I walked into office today. And on my table was a colleague's wedding card invite and a box of sweets. The first sign of an opulent north Indian wedding, where the invites come with sweets of all sizes, shapes and colours. Sweets mean good luck and good wishes. The wedding season is on, but so is the silly Xmas season, says Lozza. Plenty of calories to count. But I am in a quandary. I don't know what to wear in this cold.

On my way to a friend's place after work, I was hauled up in traffic. It wasn not the usual mad rush but wedding processions. First the men with the drums beating the loudest to the tune of Bollywood hits, followed by men in suits dancing completely out of tune, then the decked up women sparkling with jems and jewellry and colourful saris and walking as if their feets were chained, and finally the groom with his flowered headgear covering his face and sitting on the already lazy and reluctant pony. All moving at a snail's pace, trying the patience of impatient drivers like me.

My colleague says he will sit on a chariot. I thought he was joking! Have I seen one? Not in recent memory can I recall, but this one I don't think I will miss. Another friend whose brother is getting married is having an elaborate affair. She says he is the only son in the family and so her parents have not left any stone unturned to make this one stand out. There is a Mehendi raat with Kashmiri songs and dance, the main wedding of course and a big reception. And I have been specially invited to the two days when non-vegetarian food is on the menu. Otherwise most Hindu weddings offer only vegetarian fare. It's a sacred day and you don't want to incur the wrath of the Gods.

Now I know why most weddings have men standing outside their cars as if they have been banned from the wedding premises. It's sneaking sips of smuggled liquor. The thrill of indulging in the forbidden act. Liquor like non-vegetarian foods is offensive to the Gods on such auspicious days. Unfortunately, it's only men who get away with such indulgence here. As for the bride, even if she later finds out she has married a bastard, people advice her to stick to him now that they are married. They ask her to repose faith in the marriage because it is up to her how she moulds him as a wife. If, after a few years, he still is the same, it could be because they married on an ominous or inauspicious day or because she wasn't taught the skills of being a good wife at home. This is what makes Indian marriages so memorable.

And oh, a friend just said in times of such financial crisis as the current one, women are now marrying for love!

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