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‘Monsoon Wedding’

April 17, 2012

This Mira Nair film was recommended to me surprisingly by one of my Facebook friends who I play games with regularly.

Like most other pictures i see at home, i have seen this one too in bits and pieces in various channels. Because Giz persisited, last 2 days i have been watching it in you-tube.

The story revolves around a big fat punjabi wedding in Delhi that Giz assumes is the way all Indian weddings take place. I had to explain it to her that each and every state in India is different and down south, we don’t even have ‘bharaat’ which we stopped some 30 years back. Even from my childhood i remember bharaats only in opentopped cars – never in horses.

Morever not everyone in India lives life king size the way punjabis do. Director Mira Nair nicely puts through the fact in the scene where the bridegroom’s car gets decorated in marigolds in an old delhi slum by semi clad urchins.

What is endearing most about this picture is the innocent and pure love of Alice, the housemaid of this upper middleclass family who dreams of slipping into her memsa’ab’s shoes. Her romance and eventual tying the knot with PK Dubey, the event organizer is the real monsoon wedding. The director’s touch lies in naming dreamy simple servant as ‘Alice’ who is just like ‘Alice in Wonderland.’

While watching the Alice scenes you know, i was thinking of my own part-time housemaid. She is with me for last 8 years or so. Hardly 28 but mother of 2 kids in highschool already.

She is very decent, yet in all these years i have taken utmost care never to dress up much in front of her or show off material comforts. In fact, I cringe facing my new home – in front of her.

She has accompanied me a couple of times to my old/new home and she is commuting by bus from our street to my current place just to work for me. I saw her eyes widen at our newly done apartment.  I am not rich – only middle-class, still my home is still too much for my humble, poor housemaid, something unattainable, unthinkable.    She took in everything that day and her face saddened for a few seconds…. but in that brief  one second or so, i saw in her, all hopelessness and despair of a lifetime, a very harsh one at that.  She was quick to regain her composure though. But in those few moments i saw in her face, a sense of disillusionment and hopelessness – a realization how she would never belong to the world i do. Really made me sad.

I felt the same thing about Alice who knows her place in the picture. Its a cruel, cruel world, otherwise why should such a gulf of distance exist between peoples?

Hats off to Mira Nair who remembers the lesser fortunate always; after all she is the director of ‘Salaam Bombay’ that am planning to see next.

AS for the picture: its just another one, Giz probably likes it for the emotional content; i again told her, in this one respect entire India is like this: over-emotional, hyper-sensitive like i am!

Giz says mysticism, romance and spirituality draw westerners to India. Well that’s something i can never, never understand.

The picture also underscores how much importance our families place on family weddings.

  1. Julie permalink

    You and I have something in common there. We don’t enjoy a sense of self-importance around unfortunate people. Rather we feel sadness for them and wish we could change their world.

    • Thanks Julie, i guess that’s why we are friends. Many don’t seem to realize, its by virtue of birth alone we/they are doing better than others. Its just that we are born with a better ‘karma’ – if i can put it that way.

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