Shaadi (My Big Fat Hindu Wedding)

I’ve had enough of weddings for one week, and I’m not talking about the royal one. Last weekend I ended up going to my first Indian wedding. My friend had invited me as a +1 to a wedding reception and I was delighted. Sorry to be platitudinous but I do love a good wedding, as I’m sure most women do; the romance, the speeches but if I’m honest- mostly the food. My fleeting excitement was quickly replaced with grave concern when my friend told me that it was an Asian wedding. And by Asian, I mean Indian, and by Indian I mean ‘sari time’. I never thought I’d see the day when I wore a sari; I’ve never wanted to and I’ve never needed to. I guess my time had finally come.

My friend planned to pick me up at 5:30pm. I pushed that back to 5:45pm when I realized that I didn’t have a bindi and attempted (unsuccessfully) to paint one on with red lipstick…and wipe the dot straight off. Don’t try this at home. My aim was to look as authentically Indian as possible, but even after ironing out my ‘fro, kholing my eyes and arranging my bangles I looked like a fraudster taking the piss. By the time my friend arrived I still hadn’t pleated my sari and was frenziedly chonging on my beloved shisha pipe like a crack fiend. I was stressed out. After five attempts with four metres of fabric and three safety pins I though it best to leave it until my friend came. I figured two pairs of hands were better than one. I figured wrong. 20 minutes and another 5 failed attempts we called his sister for help to no avail. Getting desperate I shuffled to my laptop and Googled ‘how to wear a sari,’ but I couldn’t even follow the instructions without pricking myself with a safety pin. I was getting cranky and my friend was fretting about how late we were going to be. As a last resort he called his mother and told her we were driving round so she could fix my sari. Problem solved.

In my dithering I didn’t even realize the car parked in my drive. My friend had turned up in an Aston Martin Vantage. Swanky. The car was so low I opened the door but could barely bend down to get in. The fabric was so stiff, I felt arthritic; like I’d been wrapped in paper mache and left to dry.  Squat > sit > swivel > shuffle and I’d managed to get myself in the passenger seat; ungraceful but successful. Inside the car was pokey, much like a cockpit in a rocket, and the moulded seats lovingly cupped my ample behind. I don’t want to go all Jeremy Clarkson on you, but for the price (at first glance) the car seemed simplistic. Where were the 007 gadgets I thought as we sped off.  I clicked and poked every button like a kid and within minutes I’d found a Lamy pen, a hidden inbuilt sat nav and an ipod dock. Touch. I took the liberty to scroll through my ipod and search for Rick Ross ft Drake- Aston Martin music. Cliché I know but I was now revelling in the Aston Martin experience…and I love Drake.

On our way to his mum’s house we passed a broken down vehicle on the side of the road. Coincidently, the lady who had stepped out the car was wearing a sari. I wanted to pull over, jump out, ask her to fix my sari, give thanks and speed off. But on second thought that may have been a bit of a piss take. We continued on to his mum’s house where it took all of two minutes for her to pleat, pin and tuck my sari. I stood there like a manikin while she dressed me like a merchandiser. My friend was panicking (for no reason) about being late so as soon as I was ‘fixed’ we hopped back in the car and sped off to the wedding. I felt like I was in a simulator. I think it had more to do with my friend’s crap driving than the actual gearbox but every time he shifted gears it felt like I was being propelled forward, my face looking like it had gone through a wind tunnel. I should’ve driven- we would have been there a lot quicker put it that way.

I was right, I should’ve driven. We were an hour late for the reception and hurriedly made our way inside. I say ‘hurried’ but for me it was more of a frantic waddle. The hall was ornately decked out in white, black and blue. Unsurprisingly everyone was Asian but me; I’ve never felt so out of place in my life. Bursting through the door after everyone had been seated didn’t help either, it only drew more attention. Everyone turned and looked at us as we edged between the tables finding our seats. The next thing I had to worry about was the food. I have to say I’m partial to a bit of chicken korma or even at a stretch some tikka masala, but if you’re going to get spicier than that- warn me. The trouble was I couldn’t even read the set menu, it was in Indian. It was going to be a case of trial and error. I made sure I had my water ready, but that wasn’t enough. I needed alcohol; my next problem. Evidently, it being an Asian wedding there wasn’t much on offer. If you wanted alcohol you had to make your way to the bar area. It felt like I was walking to the naughty corner as I stood up to go and get my fill. As I discreetly made my way over to the bar, I felt a tug on my sari and turned around...and wanted the ground to swallow me whole. My sari had snagged the side of a chair and had come undone. It was trailing 5 metres behind me along the floor, showcasing my podgy love handles. If it was an Arab wedding I could’ve styled it out and started belly dancing. Instead I quickly scooped up the fabric, scooted to the bar, ordered a double rum and coke and cowered for a good 10 minutes watching the wedding couples first dance from afar. I ordered two more doubles, tucked my sari in my skirt and made my way sheepishly back to my seat.

Copious amounts of food covered the table in a buffet format. Even by my greedy standards this was too much and I didn’t even know where to start. As everyone helped themselves to different dishes I played it safe and grabbed a samosa and some naan bread. One bite of my samosa and I’d made a terrible mistake. My mouth burned fire and I grabbed my rum and coke. I started to splutter and yet again had gained more unwanted attention. The lady next to me stared with a blank expression and offered me a fresh napkin. Round two and I went for a meat dish. Jackpot! Mild buttered chicken. I stuck with that. As I carried on eating with caution, the bhangra music grew louder and louder reaching an earth shattering crescendo. Within minutes guests had flocked the dancefloor and were shimmying from side to side. I didn’t get it. I couldn’t even walk properly in my gear, let alone dance. If this was a Jamaican wedding it would’ve been a different story I thought. I’d be eating jerk chicken, wearing hotpants and doing the dutty wine. Instead my mouth was on fire, my sari was itching and I was patting the dog and screwing the lightbulb.

My issues aside, the wedding was a success. A celebration of two people genuinely being in love can never really be bad. The atmosphere was good, the speeches were heartfelt and the cake was delicious.

I haven’t planned my wedding, but after Kate and Will’s shindig I’ll have to step my game up. Not that I’d ever have the money, the fame or the public interest to compete. But I’d sure love a gesture like this:

Wrapping your building as a wedding present? What a novel idea! Maybe I could get myself one of those.