Father of the Bride

Father of the Bride

The Father of the Bride is a funny movie in which Steve Martin plays the title role to perfection. He finds himself on the fringes of the wedding preparation, generally ignored by the bride-to-be daughter, the wife and the various vendors in their enthusiasm and frenzy of activity. He watches the to-do from the sidelines. He is left out of the planning, feels lonely, waits for the time when the family will have the time, and keeps paying  the bills. In one tender scene, on the night before the wedding, father and daughter shoot some baskets in their courtyard as the girl wishes to relive one of the precious moments of her childhood home and freeze it in memory.

An acute bout of melancholia inflicts itself after a daughter’s wedding. A Gujarati poet who wrote under the pseudo name of “Daad”, in his poem named “કાળજા કેરો કટકો ગાંઠ થી છૂટી ગ્યો”  (“kaaljaa kero katko, gaanth thi chhoti gyo” – Part of my heart snatched from of my soul), says, “લૂંટાઈ ગ્યો મારો લાઙ ખજાનો, અને ‘દાદ’ હુ જોતો રહ્યો” (“lootai gyo maaro laad khajano, aney Daad hu joto hryo” – I was robbed of my dear treasure, and Daad, I could just watch). In a line from the poem, he says that when the bride crosses the doorstep of her house, she finds “ઙૂંગ્રા જેવો ઉંબરો” (“doongra jevo oombro” – crossing the doorstep is like climbing a mountain). The poem ends with the father surveying the wedding shamiana, which was bursting with people and activity, now empty, calls it “હું તો સૂનો માંઙવઙો“  (“hu to soono maandavdo” – I am like this lonely wedding mandap). http://tahuko.com/?p=587

There are 3 defining moments and enduring images from the wedding that are permanently etched in the mind can be replayed all through life:

  • The first, when the girl steps out of the parents house (which the poet Daad calls the mountain-like doorstep);
  • The second, when the bride enters the mandap, looking like a fairy, shimmering as she walks towards her waiting father and the groom, perhaps the longest journey of her life;
  • The third, when the bride and groom, now husband and wife, walk off from the mandap, while all along the aisle, family, relatives and friends bid a tearful farewell.

Back in the house after the wedding, the guests have gone back to their homes; the decorations cheer for no one, like a guest at an event where no one has turned up; the shelves and drawers that the girl has emptied stare accusingly; the decorative lights are off, tomorrow they will be brought down; hired staff will be retired, and family will resume professional and routine activity.

Isn’t it remarkable that preparations leading to a much-awaited event take 3 months, while it takes just 3 days after the event to relegate it to history?

I go to my piano and play “… bring back, oh bring back, oh bring back my bonnie to me”.