The anglophiles in India had an opportune moment to rejoice, given the recent turn of events in the ‘Great Britain’. Will and Kate, with their retrospective romance tucked in for the time being, exuded charm enough to become the transient cynosure of all eyes. By touting the entire event as ‘a massive public ritual’, the hullabaloo surrounding it stands vaguely justified.Travel and Living channel began the virtual wedding celebrations, much before Kate and Will did. With the channel running documentaries pertaining to the British Royal family a week prior to the ceremony, enough publicity was garnered, consequently ensuring the creation and maintenance of a nostalgia- glued loyal chunk of audience. To concoct the perfect recipe for grabbing eyeballs, TLC did its best by raking up leaves of the past. From the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana to Diana’s debaculous life, the attention of the audience was sufficiently cinched.
The television viewing anglophile populace of India stay put in their couches, reminiscing the days of the British ‘glory’ and the gifts that the venerated colonizer had bequeathed to this ‘impoverished’, ‘uncouth’ nation called India. (Ah yes ! The Indian Railways and the India Post. Who can forget those ?). And so did those whose loyalties lay with the newspapers. Times of India carried Bacchi Kakaria’s fanciful story on the Gujarati connection to the royal wedding (err.. the baker of the wedding cake being Gujarati that is !). Hindustan Times even ran an editorial by British High commission to India Richard Stagg, who waxed eloquent about the similarity of the royal wedding to an Indian wedding. And the similarity being- family ties that bind !
With the D-day arriving closer, TLC ran promos about the whole event being covered live, so that frenzied revelers around the world could not only catch a glimpse, but also witness the entire wedding ceremony at their convenience; an episode that would usher a more homologous paradigm, coalescing the strings of royalty with those of the commoner.
As Westminster Abbey geared up, donning a look of frolic and jubilation, 29th of April, 2011, was ostensibly a momentous day for people across the globe. Will and Kate exchanged wedding vows in public gaze, something unheard- of by British standards. And for India, it was a day made more special, thanks to the fact that cricket- crazy Indians watched some other live event, other than the barrage of test matches, ODIs and T- 20s. As expected, distant murmurs rose from the nationalist factions in different pockets of India, which was most definitely ignored amidst the fanfare and celebrations.
Blogs on the virtual sphere raved and made an assorted judgement of sorts about the numerous dimensions to the event. Kate’s bridal gown was said to have revealed select vistas of her personality and speculations were even made about how long would the couple stick together. Be that as it may,the surplus coverage (with even NDTV covering the event live) gave a complex to those who could care less about the brouhaha.
It only makes an ordinary Indian nestled somewhere in the corner of a nondescript village ruminate- what does all this mean to him ? What about responsibly reporting on issues closer to him- of his farmer brethren who handed themselves over to destiny and those kids whose malnourished bodies beg for mercy ? At the end of it all, it remains a rhetoric; a question meant to be repeatedly fielded with gusto, but never to be definitively answered.