Saturday, 7 April 2012

A pointless societal norm

Marriage. I dread the word, not because I don’t want to get married, but because attending one is what gets to me every single time. Especially in Hyderabad, where people like to get married at night, all night in fact. I have no memory of ever coming back early after attending a wedding or a reception; in fact at times I’ve even returned home a little before dawn(!!!). That’s why I seldom attend these social gatherings. I feel kind of sad for the bride and the groom, because they have to remain seated the entire time meeting people, who click pictures, scores of pictures. And while the groom can move about, the bride is under a dress which literally handicaps her from moving, or from making sudden movements. Then there’s the jewellery on her, I swear some brides look like small jewellery stores. Clicking pictures is another trend now a days where almost every person hops around with a digital camera ready to pounce on known people and then clicks their pictures. In a recent wedding I attended, I was rendered blind for 20 seconds because of the flash emitted from these cameras. Worst part about that is the next day when I find hundreds of pictures in different albums with pictures of the same weddings. Posed, candid, all sorts of pictures appear. Whoever hacks facebook one day will probably delete them out of sheer frustration seeing their numbers. And have I mentioned about the amount of jewellery some women throw on themselves at weddings? The women’s section, is overshadowed by glittering gold, and most of the ladies present there have their faces layered with so much make-up that some look like clowns, all they need is the cherry nose, because their dresses are no less funnier. Their show would probably be called ‘the Golden Jig’ .
But most recently I noticed something else. The food. Large voluminous quantities of food is prepared, consumed and then wasted at our beloved shaadis. I was at the wedding reception of an acquaintance who showed me around and took me to the back where the food was prepared. I was aghast! Not only was a lot of food wasted later on but so much of money had been spent. When I enquired about the cost of the entire event, I was stumped. With the amount he told me, I could buy three big cars and I’d still have enough money to splash around for a while. Apparently, this was the norm, with the cost fluctuating as per the financial caliber of the person. Anyway, when we went back, I was asked to enter the dining hall from the back door, I promptly did as asked and wondered why; I found out later. It seemed like most of the people out of the thousands present there, were there just for the food. I’m not judging. What I watched was that people were being held back like there was some was some sort of a free food marathon and when they were let loose it felt like it was a stampede. And all through my meal I heard people shouting and screaming for more food to be brought to their tables. The hosts themselves were doing all they could, but it was clearly not enough. But the food was tasty, and usually there’s a lot of variety, so everyone goes back satisfied and happy. This one time I ate so much that I could barely walk. I wasn’t going to attend the wedding, but I was glad I changed my decision because of the scrumptious meal.
Weddings are lavish now a days, that is the norm now. Big decorated halls are intended to impress. Some weddings go so far as to appearing in newspapers. I wonder since when did this become ‘news’. News values have surely declined. What people don’t realize is that these ‘normal’ weddings have put a strain on every family. I’ve heard so many people saying, ‘I need to start collecting money for my wedding’. While some households are blessed and ready to conduct the holy matrimony, others aren’t so. What society does and makes the norm, also includes the ‘not so’ effluent class. So many people struggle, collect money, borrow, take loans etc just to get their children married. This has created a disgustingly bad situation where the parents of a girl feel that their child is a burden and marrying her off will be a big weight off their shoulders. What’s more the Dowry system has unfortunately not died, it is still accepted mostly. I’ve heard of countless people talking in weddings about the staggering amount given to the groom. Some families give lists to the bride’s family
And so what is the point of all these charades? Nothing, someone got married to someone, and the wedding was grand and had exceptional food, just that. All that will later be forgotten because there will always be someone to top that last wedding off, simple. While some people go just to maintain their social credibility and to maintain social relationships, there are scores who will complain if the food wasn’t up to their expectations, because people expect wedding food to be exceptionally tasty. And it is mostly, I’ll vouch on that. However, it is in that, that we have created a separate paradigm.
I still don’t think that weddings are that big a deal, to dress up, or to serve good food or to make it a night to remember. If it were up to me, I’d go happily to congratulate someone I know, but wasting hours of my time and sleep and attending the event wherein food is served a little before or after midnight doesn’t really sound exciting, it’s tiring. But alas, that is the norm. And so it continues.

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