A calendar is now pretty redundant in most home—like wall clocks and desk diaries—but time was when they were treasured, sometimes long after that year was over. One such calendar still remains etched in my mind: Air India’s Brides of India. Not only were the brides beautifully photographed, their traditional shringar (adornments) showcased the sheer diversity of India from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu.
I always felt there should have been a sequel focussing on bridegrooms of India but men as calendar subjects were as rare back then as they are now. There is no doubt, however, that even men from all regions of India have also had their own characteristic Indian wedding-wear—adding to the multi-billion rupee clothing genre that comes into its own as the marriage season kicks off after Diwali.
Sadly, the commercialisation of wedding wear, complemented by the trendsetting imagery of Bollywood, has led to a creeping homogenisation of “The Look” among the uppermiddle and upper classes. Today brides (and grooms) are less known by their regions than their designers. Girls want to be Sabyasachi or Manish Malhotra brides rather than, say, Bengali, Marathi or Tamil ones.