Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wedding Upgrades

Back in the day...and I mean when we first moved to Shreeji ka Kheda three months ago...Banna (wedding song singing) was done the old fashioned way. Women sitting together, sleeping children lying by their feet, songs of feminine virtue resounding through the lone microphone. Things have changed.

Technology has a way of altering generations of ceremony. In this case, the technology I speak of the is all too familiar television set. Some families own them, including Narabda Bai, but they are typically used to play songs for general recreation. Now that Narabda Bai's four year old son, Kalu, is getting married the television is taking on the role of Banna as well. Pop a CD into the VCD player and voila - bright images and loud music enrapture the minds of of young and old alike. The Banna singers sit together, smoke a few joints, and when time comes to stretch their vocal chords, a few pipe their demand: Put the Banna CD in!

The music video consists of a voluptuous woman dancing in a low-cut blouse, while a small boy disguised in a turban and mustache pretends to be her 'man'. Occasionally, the actual singer of the Banna song shows himself, the background being various scenes of life at a carnival, in Pushkar, or whatever the song is talking about. Seeing everyone's eyes frozen on the screen I can't help but mentally shake my head at the universality of the Tube's magnet appeal. I prefer listening to the original Banna. But then again, the television is not an occasional treat for me. It's something I've been overexposed to, so it's easy for me to make that choice.

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