Us and Them, we are worlds apart.
They meet, date, make love, have kids, and then, after all the fun is over, think “hey, we might as well get married.” Jumbling up the order appeals to them. Or maybe they read too much of Stephen Covey.
For us, the jumbled storyline of their life is mind-bogglingly confusing. We admire them, but we will never emulate them. We will always follow the straight well-defined path.
They like to keep their proceedings simple, probably because their life is chaotic. They concentrate on the essence of the event, and while a lot of planning may go on behind the scenes, the final package looks well-executed. A ceremony at a church, a dinner and dance party. And they are done.
We find that approach boring. We pack in every emotion in our marriages, probably because our life is devoid of excitement otherwise. The tearful bidaai and the insanely boring reception (which was probably inspired from them) is as much as part of our marriage as the joy and hope of the couple, the good wishes and the smiles. And in the midst of fitting in so many things, we might not always plan everything ahead. We go with the flow, and use leftover sabzi of the wedding lunch to stuff into heart shaped cutlets for the reception dinner. And we pat ourselves for such cute innovations.
Their ceremonies don’t last long. In fact, the event is so short that they don’t mind doing it again in a few years. They call it ‘revival of vows’.
We conduct our marriages over days. The mood soars high, then plunges low, soars again, and once the roller coaster is over, some people are ecstatic while some of us are left pulling our hairs out. But even those who enjoy it are relieved that it is over. The long event ensures that we seldom go for our ‘revival of woes’.
Their ceremonies do have music, but it stays in the background, never interfering with the actual proceedings, but somehow still contributing to the overall effect.
We carve out special space for music, be it the sangeet of the north or the nelangu of the south. Even during the highlight of the proceedings, the sound of the “getti melam ketti melam” demands more of our attention than the guy tying himself in knots for life.
Even their proceedings are sort of blunt and direct. The minister asks “do you agree to stay together in sickness and in health, blah blah blah” and you simply answer “I do”.
We have a lot of symbolism. We need to tie a thread, walk around fire, gaze at imaginary stars in broad daylight, have yellow rice thrown on our heads yada yada. We even pretend to go on a pilgrimage sacrificing everything, even though each of the thousand guests gathered there knows we won't so much as cross the pandal. So much for our sense of suspense.
There, the guy remembers his life before the fateful event very well. He might become forgetful after the event and miss his wife’s birthday, but then, he was probably hit on his head. We can only guess.
Here, our guy loses his memory completely. He doesn’t remember that he was a beef eating, beer guzzling, bird watching leer. He also doesn’t remember his wife’s birthday, and he was probably hit on his head. We need not guess, since sacrificing our love for symbolism, we are shown a big scar on the head.
Probably that’s why they have a Memento. And we have a Ghajini.
PS1: I haven't attended many north indian weddings. So, most of the 'our marriage' references are from the Tam-Brahm ones. Don't accuse me of regional chauvinism.
PS2: Obviously, I have not attended a single 'their' marriage event. So, all my inferences are courtesy their movies and sitcoms. Don't accuse me of poor research.
PS3: I liked Memento. I don't know if I appreciated all the cinematic innovations and techniques, but I did like it. Don't accuse me of being a pattikadu when it comes to movies.
PS4: I loved Ghajini. For one and only one reasin. (and no, this is not an inadvertant typo. It is another of my infamous force-fitted puns). Don't accuse me of bad puns.
PS5: The fact that I saw Memento only recently, and the fact that every person who pings me online is either telling me that he/she is getting married, or is asking 'When are you getting married?' may have led to this stupid analogy of weddings and movies. Don't accuse me of silly analogies.
PS6: I had thought of a better title than this lame 'Us and Them'. But this post took me more than fifteen minutes to write, so... . Now, don't accuse me of using lame excuses.
PS7: The last post had only one unecessary PS. So, I am making up for it this time. You may accuse me of much pointless writing.