Monday, 2 December 2013

The Happily Ever After Party

The Big Fat Indian weddings have been famous and notorious all over the world for being beautiful and mind-bogglingly expensive. They are pompous, extravagant, have lots of unnecessary trappings and are, as mentioned before (bordering on the obscene) expensive. But it is all in the name of tradition. One can put the blame on the endless line of predecessors who thought fit to celebrate their union by throwing insane parties that lasted anywhere between three days and a week. Inviting people from all corners of the empire/country to gape in awe at the kick-ass way they could afford to feed a host by blowing up all their life savings in one huge bash. 

But weddings are seldom recognized to be what they may or may not have originally meant to be, that is a gathering of the community, meeting and reminiscing about what has happened and the opportunity to meet new people and develop contacts with possibly related or similar minded people over long distances. After all, that was a time when the word communication meant travelling vast distances and meeting up with relatives only a few times in many years.

But today, though there may not seem to be a difference in Indian weddings, I feel there are subtle changes taking place within the mindsets of people. There are several factors contributing to the change in the wedding scenario in today’s world, I've tried to bring up a few here.

First of all, is the factor of cost. With democracy and taxes and inflation, the expense incurred in marriages have risen up exponentially which means that the more people one invites, the more their bank balance dwindles. Everything, ranging from taxi rent, hotel bookings, the pundit/priest, the halls and food have prices shooting through the roof. Then there is also the cost the bride’s father has to pay to get his daughter married. Arranging a wedding, decorating a girl in gold, bestowing lavish gifts upon the groom and feeding an army can certainly be a tad expensive.

The second factor is that of communication. In today’s world, in contrast to yesterday’s, is the benefit of greater communication ability. One can talk and meet people with anytime with those once magical instruments called the “flying chariot” and “akaashvani.”  It is unnecessary and also virtually impossible to invite all the people you know because due to technology today, one may have contacts with millions of people around the world. So unless one is the sheikh of someplace or owns maybe a dozen oilfields, so many people cannot be invited.

The third and last factor affecting the Indian wedding is the change in generation and hence the evolution of thinking and freedom from age old traditions that bound the older ones. The Indian society is subtly changing, independent thought processes are getting bolder and are gaining impetus largely due to the social media and interaction with people in other parts of the world. The present Indian youth seems to be distancing themselves from their culture, not in a way that is defiant but in a way that promotes rational thinking and gives rise to the freedom of thought independent of their parents and grandparents. Marriage has no longer retained its traditional meaning today. Anybody can and possibly will marry anyone they want. They might also feel it was a mistake and marry again. Orthodox thinking today is making way for the future in which everyone is a master of one’s own fate and is hardly if ever controlled by others. Now if you’re going to marry more than once, can you afford that bash again? Because your parents sure can’t.

Note: This is the author’s personal view and has been written with statistics in his own head. He has merely written what he has observed in his surroundings. If one holds a different view, the comment box is begging for your thoughts.