Mother Of The Bride

And on the day of marriage we discovered on entering the venue, that my daughter's MIL was wearing the EXACTLY same saree. Same colour, same design.

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Who do you think is the most important person in a marriage?

The bride and the groom? Or the groom’s parents? Or the priest who marries the two? Or the invitees?

I used to think it was one or all of these. But when my daughter’s marriage was finalized and the date was fixed and the hall was booked and the invitations were printed and the first invitation given to God, I became aware that the most important person in any marriage is the bride’s mother and that means ME.

Or so it was, according to my sisters in law and sister. Because as soon as everything mentioned above was fixed and informed, they descended on me. My brother’s wife, my husband’s sister, my brother in law’s (husband’s brother) wife and my sister.

“Now” said my SIL. “What are you going to wear?”

“First let us make a list of the functions,” said the experienced SIL.

The daughter who was watching the proceedings gleefully was dispatched to procure paper and pen.

So they listed the programs. Kulachar, Mehendi, Sangeet, Engagement, Marriage, Reception.

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“So you will need to have least 10 new sarees,” said the generous SIL who liked to expand the numbers a bit.

“10 sarees for 6 functions?” I managed to croak.

“Yes. You will need to change every time the bride does.”

“But why should I buy new sarees? The ones I have are rarely worn and they are nice. The blue one I wore in my marriage still looks new. Then the one which was given to me for Diwali was worn only once.”

“You can’t wear old sarees at your daughter’s marriage!” said the generous one sounding scandalized.

“You can use those sarees for some function, but for marriage ceremony you should wear a new one,” said the sensible SIL who was quiet till now.

“And if you don’t get new sarees for yourself, how can we get new sarees for us?” Said my sister who loves to buy and wear sarees.

“You buy in my name and wear them,” I said, irritated and not afraid to show it as she was my sister. (I had to be polite to my SILs!)

“And please wear nice designer blouses with mirrors and latkan and…” said one SIL. At the storm gathering on my face the sensible SIL interrupted, “Get the blouse stitched. My tailor stitches blouses with latest design.”

“Yes. My tailor does too!” quipped the other SIL not wanting to be left behind.

“But the stretchable blouses are sooo comfortable.” I said and was collectively ignored by all.

“So for the actual marriage function let us buy a Paithani,” the generous one said.

“I don’t like Paithani. And they are very costly. I don’t want to spend money buying a saree which I will wear only once.”

“But you have to wear a saree which looks functional.”

“And if you don’t want to buy a Paithani you can wear mine.”

“Yes even my Paithani is lovely. Such a different combination.”

So for 6 functions, I was supposed to buy 10 sarees and wear borrowed sarees too.

“So I can wear your old sarees but not mine? How is this justified?” I asked.

In the end we had a truce where I agreed to buy 2 sarees and they agreed to let me wear my old sarees (which they selected).

Of course the sarees which we bought took time because they had to fulfill all the criteria : should be within my budget, should not be too simple, should not be too designer, should not be too heavy, should be easy to wear and most important I should like it. Surprisingly we selected the saree which fulfilled all the above criteria within 15 min of entering the shop.

And on the day of the wedding we discovered on entering the venue, that my daughter’s MIL was wearing EXACTLY the same saree. Same colour, same design.

Luckily she took it sportingly and we posed for a picture together and the guests had a gala time finding out 6 differences between the two sarees.

But that was later.

So in the end my SILs and sister finalized my sarees and heaved a sigh and said, now we can plan our sarees.

So that ordeal ended.

But still I was to face more. Because now my school friends descended on me. It was as if they were waiting for an opportunity. See, I like to live simply and comfortably. I don’t care about appearances. And I don’t mind if people dress up and shine and shimmer. I do what I want. Now they wanted me to be ‘normal’ like them.

And my daughter and nieces watched with unholy glee.

“You have to dress up. Wear jewellery. Do hairstyle. Put on make-up. I will send you the number of my beautician. She does very good make up. Very subtle.”

“Yes my beautician is also good. I know you don’t like make up. I am like you. But my beautician did it nicely. You remember how I looked during my daughter’s marriage?”

“No.” I said. “I was looking at your daughter.”

“And put mehendi too. On both hands on both sides.”

“But then how can I do work?”

“You are not supposed to work. You should only sit and issue orders.”

“I don’t like make up or mehendi!” I said plaintively.

“You must have done it in your marriage.”

“No. Actually we had gone to get it done but my sister and cousin were getting their makeup done first, and then suddenly they remembered that I was getting married so hurriedly some makeup was put on me.”

“And maushi was telling us that Mumma was asking to remove most of it!” said my daughter.

So finally I agreed to whatever they said, knowing that at the time of doing all this, they were not going to be there to see if I obeyed them or not.

***

And if you think it ended there, let me tell you that when I, all dressed up with hair style and make up and jewellery sat there for the rituals to start, the priest whispered to my SIL, “Ask the mother of the bride to wear a gajra in her hair.”

I tell you! Mother of the bride is the most important person in a marriage!

Image source: YouTube/ still from Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani

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