Ever had someone zealously insist you attend their wedding as if you owed them some debt from a previous birth? Or assert that you confirm your attendance right away as if their wedding ceremony would not be solemnised without your presence? Polite invitations are sweet, the zealous assertions…not so much. A couple of the latter have come my way this month. The trend of peers getting married began in 2012 for me, and people have been getting married left, right and centre since then! I suppose it will tide over by 2020 and invitations would be flying thick and fast throughout this period, depending on who does not read this post.
Confession: I have no interest in weddings or even the institution of marriage. The former is an exercise in event management and the latter brings nothing to the table in a relationship. This post is for whipping the wedding wave.
Indian wedding ceremonies involve a bunch of religious rituals. Hindu weddings tend to have a larger number of such rituals as compared to, say, Sikh or Muslim ones. Whatever the wedding formalities may be, they require only the bride, groom and a priest endorsing god’s representation in that ceremony. For example, the sacred fire plays that representative in the Hindu ones. Unlike court proceedings, which require human witnesses to register a marriage, the religious ceremonies have no need for any other physical witnesses. Since “God” is your witness, the mortals can go take a hike, if they want.
Often, that is not what they ‘want’. Our collectivistic cultural tendencies manifest themselves in wedding ceremonies which offer the perfect pretext to gather and make merry. Popular culture has influenced traditional ceremonies to spread over ‘festivities’ lasting at least 2-3 days. The actual ‘wedding ceremony’ could be a matter of few minutes or some hours, but the melee around it provides a great outing to our latent voyeur. ‘Sangeet’ and ‘Cocktail’ parties are ideal to satiate our mutual obsession with watching women dance. The bride and groom have a perpetual grin plastered on, irrespective of their backs hurting due to long hours of standing, bending to greet the elders or high-heeled footwear.
Originally meant to be a ‘celebration of union’, wedding ceremonies have ballooned into massive event management exercises. An act of unison between two private individuals is turned into a colossal shindig swarming with participants who have no imminent impact on this “union”. While being genuinely happy for the soon-to-be-marrieds, I find such ‘celebrations’ to be utterly dispensable and see no point in attending them. I despise the idea of watching the ritual of “kanyadaan”, essentially an act akin to transfer of property, a.k.a the bride. It is quite inconvenient trudging over to faraway destinations and I don’t eat at weddings. Not to mention the personal costs (time, money, et al) involved in attending an impersonal event. I’d certainly drop everything and go for a wedding if my services (of any kind) were solicited by those at the heart of “the event”. But it’s really unfair expecting me to be a passive bystander in your jamboree when I have other options to utilise my costs. I’d gladly spend hours with the couple, bonding over fresh meals, laden with dollops of laughter as we discuss the good (and even the not-so-good) things in life.
I prefer nurturing a personal relationship, instead of marking my ‘attendance’ at a “wedding ceremony” so that the supremo can gloat about their event management skills. *Scurrying off to RSVP!*