Knotty Vibeshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/knotty-vibes/

Knotty Vibes

Forget the bride,focus on what the mother of the groom is wearing.

Forget the bride,focus on what the mother of the groom is wearing.

My poor mother isn’t having it easy these days. My brother gets married in a few months and mum is doing the headless chicken act.

Understandably,there are a million things to do: plan a destination wedding (a colonial hill-top in Kashmir),invitations,menus,shopping and politely keep out an endless stream of relatives. But what’s really giving her sleepless nights is that she wants to wear her deceased mother’s original Patola,a geometric patterned woven sari that costs a few lakh rupees. It is now owned and adorned by her brother’s wife who wants to wear it too.

Mum is shattered. I offer to buy her anything she likes from Pallavi Jaikishan,a sari mogul whom we both adore,but she won’t hear any of it.

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This takes me back to a game my girlfriends and I used to play when we finished school. A friend’s older sister was getting married and the groom’s mother had the reputation of a battleaxe. We took bets to guess what she would wear: we were sure she would do her darnedest to upstage the bride,someone even wagered she would wear black for bad luck.

Of course we were a bunch of giggly politically-perverse teenagers. But each time I attend a wedding,I am reminded of this game and make a mental note of what the mother of the groom is wearing.

I sat glued to the telly for hours watching the royal wedding two years ago (as did everyone else,even those who claim they didn’t). I remember the BBC playing a mock guessing-game about Kate Middleton’s dress designer even though they so obviously knew. It was only when she stepped out of her limo,did they announce Sarah Burton’s name. By then everyone noted that Kate’s mother Carole Middleton and William’s step-mum Camilla had coordinated on a soft and beautiful duck egg hue,while the Queen looked simply delightful in a sunny yellow. Point: the Queen and Kate proved to be BFFs.

Christian weddings have their own protocol. It is customary for the mother of the bride to choose her dress first and inform the mother of the groom who then coordinates accordingly.

But this is India,where the MOG rules. Her son’s wedding day is the biggest day of her life,after her own wedding day. Ask my mum. Even though I had two weddings,as a MOB she was only required to show up and shut up.

Moreover,Indian weddings are usually marked by ostentation. Especially for Punjabis like us where simplicity is akin to a cuss word.

Can you actually judge the MOG’s happiness quotient by her wardrobe choices? Offensive as it may seem,I am seldom off the mark. If the MOG is blessing the union,she will show it loud and clear.

I’ve attended three weddings in the past four months,and made mental notes of the MOG’s saris. Each one was special,even slightly overdressed,and buzzed about like the belle of the ball (which she arguably is,the bride is often seated in one place smiling demurely).

Psychology suggests that a man’s relationship with his wife is often rooted in his relationship with his mother. This takes me back to a wedding I attended a year ago where the MOG wore a plain blue chiffon kurta with an ordinary pendant and drop-earrings. The marriage lasted six months.

namratanow@gmail.com