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I love weddings, especially Indian weddings with all its rituals, music and food. But does it need to be on such a lavish scale as we have seen over the past year?
A typical Hindu wedding is not complete without the majestic melody of the Naadaswaram or the heavenly Shehnai which elevates the wedding mood to a completely different level. The bright and colorful sarees and the lovely and vibrant, but simple lehengas are a feast to the eyes. The delicious and sumptuous, yet simple wedding meals are to die for. Finally, the reunion of family and friends, which also includes the usual drama that unfolds during these events never fails to add to the excitement.
Traditionally, Indian weddings are a modest affair. Indian wedding rituals are beautiful in their simplistic form. However, what started as a simple ceremony for recognizing the union of two people changed over time and finally manifested itself into the lavish multi million dollar wedding aka ‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding‘.
Is it just me or does anyone else think that these recent chain of extravagant weddings that are on media and on every single newspaper and magazine a bit too much?
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for wedding ceremonies, but won’t a simple wedding accomplish the same thing, and couldn’t the money be spent somewhere else where it could have helped hundreds if not thousands of less unfortunate lives? For example, educating children whose families cannot afford their education, feeding children who come to school because they get a meal at least once a day. Hundreds of such selfless acts that could benefit people in our country not just for one day or 3 days but for their entire life.
I cannot help but wonder at the sharp contrast and the disparities that exist in our society. I read an article that talked about the recent Ambani wedding and how it was the most expensive wedding ever. How I wish, we could see some of these affluent families doing something for the betterment of our society for once and stand up as an example for others to follow rather than follow the bandwagon by competing and outsmarting each other on who can spend the most on a wedding. Wouldn’t it be great for our nation to be known for making significant progress in woman’s equality, literacy and other social causes rather than be known for the most extravagant wedding, or for the tallest statue in the world while there are millions people living in utter poverty who cannot afford the basic necessities in life?
Just the other day, I was discussing the chain of lavish weddings with my friend when she mentioned that it is actually better that the super-rich pick India to have the lavish weddings rather than having it in any other foreign country, as by doing so, they are actually feeding people for as long as the wedding rituals last as well as they are helping workers with jobs for those few days.
Hmm… Does feeding those people or providing jobs for those workers for 3 to 5 days as effective as if you were to provide education to kids who cannot afford education, helping destitute women get their bearings, providing meals to kids who cannot afford a meal otherwise? Either, I am missing something here, or these weddings are all about competition, assertion of power and are celebrated solely for the bragging rights. End of the day, is that all worth it?
Furthermore, extravagant weddings are not limited to super rich millionaires. As other developed nations are moving towards embracing prudence, our nation is moving in the opposite direction.
The common man too is pressured to perform weddings at a larger scale much larger than what he or she could afford to and thereby ends up in significant debt. Consequently, there have been cases where people in such situations have committed suicides as a result. A wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion for all where two people commit to one another for an everlasting relationship, but somewhere along the line, the meaning was lost and competitive celebrations and extravagant and flamboyant displays of jewelry and gifts have become the main objectives of these weddings and the sacred union of two human beings is nothing but a detail.
Like a silver lining in the cloud, I have also read a few uplifting stories in our country recently about couples who have opted for simple weddings and who chose to donate it to the causes they believe in. One of those couples had opted for a simple wedding and chose to donate to the welfare of the cancer patients. Another couple spent on the education of children of farmers who committed suicide while another couple built homes for the poor while another spent on weddings of 100 less fortunate women. How heartwarming and inspiring are these stories! Now, these are the type of weddings that we should encourage and emulate!
Wedding is a once in a lifetime event when we commit to the other person we love. Each one of us deserves to celebrate this joyous occasion with family and friends. But when we do, let us try to remember to spend what we can afford, remembering that it is stressful to continue paying for the wedding after it is over. Let us also remember that a few years after the wedding, no one will remember the lavish settings or the gifts, but they will remember if everyone was happy to be there. Last but not the least, let us try to remember that it is not a competition or an occasion to display our wealth or social status, but it is the most important promise we will ever make. Let us make it meaningful.
It is time we change the way we marry. So, let us say goodbye to “The Big Fat Indian Wedding”.
Image source: YouTube
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