Odia wedding season is here and those who thought Odia wedding receptions are about designer wear, posh banquet halls and three course dinner buffets, Wake up! Authentic Odia receptions are in the Mandaps (Yes, you heard it right, Kalyan Mandaps). Here are a couple of pointers that make it different than the rest of the lot and more awesome, of course.
- The entrance gate resembles a page from your scrapbook bearing the names of the bride and the groom cut out from leftover thermocol pieces and dipped in glitter. The Odiya men do suit up when it comes to weddings and greet the guests at the gates and best friends take charge of organizing the entire affair. One can easily recognize the women of the house owing to their attire, the glittery sarees and jewelry, low cut blouses and the hairstyles different than the usual.
- The newlywed couple adorns the stage with plastered smiles, exchanging glances and whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears. The groom is dressed in his best three-piece suit or a traditional sherwani and the bride in exotic hues of red maroon and pink, looking her best. They are accompanied by giggling sisters who are busy numbering the presents and noting it in a diary.
- The menu has few mandatory items… Mansa jhola, potala rassa, amba khata,,ghanta,dahi bara, gup chup and machcha (the list is indicative not exhaustive).People shamelessly push through the crowd and break the queues for an extra piece of fish. There are usually two types of desserts, the deserted counter of Indian sweet (khira, malpua etc) and an overcrowded ice cream counter. The salad counter can be easily identified with ice sculptures and coin papads.
The parents gleam when people come to bless their kids from their ancestral villages. The elders narrate the childhood tales of the bride and the groom. The cousins keep guessing who will be the next one in the queue. The photographer suggests ridiculous poses to the newly-weds. The cameramen keeps hovering around you to capture that ridiculous moment when you open your mouth to chew that bone so that you look like a mini demon in that wedding video. The guests are busy rating the food and comparing it with other wedding menus. There are no expensive imported orchids and lilies but marigold flowers and mango leaves knotted together. The background music is from the time of slow romantic early nineties that seem very situational at the moment.
It is a place where smiles are genuine and the guests are happier than the newlyweds. It is where many other love stories begin. It is a reunion with near and dear ones. It is the launch pad of a new journey in which we take our culture along to pass on to the next generation. Truly said, it indeed is a celebration of love. With the badly and (funnily) edited bahaghara cd that follows, of course.
Contributed by: Amrita Mishra.
Amrita is a Saggitarian who loves traveling, reading books and watching Bollywood films. Born and brought up in Bhubaneswar, she has been working for Infosys Technologies for the last two years.