Colorful clothes, jolly smiles, mouth watering food, dhol, band baja, tents, halwaai- a typical sight of a traditional wedding in India. As winter approaches, the wedding season begins. There is continuous sound of the band, Baja and the “Baarat”. Every year, this is the time when there is music and food all around. You get so many invitations that it becomes seriously tough to decide which wedding you should attend. But ultimately two factors govern your decision- closeness with the host and the level of function (including the taste/ variety of food). Everybody is a happy camper on the day of the wedding. Right from the bride, the groom, their parents, and all the other close relatives. But Indian weddings are more than just this. The best words to describe a typical Indian wedding would be “a social show-off day”, where every person dresses extra dramatically, puts on their best and the most expensive shoes and constantly tries to put other off. It eventually becomes more of a cliché wedding than the normal ritual. But deep within, everybody enjoys this!
The first concern on the minds of the parents is the overall budget of the wedding. With the new age/ era, came the new thought of revoking the practice of “dowry”, but what is more prevalent these days, is a more modern version of dowry system. The Bride’s family is so much reluctant to give dowry but are ever ready to spend lavishly on the lawn decorations, expensive food, extensive pandaal and the gifts/ return gifts. Even the “lehenga” of the bride costs too much. But, as I said before, the wedding won’t be worth if the bride doesn’t spend on her dress. This is not the end. The cliché“Log kya kahenge” is also very important. Even after spending so much on the arrangements, there is a constant fear in the minds of the parents that what will people say. I mean come on; marriage is a function to enjoy and not to wait for the critical remarks of people who care more about free dinner than giving their blessings to the newlywed couple.
Even now, the most literate section of our society follows the custom of dowry, indirectly. They believe in giving away gifts and car and cash to the groom’s family, as if their daughter was not enough. And this is why I still wonder, why is the status of women degrading day by day? Girls are paying to get married, in literal sense.
Another wedding cliché is the one followed by the groom’s family. The conventional custom of timely arrival of the “baraat” has been successfully replaced by the custom of arriving when half of the guests have already eaten their dinner and gone. However much you might like the weddings, not getting an opportunity to see the groom, spoils the excitement of attending a wedding. Wedding means lots and lots of food and this eventually means wastage. Now this is something to ponder upon. Amidst the love of showing off their wealth and basking in the glory of their stupendous functions, people forget about the menace they are causing to the society.
Another custom rather cliché that is seen in the weddings is that the old Aunts or Uncles, sit together and make matches of all the eligible children in the family. Weddings are bound to be uncomfortable at this point. You cannot make the elders unhappy by answering back, so all you got is to “smile” and pretend that you are equally eager to tie the knot.
Long story cut short, I wish I do not get caught up in these social obligations when it is my “D” day (Fingers crossed). A fun filled wedding- with the near and dear ones around the corner, all the music, chatting, gossips, dance and the delicious food, is a dream though, yet I prefer not getting under the influence of the wedding clichés!