Let's rewind to the 2000s, a simpler time. Wedding ceremonies were different back then. Gaye holuds were not plagued by DJs yet. Over-excited cousins would only wear matching panjabis/kurtis. They did not take dancing as seriously as they do now.
Even if you were a hormonal teenager, you knew you cannot escape holuds. My mother put it best. She used to say, "Valo khabar ache. Kheye chole ashbi, kauke chenar dorkar nai. (There is good food. Just eat, you do not have to socialise).
I loved holuds. Not for the free fuchkas. Not for the one night banters with "biyain shabs" (dear generation Z, biyain shab is the sibling of your cousin's wife/husband). Holuds used to arrange live music - the key reason I did not miss any.
The session musicians at holuds, or more aptly, The Gaye Holud bands, were a big part of holud shenanigans back then. But things have changed. Amid the fuss of pre-wedding shoots and Walimas, holud bands have become a relic of our urban culture.
Where have all the gaye holud bands gone? Let's revisit the moments they created with their corny song covers.
Gaye holud bands were typically composed of five to six members. They also included Guitar, bass, keyboard, drum as well as a male and a female vocal. As soon as the guests started pouring in the venue, the band had already started their sound check.
Remember the wedding cameraman? With a Sony camera on their shoulder, they would capture every guest licking their kacchi soaked fingers. Meanwhile, the band had already started playing. The trending 2000s playlist had a spot in their set list. But the diversity in song selection was something to die for.
Of all the gaye holuds I have attended, these are the songs I remember most: It's My Life, Khairun Shundori, Pagla Hawa and Bheegi Bheegi. Oh wait, how could I forget Valobashbo Bashbore? Sorry, Habib bhai.
When someone starts a band, it is not easy to land a gig momentarily. Many young bands used to perform at gaye holuds. It paid the bare minimum for their practice pad bills. There are never enough underground concerts in the city. So, gaye holud gigs were an offer many bands did not refuse.
Even legendary artistes like Ayub Bachchu, Kumar Bishwajit and James frequently performed at gaye holuds. For them, playing in front of a live audience mattered most. The honorarium was secondary.
Kumar Bishwajit once told an interviewer: "Ayub Bachchu and I were performing in a gaye holud from dusk till dawn. But we did not get any money."
We always hear Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez or Taylor Swift surprise couples at their weddings and sing a couple of songs. Would we not love to see our favourite local musicians to do the same? How about Warfaze singing at your gaye holud? They will be the only men wearing black punjabis in the venue.
Until this happens in reality; we can count on Akhi Alamgir, right?