Peculiarities of a Paki wedding

I’m not someone who absolutely loves weddings, nor do I completely dislike them. I think I fall somewhere between the two worlds where I have grown to appreciate the oddities that have become customs in most weddings. I must also admit that this rant is merely the result of countless hours I have spent at such events entertaining myself with observations I find amusing.

Considering I’ve had the most experience attending Pakistani weddings, allow me to share some of the things that I’ve noticed year after year.  Now to be fair, with the strikingly different social classes and lifestyles present in Pakistan, it would be true to say that much of what I share may come off as a harsh generalization, but sadly there is a need to acknowledge these peculiarities, no generalizations intended.

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The Test…

The wedding events are a test. A test of patience for sure, but also a test of what you love more: the idea of sharing in the hosts’ happiness by your involvement and presence at the event, or well… food. (Is that really a tricky one?) In fact, I feel like there is some sort of crazy conditioning being conducted on the guests. Picture this: you arrive at a wedding event (on time, or lag a little anticipating that the majority of the guests will do the same) but you still show up relatively early. Hours later you’re still awaiting the arrival of the bride/groom so that the evening may actually commence. No sign of dinner of course. Pray hard enough and eventually the bride/groom do show up! Guess what you see immediately after? Dinner! Yes, I’m telling you, it’s society’s crazy conditioning method by merely rewarding our ‘good’ behavior!

 Sorry pal, false alarm… the bride’s still en route.

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 Just in case you forgot…

Stemming from the assumption that your guests suffer from some sort of short-term memory loss, the annoyance that takes the cake would have to be the repetition day after day, after day! The worst of the lot are the déjà vu weddings, where you’re forced to attend a series of events at the same venue, with pretty much the same people, and yes…who would’ve thought? The same bride and groom! Did someone say third-world?! Pshht.

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 Bring a pair of sunglasses…

Beware of the cameraman’s sidekick. He may attempt to blind you by shining his massive flashlight right at your face. Try not to make any faces because seconds after that you may see flashes, and no that isn’t you gradually losing your eye-sight but Mr. Cheif Cameraman ensuring the moment is caught on film.

“Ladeez please saamnay dekhain.”

This documented proof of your oddity is then readily available for the entire extended family’s comfortable viewing at some later date. If you’re lucky the video/picture editing will be done in a manner that ensures that shot turns into something even more ‘memorable’. Variations include strange music in the background while your face rotates onto the screen, bounces around like animations in a Powerpoint presentation, and then gets zoomed in to for reasons I’ve yet to discover. If the cameraman’s really sneaky he might play cupid and make sure your shot preceeds that of a cousin of the oppositte gender.

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Time is money….& money is holy (duh!)

It’s a little known fact that money has some strange holy power (only) at weddings. If you’ve missed this being displayed, I assure you, if you stick around long enough you will see this being exhibited at least once. It is more commonly referred to as the money-rotation ritual and is really quite simple. All you need are some rupees, and a head. Rapid clock-wise rotations with the money around either the bride or grooms head (depending on who you love more/ think needs it more) and the simultaneous recitation of a prayer is all that is required to complete the ritual. Please note, if you make a mistake making the prayers, there is no need to panic; simply repeat the process anti-clockwise and voila the wish slate is clean again! Also, interestingly, the chances of your prayers being answered is directly related to the currency being used. Enough said.

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No time to chew. Just swallow…

Please note that although you may not know it, the general eating  and swallowing capabilities of the average bride/groom miraculously change on their wedding day. If you are the bride or groom, at some point during the evening guests will make their way onto the stage at minute-intervals to congratulate you and feed you, what I like to call sugar-bombs. The gulping down of these sugar-infested-and-oil-enriched sweets is a must! Be warned that the option of respectfully declining their offer isn’t really an option, nor is (if you’re really ill-mannered) displaying the contents of your mouth: the remainder of the previous little treat.

Aunty Shabo’s wedding present…. Diabetes.

And if you’re really lucky, some of the (very skillful) guests will be nice enough to not only perform the money-rotation ritual but also shove a sugar-bomb down your throat within their allocated time slot! Priceless stuff I tell you! For the guests seated closest to the stage, it sure is a treat to watch.

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…And ACTION!

The bride and groom’s wedding day departure, which lasts anywhere between fifteen minutes and what seems like fifty minutes, is possibly the most emotional time for all present. It is, until it turns into a scene straight out of some dramatic movie (especially if there is music still playing in the background) with the inevitable need for all those present to cash in the moment and unleash their videography talents! A sudden sea of personal cameras and mobile phones can be seen as all the drama gets recorded for scenes for the next Lollywood movie. The bride on the other hand, is unaffected (or pretends to be) while she makes her way further into the pool of farewell-ers, and as the emotions take a toll… she goes from bride to bridezilla.

Might even be an improvement in some cases, just sayin’.

And with that mental image, I think I shall conclude my rant.

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Hiba Ali breathes sarcasm (& occasionally fire). Tickle her funny bone & she may spare you. 

You can read more of her work over at http://bubbleofblabber.blogspot.com/

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Categories: A Shot at Love

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One Comment on “Peculiarities of a Paki wedding”

  1. Myra Ahmed
    October 9, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    i swear this article strikes a chord. itz so tru!

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