The pandemic has turned the big, fat Indian wedding into a small, intimate affair. And the wedding vendors, including band services, are struggling to stay in business. While some have had no business so far, others are compelled to reduce charges to attract customers and even trim down the number of bandwalas to adhere to the 50-guest advisory.
“With the 50-guest restriction, we don’t know what will happen to our business. Most of our staff is seasonal employees. Ab ye time tha gaon se wapis aane ka,” says Deepak Kumar Rawal, owner of Delhi-based Baldev Band, adding, “As far as our previous bookings and advance payments from March and April are concerned, no client has informed about postponing.”
As weddings are incomplete without baaraatis dancing to the peppy beats of dhol, Vijender Chawla of Chawla Bands reveals that people are still going ahead with bands but with a reduced number of members.
He says, “Couples are getting married in the daytime due to the curfew timings, so there’s no additional cost for lighting. Our team has come down to 5-10 from 40, and the charges have been reduced to Rs15,000-20,000 from Rs 40,000.” He, however, also feels, “Raat ki shaadi ka glamour hi alag tha. This is just formality.”
Piyush Sharma of Delhi-based Hari Om Band also had to come up with new, smaller packages to keep business afloat. “Though we have old bookings between June 25 and 30 due to the heavy saya, we now anticipate new bookings in the month of November. We don’t offer a buggy, and there are only six light men instead of 10. So, we have a total of 14 band members and 11 family members in the baaraat,” he says, adding that the band is not allowed to enter banquet halls now.