Our five years old twin daughters, O +ve and B +ve, attended a wedding last month at Chennai. The kids were excited about the travel, meeting new people – fellow kids and relatives, attending the wedding, the ceremonies and what all and whatnot. We are not sure what excited them the most. Though, does it matter when it comes to Indian Wedding?
It was an experience for the girls – the wedding and the paraphernalia. I am sure they learnt a few lessons from their interactions and the happenings around them.
The kids learnt to nod to all the relatives who asked if the girls remembered them, when they met earlier, when they were in their nappies.
The kids learnt to get their cheeks, their head, their back patted from various directions by dotting relatives. At times, simultaneously.
The girls were bombarded with the same question – Which school do you go to, by all and sundry. The girls beamed and answered to all that they do not go to any because they are young children.
Getting hold of two chairs is a pain for us in any of the buffets we have gone till now. How does one expect to feed children standing all the time?
Here, it was a pleasant surprise. The breakfast and dinner were served on a banana leaf. Now, one cannot stand and hold a banana leaf with food inside. So, we had tables and chairs. The girls learnt to have their food in banana leaves.
Our children have a mix of Telugu and Gujarati food. In this wedding, the girls learnt to have loads of Tamil pickles, podi, curry and a different taste to rasam and sambhar.
More importantly, the girls fed themselves for all the meals, without a fuss. Not sure, what clicked. The banana leaves, the Tamil food, the people sitting around them; whatever.
The girls learnt to put on 3 different dresses in a day, with all the paraphernalia for their ears, neck, hands, legs. Kudos to their mother for the patience she has in changing 6 pairs through the day.
The girls tried out various colour combinations and they went on and on. I felt blessed that I cannot identify any colours other than primary colours.
Trying to put clothes to the age-group of 3-6-year-olds, which they are not used to, is one crazy exercise. They drive us nuts with their antics and tantrums, and this was no different. They learnt to add new tricks to their armoury in this dressing up and dressing down episodes.
In the earlier marriages that we attended, we went around the food time and never noticed it. However, this time when we were present for two full days for all the ceremonies, it was starkly visible. With two hyperactive kids, we had to bear the maximum brunt of it.
Our daughters learnt and we also learnt that there are hardly any children around in Indian weddings. Gone long are the days when the kids would be running around in the wedding ceremonies and creating a ruckus. Few of them turned up during meal times, but that is it. Our daughters did not find any play-mates for them, that we promised before the travel.
Wonder where the children have gone to vanish from the scenes of the Indian wedding?
We had told the girls that marriage is a ceremony. Now, the ever-inquisitive five years olds wanted to know – When/How/What is the ceremony? There are a few things that we learn only when we experience it first-hand. This was one of it.
We had no answers to satisfy the curiosity of young minds. They wanted to know what was happening and why it was happening. I realized that I was clueless about their queries. I also realized that there was no way in which I could answer their questions. Apart from the priest, who would have known what was going on, I do not think there was an informed soul around.
As the girls kept asking – Is the ceremony over during both the days, their initiation to dumbing down the curiosity about the religious ceremonies had started.
The parents’ perspective
Attending an Indian Wedding is an important part of the child’s learning and growing up process. They get used to the attack on the sensory organs – eyes (bright lighting), ears (deafening music), nose (strong perfumes), skin (pinch and pat) and get only chocolates for their taste buds.
The arrangement for Indian weddings hardly leaves any space, time and resources for children to do what they do – play or try and involve them in the proceedings.
Indian weddings ensure that the child’s journey to the impending adulthood gets initiated at the earliest.