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The true meaning and value of weddings has been lost under all the glitz and glam. Maybe it is time to reclaim it back.
“Why can’t we get married in shorts?” whined the bride sitting in front of the mirror, getting her makeup done. After three days of back to back pre-wedding rituals, today on the D-Day, she was tired and frustrated after sitting for hours on end, getting her hair and makeup done.
Her question took me back a few years in time.
“Eni lavish Shaadi Si!” was a comment an aunt kept repeating during a family wedding many years ago. The aunt was comparing the simplicity of the wedding she was currently attending with an extremely lavish wedding she had attended. For the simple wedding, the arrangements for the guests were basic, clean but with no extra frivolities.
Whenever I reminisce about that wedding, I chuckle with nostalgia. It was a wonderful holiday for a teenaged me. The whole extended family had gathered together after a long time. There were gossip sessions of the aunts and uncles who organized card games with their cousins, while the children enjoyed themselves with no rules or regulations. Every night, there were impromptu song and dance sessions and peals of laughter as the whole family enjoyed together.
Maybe I was looking at the past through sepia-tinted glasses. But recalling the aunt’s comment coupled with the bride’s tiredness, I wondered, when and how did weddings transform into such extravaganzas? Have weddings now become more important than the marriage itself? And why?!
The wedding industry in India is estimated to be a $50 billion industry. A middle-class household spends around 20 lakhs (conservatively) on a single wedding. There is more emphasis on the food, the decor, the jewellery, the choreographed songs and instagrammable photos, rather than on the actual marriage.
Weddings have all started looking like duplicate copies of Karan Johar movies with the same elements repeated. Heavy designer outfits, umpteen food choices, over the top decor, choreographed dances, and exotic flowers.
The expenses for the wedding extravaganza are usually borne by the bride’s parents, adding to their financial burden. If, in case, the wedding expenses are shared by both sets of parents or ( in woke cases) by the bridal couple, then also it is a large sum of money. Money, which usually can be put to much better use.
The pictures from Yami Gautam’s simple wedding recently were a breath of fresh air. A marked departure from the usual over-the-top wedding pictures of celebrities, hers were enchanting in their simplicity. It showed the world that a simple wedding can also be beautiful.
A simple wedding means that the couple has different priorities, and are secure enough not to want a lavish wedding to impress others. Because somewhere or the other, isn’t that the root cause for extravagant weddings? The need to impress others?
One of the things this pandemic has made us do is to re-evaluate our lives. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate our weddings too. Maybe we need to introspect as to what is more important? Throwing a wedding that would be the envy of everybody, or having a simple ceremony that celebrates the love of the bridal couple?
The purpose of this post is not to belittle the people who have/or want to throw lavish weddings. This post is about what I feel about weddings.
It is a person’s prerogative to choose what type of wedding they want. But they do need to evaluate their reasons before picking a lavish wedding. Is it because an extravagant wedding is a life-long dream, is it because a trend is being followed, or is impressing society the real reason?
Image source: a still from the film Veere di Wedding
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Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).