’s youngsters, while being very modern in their outlook when it comes to dressing and lifestyle, are very keen on following customs and traditions to the T when it comes to their wedding. “Oh ma, we only get married once,” they say. Monica Gupta laughs, saying that all along, she thought she would have a simple court marriage for her daughter and host one grand reception. It seems her daughter promptly said, “Mama, I want the dholak, sangeet, ghodi… it’s such fun.”

    That’s the case with many others. Shailaja Reddy says her daughter Smitha was adamant on having a sangeet and mehendi function for her wedding. Many of her friends were North Indians and she had seen at their weddings the amount of fun the family has. So Shailaja went into a tizzy organising sangeet and mehendi.

    She appointed a dance master, who in 20 days taught the family kids basic steps of dance so that they could dance to some Hindi film tunes, organised a dholak for friends to dance during the mehendi function and got chaat wallas to serve all types of chaat varieties — similar to Marwari functions.

    “It went off very well and the kids freaked out. They had organised small skits where they were introducing our side of the family to the groom’s side and in the bargain took pot shots at each member,” said Shailaja. After Smitha’s wedding, the dance master, Satish Raj, has become a big hit. And mind you, the steps are just like what a Salman Khan or Rani Mukherjee would enact!

    An aspect that many have copied from the Marwaris is their eye for detail — whether it is packing gifts, laying of the food tables or taking care of guests — everything has got a personal touch. Says Anjana Patodia, whose daughter married Laxmi N Mittal’s son, “Marwari weddings have always been very colourful. Each function has got a meaning behind it.”

    In this day and age, where anything one wants is available for a price, celebrating weddings on a grand scale has become easy. There are professional packers who will organise the packing of the fruit baskets, presents, tambulam packets, etc. For weddings, flowers are very important and decorating the mandap in different styles is becoming an art.

    Thankfully, there are professionals who are specialists in this art too. All one has to do is give them a contract, tell them your expectations and what you have in mind and voila, they come up with a fantastic décor.

    Even with regard to food, since everyone wants variety, there are so many caterers who can handle dinners for over 1,000 guests without any problem.

    Literally speaking, for every aspect of the wedding, there are professionals who can make it all seem easy. Yes, it’s expensive, costs a lot of money, but considering the fact that for most people, a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime affair (never mind what the divorce courts say), nobody wants to compromise on anything.



    When was i for real?
    I am myself a dream
    I always see you
    watching me tenderly