Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"We had a lot of fun in my sister's marriage!" ...Really?

We Indians seem to have some problem differentiating between the words "marriage and "wedding". I have always wondered why. Is the word for the two in Hindi the same? Shadi? Someone needs to explain this to me.

Many years ago, a very good friend of mine, Anand, was narrating the story of his wedding day to our American customers. We were having lunch in a fine restaurant in Naperville, near Chicago. He explained the entire ceremony, which had lasted 2-3 days, and finally said "When the marriage was over, all the relatives finally went home". There was a stunned silence, and then a voice piped in "You mean after the wedding was over?".

Only then it dawned on me what his sentence had meant to all of them. A wedding being over is the end of the ceremony, but a marriage getting over is a divorce! To my Indian ears, his sentence had sounded OK, but to American ears, the difference was stark!

Marriage is the long term relationship between two people. You can't attend it, or at least you should not! Give the couple some privacy please! Sure, go attend the wedding- dance, eat, and get drunk if you want. 

Why did I remember this story today? Well, because today I saw a Facebook update/photos from a school friend. It said "My Brother's Marriage- A Few Moments".



  1. The other day at a relatives prayer meeting, the same Pandit was the master of ceromony who got us married. When my wife said to him..."Panditji, aapko yaad hai, 22 saal pahlay aapnay hamaree shadee karvai thee!"

    The Pandit replied with a straight face .."Ho hee naheen sakta, mein Shadee naheen karvata"

    "Array, aap shayad bhool gayay - Apnay hee humaree shadee karvai thee" said Manjari once again.

    The Pandit gave me a naughty smile and said
    "Mein sirf Vyavah karvata hoon, Shadee naheen!!"

    I am still trying to google diff between Shadee and Vyavah and all I get is Shade and Color :p

  2. LOL! Must find that out. Is it Vivah or Vyavah?

    I thought some more. Aaj uski shadi hai--> Today is her wedding. Uski shadi ho gayi--> She got married. So the same word is used.

    Also, divorce is not so common, so no one says meri the equivalent of "the marriage is over".

  3. I stand corrected is Vivah, got a bit confused cos usually Vivah kay baad Vyavhaar badal jaata donon shabdon kee shadee kaa nateeja Vyavah ho gaya :P