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Why do Indian weddings become a day for everyone and everything else except bride and groom?
With the most cliched and most used words as I start this post, I am in no mood to bring you the amazing fun that attending weddings can be. I am also in no mood at all to discuss any marriage related issue. As winter progresses, weddings around are on a rise. Every year during this time, many people decide to take the ‘taken’ road and therein, what comes as an effect to us the viewers/attendees is a series of get ready-reach-smile-eat and come backs!
I bring to you a personal issue I have been facing. And I see it as a very Indian weddings problem. Having attended some 5 weddings and related events (Sagan, Sagai, Sangeet) recently, I realized how the business of weddings is troubling me as an individual. The D- Day, should be the day of the Bride and the Groom and their families (close ones). Instead, the whole day is a social show-off day where everyone gets in their best-dramatic-shoes and acts all cranky and tries of put other off. Please keep in mind that the views here are totally personal and a result of personal experiences. Nothing, absolutely nothing is exaggerated. Anyhow, let’s go point by point here.
1. Oh-the-expenses: I have seen dowry, and then what I see today is a very new version to dowry. The ‘BAND’ here actually is the act of “Band Bajna” of the bride’s family. If not in cash (which is rare) then in the huge pandaal they have to set up and the feast they have to prepare for some 1500 people. The pre-wedding and wedding expenses are one of the reasons why wedding to me seems like an overrated affair. First comes the jewelry and the trousseau for the bride, the extended family and the groom. The insane gifts for all the ones attending with crazy amounts of cash is next in line.
If this wasn’t enough, then the lawn-food-decorations burn a hole in the pocket (of both bride and groom if its shared, which is rare) and then after all that is done, 20-200 people still get up and speak shit about how the food wasn’t good, the fruits weren’t from foreign lands, the smell of the carpet was killing and the AC wasn’t functioning. Result: Mazaa nahi aaya (didn’t enjoy)!
Come on! Imagine what you have to hear if you spent some 1 crore on a party and people say they didn’t enjoy it! Bahhh! I would be furious! And talking about how inflation is escalating these days, the amount is higher and higher depending on the expectations. 200 kinds of dishes, bride comes in a paalki, flower-shower as the var-mala happens, special silverware for dinner for bride-groom…the list is never-ending. And as this happens, you still wonder why girls are looked up as burden? because even in this age when dowry is a crime, people are still expected (educated, even more) to give gifts and cars and cash in the weddings of their daughter, as if to give a daughter away wasn’t enough!
2. Menace to society? Maybe: While I am personally a fan of weddings and the dancing, the chatting, getting glitzy ready, what to me is a pain is the wastage. Wastage of money- wastage of food- wastage of time (coming-going-sitting there- waiting for the baraat to come) is a never-ending list! I have personally been to 5 weddings recently, non of which had the groom appearing before 10 pm, while most of the guests who have arrived have started panicking. I understand its his day but trust me it’s not him who doesn’t want to arrive early, it’s the crazy dancers who don’t want to stop hitting Mother earth as the groom and bride becomes anxious every second wondering when will they get to see each other.
The wastage of food that happens post wedding makes me angry on how much money goes down the bin just because families and society love to show-off and flash of money. Imagine how many hungry people in the world could have been fed by the amount. Now I don’t suggest everyone to donate their money saved for weddings to some charity, neither do i expect that, but just having a more well planned after wedding system might help feed many people around. Just saying!
3. Oh the Traffic: So this is how the day progresses, you start early just to reach on time and avoid traffic but are still caught in it. You wait 45 minutes on one single stretch of road wondering what to do and more so blaming yourself on why you said yes to attend the wedding, you reach the venue late and still find the baraat not there, you get anxious and cranky, in no mood to chit-chat but still have to oblige people, reach home even later and sleep wondering Gawd, its terrible to attend weddings in wedding season. You blame the world, family, and even the bride-groom for it, swear things won’t be like this when you get married or your daughter does and yet years later, the same happens! Trust me when I say this is common. The never-ending traffic on road and traffic in the mind that weddings come with are a stress and a reason strong enough for anyone to panic! And I have been a victim of both.
4. Social Obligations: Get dressed, put on your best looks, smile and yak till everyone is tired. Some people enjoy it, some don’t. To me, they are a social obligation I end up fulfilling unless it’s a close cousin or friend who is getting hitched. A meeting venue for people whom you haven’t met in years or saw when you were little make you wonder how the world functions. I am not a social rebel but when it comes to being asked to guess who this uncle or that aunt is whom I had met when I was 2-4-6 year old is no fun to me. I don’t like standing in a tight spot wondering why the hell I came to this distant cousin’s wedding where the majority people I am not related to or know for that matter.
And yes, having said that when you are single or studying or doing anything the world thinks is not a norm, the series of questions you are shot with are hilarious! Making you wonder why the hell do you have to go according to norm. Weddings after all are a place to make people uncomfortable and judge them till they give up! You can’t afford to make an aunt or grandparent or bua-fufa-mama unhappy because you don’t want any bad mouthing to happen. Result: you just smile and adjust!
5. Are the Bride & Groom Happy?: The last but the most important thing that makes me dislike North Indian weddings (I haven’t visited a South Indian wedding but I think its pretty similar) is the fact that what should be a day for the couple, the ones who are getting hitched becomes a day of everyone else except them. They are the ones who have butterflies in the stomach, literally panicking because they don’t want anything to go wrong. The constant chattering, the uncles doing drunk drama around, the annoyed and angry relatives who thought they weren’t treated with respect, the anxious and over exhausted parents of the couple: with all of this around, neither do the bride and groom look happy nor at ease.
Everyone wants a picture with them, but I know how mostly they aren’t even aware who is getting clicked with them. The day that should be all about them ends up being a day for some 1500 people coming-eating-cribbing and going back. Worst if you are related to some high-profile big shots celebs who come and take all the lime-light away from the couple. With cameras clicking and flashing lights, I feel sad for the couple! I am sure they look back at the day with smiles but it’s just sad at times, because they all know it could have been better for them.
And as I pen down my mind here, I know that weddings are awesome! They are fun, they can be a pain but the whole jazz makes one look forward to it. I don’t judge anyone who negates all the above and says they enjoyed their wedding too much; I also know that while I would love a just my close ones around me when I get hitched, the social obligations will make me a victim of the Band-Baaja-Baraat! Fingers crossed! A beach side, personal wedding would be a dream to have.
Pic credit: Debarshi (Used under a Creative Commons license)
A Development Communication & Social Work professional working in the field of gender, health and technology for grassroots. A Doctorate in participatory communication for development. A Feminist to a Human Right Activist, stressing on convergence & read more...
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