If you love noise, laughter, clink of gold bangles, gossip, full-flavoured food, makeup, music, insincere praises, and have a skin thick enough to endure caustic remarks about your age, weight, height and marital status, a 'deshi' wedding is 'the' place to be.
It is a place where you walk into people of all possible kinds – big, small, old, young, men, women, children - a microcosm of the society you live in!
Wedding season is here at our doorsteps and very soon you will be at the receiving end of one of those spendthrift wedding invitation cards calling you for a regal wedding consisting of thirteen functions and more.
Consider yourself lucky if you have not been to one of those weddings but either way, royal or not, weddings are your free ticket to scrumptious meals and the Bengali circus where you will most likely encounter a diverse collection of people – some of them leaving you mentally scarred for life!
You meet a coy bride (nothing crazy about it), who may not actually be shy in real life but has to act shy at her wedding to meet social expectations. The demure bride looks unidentifiable on her big day because a make-up artist put in five hours to alter her appearance from head to toe - her fake eyelashes are heavier than lead, her eyes not rich brown but turquoise, and her complexion - four shades lighter.
Then you meet a groom in a crisp complete suit or an embroidered sherwani looking stiff and a tad bit nervous.
Although everything takes place around the bride and the groom to celebrate the beginning of their lives under one roof, they are not the real interesting characters at a wedding.
Then who are?
1. THE ULTRA INTENSE BRIDESMAID
The scenes caused by the overtly anxious bridesmaid are mostly fun to watch unless you are herself, and in that case I almost feel sorry for you. She is nearly always the bride's best friend since first grade and is well aware of every miniscule detail regarding not just the wedding but the bride's entire life.
Who needs a wedding planner when you have her?
The ultra intense bridesmaid will never fail to throw nasty looks at any one slightly messing up a dance move at the Holud or causing any hindrance to her perfectly planned wedding.
Wait! Did I just say her wedding? Well, at one point she will really get you wondering whose wedding it really is.
2. THE SELFIE QUEENS
You spot them everywhere - in restaurants, shopping malls, even public washrooms and eventually on your Facebook wall. They are however most visible at weddings, taking selfies, either alone or in groups. To these selfie queens, socialising is synonymous to taking snaps with others.
They form pouts - 'duck lips' or a 'fish gape' and fluff their hair before every click; they delete any photo in which they think they do not look fair and lovely enough.
3. THE WEDDING ROMEOS
A timid flirt cannot do much, but a bold one will try to crack a joke or converse in a loud voice in the presence of a damsel to declare his existence. A super bold one may walk up to a girl with his smart phone and ask for her phone number. Admit it or not, but some people do meet their future partners at weddings!
Contrary to popular beliefs, flirts necessarily need not be men; they can be members of the fairer sex too.
Flirtatious women twirl their hair when they spot a band of young men standing or sitting. They glance at them with eyes heavy from mascara and lined flawlessly end-to-end. These young women giggle for no real reasons as they walk past young men - all in an effort to draw attention.
4. THE MATCHMAKERS
Only on a rare occasion, a single person returns from a wedding without having bumped into a middle-aged matchmaker. She is often the busiest person at the event, always huffing and sweating under a cake of make-up while constantly on the lookout for a prospective bride or groom.
Usually on the overweight side, a 'matchmaker auntie' strikes up a conversation with you to find out about your age, work, education, family and relationship status.
If you are a girl, she will dart her eyes left and right, up and down in an effort to mentally calculate your age, height and weight.
She will squint to determine the true colour of your skin, which her poor vision cannot decide right away, because you too painted your face impeccably. If you are a working man, she will seize every opportunity to ask how much you make every month.
And if she concludes from the conversation that you are an eligible bachelor or bachelorette, she will hunt for your mother.
With her plump hands, a matchmaker auntie also yanks your mother aside and asks in a whisper if you have a sweetheart. To which your mother always vehemently shakes her head side to side and almost always says, “No!”
5. THE INTELLECTUAL
I really do hope that you are not one of them because on a scale of 1-10 of the 'annoying people meter', the intellectuals may exceed the scale at the very moment they start speaking. These people will almost always dress as if they came in from the red carpet. They like to engage in solemn conversations regarding business, politics, and elections (local or foreign) - while these topics are essentially enlightening on a casual day, they can turn out to be a total buzz kill at a wedding. Every once in a while, you may try to enter the conversation but their ceaseless debates will put you right back to sleep.
6. THE GOURMANDS
They come to weddings to eat and they eat to their hearts' content. They look at everything and everyone with disinterest; their only interest is the rich, aromatic traditional wedding fare. They occupy chairs early and are the first ones to grab the serving spoon on a dish of kachhi. They serve themselves the juiciest pieces of meat and most of the scrumptious 'laal mohan' that garnish a bowl of zarda.
7. THE TWO FEET MONSTERS
These tiny troublemakers at a wedding are some of the small children geared up with infinite amounts of energy. They run and frolic around the hall like there is no tomorrow!
Some of them even collide with waiters juggling steaming dishes of food for the guests. At the dinner table, they pour 'borhani' on strangers sitting next to them. If you are not watching, one of them will even wipe his greasy hand on the end of your big-budget party sari.
The parents of these children crack their voices as they scream after them; the troublemakers pay no heed, though. At one point, the exhausted parents give up!
8. THE JUDGEMENTAL LEAGUE
They scrutinise everything they see at a wedding, from the quality and breed of the chicken served to the number of necklaces the bride dons; from the model of the car in which the groom arrives to the relationship between the bride and the groom prior to their marriage.
These guests judge everything from the lavishness of the décor to the social classes of the other guests.
9. THE ACROBATIC SHUTTERBUG Click! Click!
He is a VIP at any modern wedding. This highly energetic and acrobatic man squats, stoops, crawls, stands on his toes and even lies on the floor to document every special wedding moment. Young women swarm around him to have their photos taken.
Unfortunately, this important person is often the last one to taste the delectable wedding food, or what's left of it.
10. THE 'BHAI-ZONED' PHOTOGRAPHER
Last I checked, even the thriftiest wedding budget includes a professional photographer to capture all the wedding moments, and yet there is always that one person behind the real photographer carrying his DSLR. He is a freelancer who possibly has a secret admiration on one of the bridesmaids.
11. WEDDING CRASHERS
How can you even call it a 'deshi' wedding without encountering a group of men, almost always immaturely dressed, and having no relationship with either the bride or the groom?
Wedding crashers add a certain delight to every reception, after all when did we ever need an invite to get dressed and show up for free food, right?
At the end whether we agree or not, a big-fat-deshi wedding simply comes down to food. Oh sorry, I meant love. And, by love I mean love for food. You may be one of these enlightening people, or not. Either way we will share a secret: we do happen to be one of the ten... let the guessing game begin!
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Models: Azra and Nahid
Make-up: Farzana Shakil's Makeover Salon
Wardrobe: O2 and Banalata
Jewellery: New Jarwa House
Set design: Eskay by Saimul Karim