There is an age-old adage about marriage being a union of not just two people but of two families. And even though we live in an era of hook up apps, speed dating and social media stalking, there is something reassuring and endearing when couples still seek parental consent before tying the knot. Proving once again that some aspects of human behaviour cannot and should not change with the times.
In the days past, relationships did not move at warp speed fuelling the need for emotional intimacy much like a caffeine delivery system to jolt the body and mind into alertness. Families pondered over the consequences of their children’s marriages armed with horoscopes, astrologers, matchmakers and friendly neighbourhood gossip about the intended in question. Otherwise known as the infamous ARRANGED MARRIAGE. When intimacy was never discussed openly and curious teenagers learned about the birds and the bees through dirty jokes and whispered incognito conversations, Indian elders in an effort to ease the anxiety of newly married couples invented Indian wedding games.
Indian wedding games were designed to ease the couple into each other’s company with a little bit of teasing and a whole lot of laughter from both families. While the modern couple may not necessarily need any easing in, Indian wedding games are still a much loved and enjoyable wedding ritual that work like a charm in bringing people together. Albeit at the risk of thoroughly embarrassing the couple but a few blushing cheeks never hurt anyone.
A classic ‘who will wear the trousers in the family’ Indian wedding game. The couple is asked to take off their wedding rings and drop them in a large bowl of clear water. Once the rings settle at the bottom of the bowl both of them are required to churn the water vigorously with their hands and then stop. All eyes are on the clear water, as the ring that settles down last at the bottom of the bowl will belong to the docile one in the marriage.
As an added twist to this Indian wedding game, the couple may take off their wedding rings in a bowl filled with a mixture of water, milk and rose petals. They proceed to ‘fish’ out their own ring from the bowl and the one who finds their ring first is declared the winner and consequent dominant partner in the relationship.
Another Indian wedding game that is aimed at predicting the compatibility of the future man and wife is knotted strings. They are handed a knotted string that is to be unravelled with only one hand. The time taken to open up the knots together is an indicator of the couple’s endurance and ability to handle hurdles in life.
An Indian wedding game that is pure unadulterated entertainment for the audience. The couple is made to sit with their backs to each other and a pillow in the middle. The audience then grills them for yes or no answers to questions that range from mildly funny to downright laugh-riot inducing, while the couple can only shake their heads in response. The hilarity arises from the fact that the couple is unable to see each other’s responses as they are asked questions such as: ‘Will you dominate over him or her?’, ‘Will you put up with his or her crazy demands?’, ‘Will you trick him or her to win an argument?’ and so on.
This Indian wedding game requires some very enthusiastic female participants from the bride’s family. A sari is contorted into several round slots that are wide enough to allow for hands to pass through them. Another thick sari is then held lengthwise to hide the participants and the bride, as only their hands are visible to the groom who has to identify his ladylove’s hands in three chances. In a bid to confuse the groom even further, the other ladies selected to participate are usually the ones whose hands bear a striking resemblance to the bride’s hands. Selecting the wrong pair of hands attracts a ‘fine’ that is exacted from the groom before his is allowed to reunite with his bride.