Not long ago, marriages used to be a family affair in which very close relatives were invited with all the social norms and the cultural traditions followed in an elegant manner. Like most of the things which have fallen apart around us, the marriage functions of today portray the hollowness and vulgarity of our social fabric which has hit all time low. Our tragedies are limitless but their reflection on the occasions of celebrations makes one vomit.
The preparation for a wedding function in the family makes people spend months on planning it while catering for jewelry, dress designing, dua-e-khair (always wonder what has “khair” got to do with marriage), dholkyan, mayoun, mehndi, wedding, valima, dowry etc. However all these things become irrelevant after marriage because the only thing which ultimately matters (in case of marital dispute or otherwise) is the Nikkah Nama (marriage contract) and its conditions.
We do not even take five minutes to fill, read and sign this four page document which in all practical terms will affect the lives of the couple, specially the girls. Nikkah Nama, if filled properly gives a lot of rights to both the partners equally. Couples entering into long term relationship should put their foot down and not to compromise or remain silent fearing any bad feelings between the two families. The families who make fuss out of this issue are not worth entering into a relationship. At times it is better to let go instead of suffering all your life insilence.
Today’s marriage functions last for almost a month. The west, in all practicality, has understood the ugliness of such circuses and has evolved a very simple and practical way of conducting such occasions with simplicity and elegance. But we on the other hand have somehow converted them into grand Meena bazaars.
After one is done with the Dua-e-Khair (family get-together, just to eat); the preparations for Mehndi functions start. Dancing on this occasion is part of our cultural tradition. The elegance of it should manifest in its simplicity. However today’s mehndi functions demands getting lessons from choreographers who charge rupees ten thousand per song to train girls/boys to come up with Bollywood style hit numbers. The perfect dancing steps performed by the familygirls have simply taken away the element of innocence so dear to our family values and structures.
Then we have a cultural change of hunting for designer outfits for the bride and the bridegroom outfits. Remember, these dresses are worn only for few hours and then buried in the suitcases forever. Selection of the “right” designer is another traumatic exercise. Over the years the designers have somehow revolutionized their businesses through systematic brainwashing of the clients. It is really interesting to have a look at the list of designers, especially males, if that’s what you call them. We thought being “straight”is a virtue. But in today’s fashion industry, the more tilt you have towards being a “gay”, more the chances are of your success. So a wedding dress made by a gay Designer for the “Straight” couple is the in thing.
The next step leads to the selection of a trendy place for the bridal makeup. Now we have outlets offering standard packages of fifty thousand plus for the bride’s makeup plus of the accompanying ladies. It was done in a simple way at one’s home not long ago. Sit back and have a look at the wedding pictures of our parents; looked so perfect without any cosmetic manipulation.We seem to have lost it all while witnessing the destruction and transformation of very pretty faces into monstrous ones after coming out of these hard core makeup brothels.
The food is generally considered as the last and the best part of the function. The opening of the food, and after ferocious eating, the rush to the exit gate of the wedding hall is an ample proof of what weight-age the people really give to this grand “tamasha”. The problem with the selection of food is that when the food is very lavish, people tend to think that it is from the “haraam” money. If the food is not up to the standard, people utter derogatory remarks about the miserness of the hosts.
No matter which way you go, there will be no escape from the criticism. Choice is ours; remain doped in the sea of insanity or adopt rationality for a change.
The writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living in the Grave and several research papers.The writer prefers to avoid human interaction and finds peace & happiness being alone, in silence with his own self.