Marriage and the Loud Band- an Indian Wedding

Whenever I go to an Indian wedding, I remember an old Hindi song from a film called “Yadon ki Baarat”, that was always played by the local glitzy wedding band in my childhood, “Kya huan tera vada.” Loosely translated in English it means, “What happened to your promise?” But, that’s cynical….young love is beautiful to watch.

Today I went to a cross-cultural Indian wedding, the groom was Marwari, and the bride Parsi. They were a good looking, young couple in love. It was nicely mixed up, it had the local glitzy band, the government marriage registrar, exchange of garlands and rings and a “you may now kiss the bride.” Nice!

The wedding time was supposed to be 12.15 in the afternoon. But, the “baaraat” or the wedding party left from the house, which was precisely a 5 minute walk from the venue of the wedding, at 12 noon, so the entire schedule went haywire. It took them one and a half hours to cover this tiny distance. On the way, the “baaraatis” or the grooms family and friends danced to the tune of tinny, happy sounding band, under the blazing hot sun. This is one of the busiest roads of the city, in one the most hip areas

Now I come from a Bengali background, and my own wedding was a staid affair – no “band baja” fellows with their clarinets and drums. As a young woman, I would have been embarrassed being seen with a brassy band like this, but now it was fascinating. People dancing across the streets with the wedding bands are a common enough thing here, for the first time I danced with one, and it was fun.

The band to say the least was loud, and out of tune. Their favorite tune was an ancient hit called “An evening in Paris,” They also played some other stuff, including a slightly unrecognizable version from a newer film called “Salam-e-ishk.” Its only when they played the main chorus did I recognize it. The women and the men danced, the father and the mother of the groom, his brother, cousins, their wives, friends and your truly too. I must add there were gorgeous, well toned, woman dancing most beautifully, though the men boisterously dominated the scene. Even the groom joined us after a while, there’s nothing like dancing before getting married, is there?

These wedding band musicians were malnourished and poverty stricken, so for them playing loudly for over an hour can be taxing. To keep them going money was flashed by the brothers of the groom. For the band guys it was big money, they would eye the mullah and play a little louder. The tunes would get tuneful while the drummer set up quite a beat. Live music in any form is great, so everyone would dance wildly. As soon as they would fall a little flat again, the money was flashed, and the band would perk up and get going.

A blind beggar came towards us celebrators and tapped his stick hard. To shoo him off and perhaps to get a minuscule blessing, he was quickly given some money. Everybody looked at us; though most cursed us for the traffic jam we had caused with our exuberance. Everybody was happy at this moment, especially the groom-no trepidations in his heart.

The wedding venue was a five star hotel, which would not allow such a riff-raff band in its lobby. Just before entering this elegant place, the band raised up the volumes as more spare cash floated their way. Finally, the scratchy clarinet shut up and the drummer shook up quite a beat. Everyone did their most inelegant steps, before they got in to a more formal place.

Then the band stopped, much to my regret. This was a big wedding, and I hope they made good money. Cheers to them!

While I was watching the general merriment of this wedding, I just hoped that this young couple would stay forever in love, and don’t fall prey to cynicism that life brings with it. We are creatures who are perhaps not meant to be alone…may the joy of the band live with them forever.

By: Shyama Dutta

About the Author:

Shyama Dutta has been a writer for over 14 years. She has worked in many mediums and types of specialized writing. These include training for BPO content, Computer Based Training content, Scriptwriting for VCD’s for children, education CD ROMS, Advertising copywriting, scriptwriting for corporations and more. To know more about me visit