Millennium Post

Band, baaja, boredom!

When you hear Yo Yo Honey Singh blaring from the most fancily-lit farmhouse, you know the wedding season is round the corner. It’s that time of the year when you get to witness that big ‘fat’ Indian wedding.

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘wedding’ – a magnificent mandap set up with floral decor, a well-designed reception area, hundreds of women clad in designer saris, wearing make-up that matches their sparkling diamonds and the bride and the groom in their best attire smiling from the centrestage. All the guests are treated to a sumptuous dinner and receive a free ‘gift item’ when they leave!

With weddings becoming more of a platform to show off wealth, most shaadis in the capital look pretty much the same. Drab and boring!

It’s not something that is restricted to the rich and the famous any more. The celebration has become more of a matter of prestige. In relative terms, these ‘fat’ weddings have become quite popular across the social spectrum. From elaborate themes to imported flowers, everything is fair game despite a stagnant economy.

Several news articles in leading English dailies read, ‘More than 10,000 couples in the capital will be tying the knot on Sunday and the number is expected to remain the same on Monday, owing to the auspicious three-day period that begins fromw Saturday’.

According to the head priest at the Birla Mandir, ‘The jupiter and moon are in the appropriate houses on these three days and couples who will get married during this period will stay together for the next seven births.’

Like wow! It amazes me to see how this band baaja baraat industry is raking in crores! It’s worth pondering how this is the only industry, which is untouched by inflation. The cost of importing goods has gone up tremendously, according to reports, but people still don’t mind shedding that extra buck for it. They still want the venue to be decorated with those exotic-looking ‘imported’ flowers as beautifully as ever – theme-based, as they call it!

It seems like lavishness, unfortunately, has become a way of life. Like every other celebration, marriage too, has turned into an occasion to display wealth. While inflation is hitting hard, people are ready to spend exorbitant amounts of money, in their pursuit of a grand royal wedding.

The intention of this article is not to criticise or preach against it. The only focus on it being that the elite and rich are setting standards for the middle-class to follow. Under tremendous social pressure, they are bound to follow the same. ‘My elder daughter’s marriage got fixed recently. The groom is a software engineer,’ said a friend’s father. Instead of jubilation, anxiety was writ large on his face.

A few years ago, marriages were less expensive even with dowry. Nowadays, the bridegroom’s parents pride themselves in not demanding dowry, but the demand is concealed in the guise of extra jewels, furniture, vehicle, etc. With the soaring prices of gold and silver and the rising cost of all food items, expenses for a traditional wedding run in lakhs, or even crores.

For an ordinary government employee at the retirement age, for example, after purchasing a two-room flat and educating two or three children, it is a huge burden to celebrate the wedding as per the norms.

Gone is the charm of a quiet and elegant wedding, which was no less exciting and satisfying than the flashy ones that take place at present.

Mindless aping of others has taken away the innocence of past weddings, which were relatively private affairs. Even those required a great deal of planning, involving every member of the family and not the soulless transactions with wedding planners that precede marriages these days.

There’s no point denying that behind much of this glitter and expense is social pressure. Imagine all that wasteful expenditure just to emulate your social peers. The girl’s family is forced to foot the expenses of the newly-wed’s honeymoon abroad, besides spending enormous amounts of money on a lavish menu and hundreds of guests.

Well, in a society like ours severe social implications are associated with following this trend. However, for the young clan, there is no harm in taking a step forward to shed this culture of lavishness.

How about greeting your guests with a lovely red rose instead of those exotic orchids, for a change? If you can plan a wedding in your home city why tie the knot in a foreign land?

Neha Jain is a senior copy editor with
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