Why Indian weddings could never be celebrated over Zoom

Photo of a zoom window on a computer in front of a wedding photo
David McAllister/Staff

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Over the past couple of months, social media has been full of pictures and funny anecdotes from Zoom weddings, engagement parties and wedding receptions in the United States. It’s understandable; after all, how long can you delay your wedding due to the pandemic, which seems to have no end in sight yet?

In my extended South Indian family, many weddings scheduled this year are postponed indefinitely. But unlike weddings in the United States, our South Indian weddings could never be held via video conferencing. Why, you may ask. Well, for starters, my extended family would win the first prize in a competition for talking over each other. Every family Zoom call over the past couple of months has been just 30 people talking all at once and nobody understanding what anyone is saying. Now imagine a Zoom wedding with more than 500 guests.

On that note, a Zoom call would never be able to handle the size of Indian weddings. Everyone is invited: the waiter from your favorite restaurant, the tailor who stitched the wedding clothes, the friends of your friends of your friends and everyone in your neighborhood, irrespective of whether you know them. It’s no wonder that it’s so easy to gate-crash an Indian wedding. If anyone from the groom’s side asks, you’re a friend of the bride and vice versa. No one would suspect a thing.

Now, I don’t know much about weddings in the United States, but wedding food in India is to die for. The most anticipated part of any wedding is the rich, delicious, heavy food for three to four days, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Expectations are sky-high when it comes to the food — shortcomings in any other aspect are acceptable, but not with the food. How are we to enjoy the best part of an Indian wedding if it is on Zoom?

And, last but not least, the most important reason: My grannies and aunts would never be able to gossip on a Zoom call! Normally, within a few minutes after the start of the event, you’d find that the neatly arranged rows of chairs are haphazard and instead organized in circles, as per cliques. Within these little groups, after exchanging niceties and showing off their respective sarees (traditional Indian clothing), all of my grandmom’s sisters would excitedly whisper about the bride, her outfits and whether they match her complexion or if her jewels look exquisite enough. If it’s a Zoom wedding instead, the most fun part would unfortunately be lost.

Generally, a wedding is considered one of the most important events in one’s life. Forget investing in higher education; Indian families start saving money for the extravagant wedding the day the child is born. Oh, and if you are (un)lucky enough to be blessed with a girl, close the college fund and open a marriage fund instead. It’s a societal expectation that you throw the grandest wedding possible. So what if your finances are stretched? At least you’re in the neighbor’s good books. So if you decide to have a wedding over Zoom, you will never be free from the whispers that will follow you everywhere, echoing that you planned a cheap wedding.

All jokes aside, I really enjoy attending family weddings, and they’re great opportunities to meet all the relatives at once. They bring everyone living in different parts of the world under the same roof for a couple of days filled with unparalleled fun. They just wouldn’t be the same over Zoom.

This is a satirical article written purely for entertainment purposes.

Contact Nandita Radhakrishnan at [email protected].