Daily Archives: December 17, 2003

Ostentatious, aren’t we?

A couple of days back, as I was going back from office, (readers of this blog would be aware that it comprises of a loooong journey all the way from Gurgaon to Delhi), the traffic was moving at a snail’s pace. Nothing new at all! For some reason, the traffic on NH-8 always seems to crawl rather than move..especially since the wedding season has started. (And no, murphy’s law refuses to apply to the opposite lane..) I guess the onset of the wedding season was marked by the ‘Big Bang’ in the marriage calendar.. the day there were supposed to be 12000 marriages in saadi dilli. Even though that frightful day ( i call it that cause I can imagine the traffic situ when it’s already bad with it being supposedly inauspicious for any marriages for a major part of this year, all because of the proximity with Mars) was after the ‘Big bang’, traffic continued to be slow. As we moved towards Shiv Murti, I noticed a wedding procession with all the works and stuff. Instead of the usual ‘Ghodi’ the Dulha came on an opulent looking chariot all decorated with flowers and lights and did I mention how long the chariot was.. it was the ancient equivalent of a limo. Moved a little ahead and saw another marriage being hosted in some place behind a petrol pump.. didn’t even know that space existed there… But this wasn’t the end of it yet.. just a little ahead in Mahipalpur, there was yet another wedding procession, this time headed for a tiny bit of space, that had been cleared up in front of some garages! The way these processions (and the guests who come in their cars to attend these marriages) had clogged up the National Highway, need not even be mentioned. They were oozing opulence without having to look at them..the lights, the noise of the band.. combined with the noise of the generator for the lights, the flowers, the glitter..phew.

Till date, ppl have been using the loophole of the “Rs.500/- fine if more than 5 ppl gathered in a farmhouse”. The rule in itself sounds like a joke. However, to overcome such traffic snarls, a new rule has been sanctioned, which includes ppl getting *arrested* if more than 5 of them are present in a farmhouse!! There was a news report of some bandwallahs getting arrested for the effect. Undoubtedly concerned as the authorities are, they end up making ridiculous rules which ppl still find a way about. This brings another thought to mind.. aren’t we as citizens supposed to contribute our bit, by not indulging in such conspicuousness? Probably when it comes to each individual, he’s out to prove that he’s got as lavish a lifestyle as one of the elite khaandaans in those K-serials, no matter what it takes (generally a huge loan) to prove so. I think that’s why Muslim, Sikh and even South Indian weddings are much better because at least they take place in the daytime and the ‘sho-shaa’ is a little played down. Of course, if they have to show how affluent they are, there’s no stopping them.

This is the zamana of designer weddings and weddings managed by *event* management companies..where everything from the pins that the bride sports in her bum…oops bun.. to the jootis of the dulha that would be hidden by the girls side (a common game played up north) is designed by the ‘oh-so-exclusive’ designers. I have seen weddings where regardless of the status of the two families involved, the bride swishes in and out of dresses as if she’s a part of some bollywood rigmarole. Had the dresses not been non-living things, they would probably have been in grateful tears to at least get their 5 minutes of fame, after which in all probability they would never see the light of the day (or night for that matter).

As Barkha Dutt, discussed in some episode of ‘We the people’ recently, why is it that opulent and lavish weddings are becoming *the* thing today? Aren’t we going overboard with the trends? Gone are the days, when Maharajas used to have such elaborate weddings.. nowadays everyone is a Maharaja in his own right. Ideally speaking a court marriage would be the simplest and the best. No jhanjhat, no irritating relatives trying to outdo each other, no hassles of money or managing these ‘events’ and just think of how you could spend all that money you just saved. Personally, hypocritical as it may sound, I wouldn’t like a court marriage. But I would definitely like a quiet affair, where the guest list doesn’t include more than a 100-200 close friends/relatives… Where I can be myself, enjoying my marriage instead of becoming a barbie doll that the bride ends up becoming, with the two sets of parents as the owners.