Picture this scenario - A room with 2 doors... 2 very small doors and a sea of humanity pushing and shoving to get through them....to get at the food that is being served in this room. Old, young, men, women, children alike trying desperately to get in and willing to physically hurt anyone who tries to get between them and the food.
If you pictured this scenario in your head...think of what clothes these people are wearing, where this place could be...for anyone who guessed it is probably some relief camp of sorts and these people are in basic worn out clothes, try again....All those who guessed it to be a gathering of people dressed in their finest, the venue to be a wedding hall in Kerala and these were guests rushing to have the wedding lunch then give yourself a pat on the back. Welcome to the wedding lunch stampede.
The scenario I mentioned is what I have seen at every wedding I have attended - venue, class, caste no bar (Disclaimer - Have only been to a couple of Hindu weddings and 1 Christian wedding, so can only talk about them). Now these people aren't gate-crashers, free-loaders or college students out for a free meal. They are invited guests at the wedding, who know that even if this mad race to the plate isn't won, they will still get served. These are people who probably make the same meal that is being served at the wedding in their house on a daily basis - yet the sight of the laid out banana leaf spread or the laden plate causes a hysteria among them.
It's amusing to watch how when people assemble to in the wedding hall, many of them pick seats near the door - easy to rush to the exit (I bet no one thought going to the wedding required such strategic planning). The preparation for the race starts from the moment the bride and groom settle on the stage - ready to tie the knot. The minute the knot is tied...there is rustle of anticipation among the crowd - On your mark....the women look around for their children and grab their handbags, the men put on their shoes or chappals and ready themselves, the elderly look around for someone who will escort them out; Get set...The knot has been tied and the bride and groom start their 1st of the obligatory 3 rounds; Go Go Go...The minute (OK I exxagerate - some have it perfected to a nano-second) the bride and groom settle back down, there is a rumbling sound and when the dust settles only the couple's immediate family and the slow starters are left in the hall. All this to have a free lunch and criticise it later