Anyone who thinks the title is borrowed (heavily inspired) from somewhere, here’s a shoutout to your observation skills. You are right!! It is taken from a 1990 comedy film which has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 29%. That percentage is the exact one of how comfortable I am in baraatis. 3 baraatis because that’s the number of recent mindless dancing trips from point A (bride’s home) to point B (the overpopulated mandap) I have been on to make sure nothing’s wrong with me. The trips/baraati reach the destination by dancing their way through the rest of the points including the bride’s stalker’s home, the groom’s crush’s lane, while deliberately avoiding the family money lender’s place. It’s all a well-calculated journey till the testosterone-alcohol high group barges in.
Awkwardness Level: 10%
The whole itinerary of spirit-infused dance and lecherous looks begin at this point. This is where everyone tries to be social, reminisce about the times when people were as pretentious as today without being on social media. I got introduced to an aunt on whom I crushed for the longest time. Yes, I was low-key Jon Snow when I was a child minus the good looks and the mystery regarding birth. In my defense, I was young and the aunty is a distant relative. Her relation to our family is so distant that even Pluto will be considered a neighbour. Confronting one of your crushes is the weirdest thing ever. I explain this in one of regular comedy routines (Pay and watch me perform this bit, please!!!). This socialising continues for some time and the gangs are segregated by age, gender, and all sorts of comfortable social barriers. Meanwhile, the DJ wale babu has arrived on his gigantic truck ready to blow the minds out. Wedding DJs are people who are “Unwanted 72” throughout the year, but the “Viagra” during the wedding-season, apparently the most popular season after summer, rain, winter, and break-up. At times I feel bad about being the only guy who is here because of formalities, but then I think about this certain DJ’s existence on this planet. By the time the truck wala DJ babu gets all decked up with his enormous list of supa-sexy (ist) songs, I am already looking towards the next phase of awkwardness.
Awkwardness Level: 20%
This phase of awkwardness is a rather eclectic mix of free alcohol, sexist jokes, and pointless uncontrolled rage. It starts with some friendly looking people offer a drink with the undertone of “you are doomed”. They make sure you are in for the party by saying things like, “Bhai ki shaadi hai! Itna to banta hai” or “2 peg se kuchh nahin hota!” First of all, why it is necessary for me to be drunk on my brother’s wedding! Secondly, if nothing happens in 2 pegs and you admit it, why the fuck offer me? I like to call myself an honest hypocrite. All I want to say is offer me the alcohol, but come up with a better reason like “A drink will make you feel less awkward”. Anyway, it’s not happening. The alcohol party starts off on a shady note in a place my conscience denies to go to. These friendly alcohol offerers have marked the black hole of drinking even before the mandap was decided. There’s always a “Don’t worry, I know it all” in the conversation. The drinking party won’t be a bad thing if people could just shut up and fuck off as soon as the bottle’s done. But, no! We are in a baraat. Keeping the mouth shut is a crime bigger than killing a man or a cow maybe! The drunken conversations start with “mera bhai” and duly end up with “let’s enjoy and dance” with a mid-way argument “kya ukhaad lega”. The jokes that are cracked during the Jolly Roger times will make demonetization look less funny and Akshay Kumar’s ‘Aap ko bajata hun’ less sexist. I envy my posh friends who have the liberty of drinking with their kins in parties. This is that moment I wish I could take a plane to all the posh places in the world, but then I realize I don’t have a beard or a plane or even a bird! The awkwardness level keeps rising as I am dragged to dance to the tunes of the oh-so-cool truck DJ while sipping away my last peg and it’s definitely not the 2nd one.
Awkwardness Level: 29%
We have now reached the extreme. All moves measured to not get caught drunk by the prying eyes of friendly aunties and uncles. This is the road most travelled. The DJ babu is spewing venom in ears in the form of a mix of Punjabi, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Odia songs. All the songs layered like our government’s agendas, starting off on a high note and delivering nothing. There is an eerie similarity between the DJ and our He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named PM. Much like the latter, the DJ makes sure there is a signature DJ Madhia intersecting the music sequence at regular intervals. In a mix of Ganesh Acharyas and Hegdes, I am pretty much along the lines of Sunny Deol. I had revised the 3 steps I know, but that’s all futile. The alcohol is kicking in and things are about to get scarier. Somehow, I manage to dodge the potholes and even detective aunt’s eyes, but there is no escaping from cousins whom you see once in two years. The prejudice that, I must be dancing after a drink like a hooligan is still there. I wish I can punch him in the face and say there is a reason I don’t talk to you, biatch. However, this doesn’t happen and I shake a leg (like literally) and then, slide stealthily to a corner where I drink to my heart’s content alone.
The awkwardness remains as it is until the end of the party, but now I have managed to work around it. Now, I know the escape routes and marked people too. I have mastered the art of sneaking that helps me find silence. Of all things in a marriage, one should never miss the food. From Biryanis to desserts, there is something for every palate. As I write this post, I am already late for another marriage ceremony. My tryst with marriages and awkwardness continues. Bubye, until the next post.