Love is in the air in Kashmir (as well as stones, bullets, and weird theories about society and evolution inanely harvested from the Koran) and with premarital pank-hankery frowned upon by all cultures within the nearest several thousand miles, one must always be nuptially vigilant, ready to throw a sweet service at the first sign of secret smooching. Thankfully, the not-allowed-to-be-kissing Kashmiris of the world have us at their disposal, and working from our extensive knowledge of traditional Kashmiri weddings (one, that is), we’re sure to help them put together the best knot-tying they could ever hope for. Let’s start with the basics:
1. Find Yourself a Nice, Respectable Hairy-Faced Kashmiri Guy/Girl
This can be easily accomplished through perusing the 12 or so people your age in your village, the 12 or so people your age in the village 4 km away, or if you want that authentic Kashmiri flavor, by simply dipping your toe into your extensive Cousin Pool. Or just ask your parents to set it up (with a cousin, most likely) – why burden yourself with any more undue stress? You’ve got a wedding to plan! Which brings us to the next important point:
You apparently want the whole Kashmiri valley to tremble with adulation when you betroth yourself, so don’t subject yourself to this weird Western idea of “small, modest ceremonies”. How many people will you need to have an adequate wedding? 50? Pathetic. 80? Wuss! 150? Fart!
3. Buy Meat!
With thousands of attendees (and moochers – ain’t it always the same?) streaming in, and nary a vegetarian in your Muslim sight, you’re going to need beaucoup de boeuf. But with cow meat largely illegal in India, you’re going to have to make do with mutton. What exactly is mutton? No, it’s not sheep – where’d you get that idea? From the West? Boy, you’re incorrigible. No, see in Kashmir, “mutton” can be goat, sheep, buffalo, or any other grass-eating mammal. It’s meat, it’s “non-veg” – it doesn’t matter. And you’re going to need several hundred kilos of it. And then you’re going to have to hire dozens of men to pound it for hours straight.
4. Let the Family Milk It
If your cousin happens to be a tour guide based out of Shimla, like Mushtaq, make sure he brings his tour group to your wedding so that he doesn’t have to do any work, and can stay at his sister’s house for free. Sure, it’s kind of exploiting a hallowed tradition so that Westerners can feel like they’re doing something “exotic”, but maybe he’ll give you some money for it, so who cares.
5. Make That Western Woman Decent!
And tell her not to smile in photos – it’s the Kashmiri way!
6. Take a Picture of the Bride!
Oops! That’s not the bride, silly Photographer Devon! The real bride is 8 km away in her house! Didn’t you listen to the explanation of how Kashmiri weddings work? The bride and groom don’t meet until three days into this thing! Jeez, you sure are a dummy!
7. Subject Yourself to Several Hours of Atonal Singing!
According to our source, these women are singing songs about the groom, and judging by his seriously leaky tearducts – which made some local men quite embarrassed – they must be cutting pretty deep. So yeah, maybe set some boundaries with your local songstresses before they start with their slandering.
8. Get on Down!
To eating that is. You’ve got nearly a thousand kilos of rice and meat sitting unsanitarily in the open air of your backyard. With throngs waiting to chow down, you’ve got, oh, 5-10 minutes to eat a good six pounds of rice and meat – with your fingers, and sitting around a plate with three other guys.
And if you’re a couple of white guys, you’ll quickly get passed up by the three young girls and the elderly toothless man sitting next to you, and end up as the last people left in the munching tent.
If you’re a woman that is. You’ve got to idle around the house for a few hours, thinking of more mean songs to sing about the groom while the more righteous men engorge themselves. And if you’re a Western woman like Becky, you don’t learn about this until 2 minutes before the meal begins, so you have to find something to do by yourself in a sea of non-English speakers. That probably means being forced to take pictures of everyone at the wedding.
9. Primp Time!
If there’s a Western woman in your vicinity, rifle through her bags as she’s in the shower and take her hair wax. Interpret it as face cream, and be right about to smear it all over your face when a Western male corrects you. Then put it in your hair. Then don’t let anyone take a picture of you until you’re ready.
11. At Some Point, Actually Meet the Person You’re Going to Spend the Rest of Your Life With, and Get Married!
It’s that simple!