Delhi 101: #30 Hire a wedding band and a mare – for a theme party

If you are married, or have no plans to tie the knot in a hurry, what use can a wedding band be to you?

Delhi 101: Cover image of book by Ajay JainThis post has been taken from Delhi 101, a book written by Ajay Jain. It is about 101 surprising ways to discover Delhi, one of the most amazing cities in the world for travelers. To know more about the book and to order one, click here.

Indian weddings are often characterized by friends and family dancing to the music in marriage processions (from the groom’s side) going to the reception hosted by the bride’s family. Live music comes from an accompanying band, belting out Bollywood numbers one can shake not just a leg to but the whole body – the moves looking like some hysterical gyrations. The groom traditionally goes on a decked up mare – but variations include an elephant, a horse drawn carriage or even a flower-decked, large-sized car needing to be flashed around.

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The ‘musicians’ are mostly part-timers, as they are in demand more during auspicious marriage periods. What else do they do? Some are farmers, some take up petty jobs, or double up as waiters in restaurants and with caterers. Of course, they need to practice together – but the government has lately been making life difficult for them. They would practice in any open public spaces but are no longer allowed to – and cannot afford practice halls. Hence the suspect quality of the music – even if the entertainment factor is top rate!

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You don’t have to wait to get married to hire some entertainment. Some ideas:

• Get remarried to your current spouse.
• Convince some friends to get married so you have a reason to invite the band.
• Throw a theme party – everyone comes dressed as bride or groom. Or best man or bridesmaid. (It may seem like an untimely Halloween!)
• Explore the city like a tourist – and make heads turn by getting the band to follow you. Be riding the mare too in full finery!

WHERE TO FIND BANDS: Old Lajpat Rai Market, Chandni Chowk. Some prominent ones are Shiv Mohan Band (founded 1963; Tel: 64664629, 24602131, 9811528325; shivmohanband.com) and Jea Band (founded 1936; Tel: 41391477, 9811007005, 9811056568; jeaband.com)

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