Saturday, 23 August 2014

For Here Comes the Bridezilla

Now that the retrograde celestial bodies are about to  reconfigure  according to the Hindu almanac, the times are once again  auspicious for formation of conjugal ties . And with that large hoardings announcing the latest fashion extravaganza for brides crop up all over the city telling us that the season for weddings is almost upon us . Mahurats may come and go , but no matter which the community and who the groom, each big fat Indian wedding is first and foremost about designer dresses for the bride and the groom, and at the heart of that sits the darling of fashion designers, a larger- than- life bride who will be calling the shots for all the festivities . 
In America where like so much else the phenomena had hit the coast decades ago , the Boston Globe had coined a term to describe it : Bridezilla . A Bridezilla was described as a woman who may have overlooked how she may have little control over her life , but would always be dreaming of a perfect wedding for herself .
For the Indian Bridezilla the time finally arrives when a Pandit has matched the horoscopes after the advertisement inserted for a ‘suitable’ groom yielded a bunch of those, and procured a suitable boy for her. The doting parents suddenly relax and feel expansive enough to dole out all the required resources for creating a suitable trussau . Helped also perhaps by an independent income , the Bridezilla begins building her own wedding empire by attending the "bridal shows" and hires the best professionals , fashion designers , wedding planners and make up artists that money can buy . Not for her those awkward dresses stitched by the neighbourhood Master ji ever mindful of not offending the family elders , or unending rituals led domineering aunts and grand aunts with their numerous progeny . Nor will she tolerate unprofessional bouts of singing and dancing that involve gangly cousins , balding uncles and fat aunts gyrating like mechanical toys at her wedding Sangit . She certainly wants all the traditional rituals that make an Indian wedding so photogenic and quaint , but she demands her wedding videos and u tube clips be perfect and that necessitates objective and meticulous planning of the kind even the most closely knit Indian family is incapable of . Our Desi bridezilla remains a matriarch who loves the colourful romance patriarchy had spun around mating over centuries . She is coy but assertive , socially ambitious to the point of being a snob , and well versed in her conjugal and property rights both as a daughter and  a wife.
Interesting questions arise : which is the living core for clever marketeers to spin expensive illusions for Bridezillas from Mumbai to Manhattan , Delhi to Dubai , Jaipur to Jo’berg ? Two : who first spotted the core and then began putting together the story and successfully coaxed hundreds of Bridezillas in the waiting arms of a multi million Rupee/Dollar/Euro/Pound wedding industry ? 
First to spot the promise were a few smart male fashion designers who now have their successful franchises running all over . Many of them actually loath the natural feminity of the heavy busted wide hipped Indian female and seek to curb , starve , restrict and drape it from head to toe in inconceivably tortuous ways to make her look like Plath's " ice lollies on silver sticks .” Then the pursuasive wedding planners are brought in, frequently recommended by the very same designers. All charge hefty fees and all are funded liberally by publicity hungry parents to whom their daughter’s wedding is yet another announcement to the world of their having arrived .

In the wedding industry the post Sushmita Sen explosion of high fashion in India has finally found an unending , ever thriving and lucrative circuit in India . Each year there are several fashion events mounted just before the wedding season around bridal themes . And afternoon TV shows reveal how they all set to work upon a young woman . They begin with her skin and then move on to her body and her teeth straightening out everything till she gleams and is transformed from an insecure giggly girl to an assertive Bridzilla . Ironically, autonomy in most matters (ranging from  the wedding venue , the décor , the menu , the dresses and jewellery and even the dances and music they are set to ) comes to be exercised , by one who is going to be belittled and mocked the most by the wedding rituals that follow . 


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