Friday, December 14, 2012

Of Weddings and not Marriages

It's that time of the year again, when the stars say a prayer for the sun and all of them stand to salute the marriages that might perhaps, have been made in heaven. Weddings in India are more of a social hogwash and less of a marriage, which has made it a Page 3 affair and a stage for Katrina to gyrate on. Of course if Shahrukh is available, after making up with the friends he turned to foes, it surely will be all over the Delhi Times Page 3 the next day. 

And before I talk of the fairy tale wedding I happened to attend a few days ago, let me tell you of something ridiculous that took place recently. A stranger I had barely spoken to, for a few times over the google talk messenger during my tryst as an editor, sent me her wedding invitation. I really didn't know how to take it? As a personalized invitation or as the ceremonious celebration of a phase in life, that after countless fake relationship statuses on facebook is finally becoming a reality! What was worrisome was the reply, which was obviously a no, for traveling to the southern tip of India for a stranger's wedding did not sound like a great idea! Often I had heard this about girls going to get wedded. A few days before their wedding they start flying high in air without wings. This just holds true for this lady! The stakes attached to getting wedded and being wedded are too high for Indian girls,which just blinds them to commit such brainless bloopers and sadly one can't blame them!

Before I got this bolt from the blue I happened to attend a  Baniya wedding, one that was a chapter straight from the fairy tales. The invitation in itself was a  seductive snare of ladoos, dry fruits and chocolates with an endless queues of cards choking inside a wooden box gilded in  gold, which had given me an inkling about how they would dress up both the brides. Oh yes it was the rarest of rare weddings, twins getting married to twins, so both the sets of sisters and brothers also became each other's in-laws after the event. What managed to arrest my attention was the farmhouse they had booked for the wedding.

The land was spread in  acres, with a giant gold stage and three more that looked like its babies. Along both sides, were these endless enclosures, again all set in gold laying down a food festival for the guests in attendance. I saw CCD, Dominos, Haldirams and almost every other food outlet I had ever eaten at, gripping the gastronomic gullibility of the guests. People could be seen enjoying the food fare while music was being played into the balmy brightness of the night, all set for an extravaganza. With all the gold glaring into my eyes, I was fearing visual impairment for even the dancers on the stage were all dressed in gold and painted in gold. I could neither see SRK, nor Katrina but for some reason this was one of the most exuberant of weddings I had seen in my lifetime. While the women in the vicinity could be seen getting crushed under the bulky Benarasi sarees and lehangas, and throttled by the yellow metal in various shapes and sizes, I was there dressed like a school girl in pink and black checks and blue denims, watching the visual vitality on display. The exchanging of garlands was another treat to watch, for the fear of falling down from the towering platform could be seen clearly etched on their faces stealing the joy of garlanding each other. So also, the hosts for the night had left very little imagination at our behest since their commentary reminded me of a confused plot between a Cinderella story and the famous Ram-Sita wedding. While watching the melodrama unfold a few things crossed my mind.

Why are the Indian weddings more of a social flimflam and less of a personalized plan aimed at celebrating the coming together of two souls? A thousand and more guests at such events have left me wondering as to what sort of an event are they rooting for? Flashing of flamboyance or calling for a ceremony that will be commemorated as memories in the family album. Rather than spending lakhs and lakhs of rupees on one ceremony, can't we call for simpler sophisticated weddings with the money we otherwise intend to waste going to a charity. The idea of feeding a thousand or more guests who can afford three or more square meals a day is stranger than a lie, for many lakhs are dying without food everyday. The thought of feeding a stomach that is already filled doesn't go well with me. 
Many parents of girl children in India do no have reasonable resources to organize a simple wedding ceremony for their daughters, can't all this money that is being burned in the name of traditions be given to them.   

The big fat Indian wedding is a national obsession which might in the years to come, even start attracting tourists during the wedding season as they famously call it, for such is its shameless splendor. Being less of a memory for those celebrating it, and more of a social hogwash.


Rachna said...

I am with you on this one. My own marriage was much more personal. I hate the showbaazi on display all the time. It seems that sentiments and happiness have been overtaken by pomp and display. Very sad!

Shail said...

I attended a wedding in Trivandrum recently and asked the same question. Why such flamboyance? Why the extravagance? Who were they trying to impress and why?
The whole thing smacks of such arrogance. Distasteful showing off of the money at their disposal (or borrowed). So much wasted. I don't understand why they spread n number of things on the plantain leaf when it is clear to any half-witted person that half of it is going to the dustbin. Then the stalls, the variety of food, the silks, the gold!
I simply don't understand WHAT marriage is about. It has degraded to showing off your wealth and status. The sad part is the men and woman marrying also don't feel anything is amiss.

Rinzu said...

Rachna, Its good to go for simplistic weddings, one done with elegance and taste! Keeping the famished dying of hunger all over India!
Shail, Oh malayalee weddings, Please let's not even talk of them! The flamboyance I saw at my cousins weddings recently has left me digressed!

Penelope Potty Snooper said...

I completely agree with you. Modern Indian weddings are a real farce especially when the bride and groom have already lived together as husband and wife! To act the coy bride and dashing groom is even more of a joke. And to make it a three day hoopala is even funnier with guests from all over the world!!! You are right - what happened to the traditional Indian wedding which was true to the ethnic group you belong to and not some mishmash half baked Bollywood style Punjabi wedding( I remember one Marathi wedding where Fake Sardarjis were hired to bring in the bride in a doli!!!) As long as women fantasize about this event they will continue to have more and more idiotic weddings!

Kappu said...

Now a days the rich have to make a Page 3 wedding to stay abreast with their counterparts, it so seems!

About the holy matrimony, the jolly would replace holy with elan! :d

and yeah, why not give to charity! It is quite a mindset that we have to break it so seems!!

Danny Simon said...

Well written! My first time here!

Indian weddings today focus on that one day and most people try to make it as grand as they can... but no one really focuses on the married life which is really the essential thing!

As a result, today we have marriages that last barely 6 months to one year ending up in a divorce....

Lovely article! I came here just reading the title!

Rinzu said...

@ Belly bytes, Women don't fantasize much about a professional celebration as much s they dream about this day! Yes idiotic I take that word!

@ Kappu, Oh yes, Jolly is the only word to replace the holy! Thanks for the visit!

@ That is why foreigners have a more cost efficient wedding! Just in case :P

Rachana said...

This is very true, i am a baniya myself and see people taking loans for such extravagance!

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