Sunday, December 30, 2012

Facebook Wedding Invites

This has been the season of weddings in India. Don't blame the people, blame the auspicious nature of dates. After the drought over the long monsoon season wherein there wasn't a single day when a wedding wouldn't be blasphemous arrived the winter season in which any couple getting married on  almost any day would be assured of 100 years of prosperity :P.

There have been days on which I had 3 different wedding invites to choose from (of course, I mostly ended up attending none of them, but that's tangential to the post :P), and in total I must have had maybe 15 invites over a period of one month! No, I am not bragging about my popularity or my wide social circle. Just the fortuity of being in the marriageable age, and hence having most of my friends in the same marriageable age. So while I was dodging wedding invites, they were all getting happily, clumsily married and inviting me to partake of the free food.

Another contributor to the windfall of wedding invites is the fortuity of being in the Facebook age. First we had house visits and snail mail wedding invitations. Then came the age of emails with colourful text and links to cheesy wedding websites. And now is the age of Facebook event invitations sent out to all the friends of the bride and groom. But the last type brings with it newer challenges. Can anything be more impersonal than an invitation to a Facebook event sent out to a thousand people? I was curious to find out :D. [For further ease of reading and typing, and keeping in with the times, Facebook is being hereby referred to with its abbreviated form: Fb :P ]

Even within the Fb invites there are two types. One sent by those with whom you have been in touch. So the person [the busy bride or groom] may have previously informed you about the imminent wedding via chat or talk. May have urged you to attend the wedding, and then sent out to the Fb event with all the details for your ease. Attending such weddings would be the same had you been invited via email or with a posted card. The other type is more interesting. Perhaps the person and you have been out of touch for decades. Or perhaps you both have met just once and became Fb friends with the false hope of meeting often later on. So essentially, you are among those who lurk at the depths of the person's friends list. And given that an average user only gets to see 12% of his/her friends' posts on his newsfeed, it is likely that the person has never come across your posts and has completely forgotten about your existence. Yet you receive the wedding invite because it has been sent to everyone in his/her friends list with the obvious assumption that those who aren't actually friends in real, current life will not bother to attend anyway. But what if you do? :P

That's what I wanted to find out. So I, along with an equally risk-friendly 'mutual friend', decided to attend the wedding reception of one such 'friend'. Haven't met or spoken to this 'friend' aka groom for more than 12 years. So the idea was that we both would just turn up and wish him 100 years of happy married life. What the worst that could happen? Well before we imagine that, first lets examine the best-case scenario: We would enter the arena. The groom spots us afar from his pedestal on stage and immediately jumps down. Runs through the parting crowd and hugs us both as long-lost brothers. He would then personally escort us to the best seats and declare that we were now the unofficial chief guests for the evening [Unofficial because protocol prohibits the wedding receptions from having official chief guests :P]. We partake the delicious multi-cuisine dinner, bless the couple and leave.

Now, for the more likely, worst-case scenario: We enter the arena and are followed by suspicious eyes of the parents of the bride and the groom. Both assume we must belong to the other party. After a lot of waiting, standing in some remote corner, we finally scramble onto the stage to surprise the groom and, of course, bless the couple. However, the groom looks at us perplexed and enquires with his bride whether we are related to her. We then awkwardly clarify to the groom by stating our names, and plead with him to remember and recognise his long lost mates. He awkwardly nods his head, shakes our hands and looks immediately for the next, more familiar group to receive wishes from. We leave the stage to more suspicious eyes and awkwardly make our way to the exit, skipping the bland-looking dinner.

Okay, am about to leave now, let's see which scenario plays out :P.