The first Indian wedding that I was actually invited to, perfectly fit my friend’s description. A ‘Big Fat Punjabi Wedding’. He was an uncle of the bride but he felt uncomfortable the whole evening, embarrassed by the lavishness and vast expense. I, on the other hand, was having a grand time.
The wedding ground was like the size of a football pitch and was decorated in so much pink, that all the photos look, well, pink. Even the faces. There were two jumbo screens so the 500 plus guests didn’t have to miss any of the action. There was a full bar with the best brands in wine and spirits. The food tent contained tables laid out with various dishes from every state in India, which were repeated on the opposite side of the tent. That’s right. Dishes from every state in India. Twice. Then if that wasn’t enough there was also an table for Italian, Chinese, a salad fountain, a gelato stand, and a giant snack sculpture, made largely of imported cheese that nobody touched except a 5 year old boy who plundered the cheddar squares throughout the evening.
I was happily sucking down my third Mojito and digging into a food plate from Andhra Pradesh, when Amar’s wife, a child rights activist, rushed up to me with a look that did not bode well for my plans for dessert. She asked me to take a photo of the kids holding up the lanterns outside the wedding ground, lighting the way for the groom’s arrival on his traditional white horse. At the time I took it, I was sure the photo wouldn’t come out. His face was so dark and the lantern so bright and my camera skills so naff. But it did. This little boy was one of about half a dozen who had stood holding these heavy lanterns for hours, perfectly invisible it seemed to any of the guests.