There was this little conversation that became a discussion, an argument with raised voices and even then it was difficult to hear over the snarling sound of traffic and the tuk tuk of the auto rickshaw engine. The shouting that was more partially out of disagreement with the other, annoyance and partly because of the din and noise on the busy road ceased abruptly when the destination was reached. I and R (my daughter) have not taken up the argument from where we left it lurching that late evening.
However the point which I presume she was arguing about was one’s freedom to spend as much money in any which way as one wants one one’s wedding and that it is one’s prerogative. I wonder if she disagreed with the vulgarity and inappropriateness of that vanity in the context. Though she dismissed the possibility of her aping in her life such profligate flaunting and that sounded remarkable!
What prompts me to bring up this subject in the Post is that it is disheartening to see at close quarter young women and young men disinclined to even think of avoiding ostentation and vanity. Certainly the major guilt has to be apportioned upon the parents. Upon the miserable argument of upholding tradition and convention they wittingly or unwittingly assign women as an instrument and the solemnness of wedding as a spectacle.
I mentioned to an elder person about a recent commendable instance where a promising young actress in the Malayalam film industry wed her colleague without such jaundiced display of wealth. In fact the young couple went to the Cancer Center & hospital in Kochi and donated fifteen lakhs of Rupees by cheque. I also told her that people want to be like the Jones next doors and even be one up on the other by displaying and flaunting. She disapproved my statement and said that we must respect the opinion of the general public and cannot be singularly revolutionary. She exclaimed that if Sonia Gandhi does something that may be lauded but if we were to do the same people may ridicule.
So the onus is volleyed around.
I do not disagree that wedding day is in our midst still once in a life time pleasance. People would want to be special and be doing something extraordinary on the day. But decking the bride head to toe in gold and precious stones, hosting sumptuous multiple course dinner for folks already ploughed under by their over indulgence and gluttony is something that must be recommended forcibly for eternal rotting in hell if there is an afterlife.
Looking at the gatherings at a couple of wedding recently (one in the family) I mused if we Indians tend to have a wide spread of relatives, friends and acquaintance than the average family in the West.
R, after the wedding in the family expressed her incense and anguish at the bride being decked up like a marionette over burdened with heavy silk sari and loads of gold all over her besides having to change her robes a few times, while the fella was walking about as if on a stroll by the beach. It is difficult to ignore the empathy and the virtual feeling that she expressed. Would she change her opinion that there need be unrestrained display and spending of money on weddings? Would she agree it cannot necessarily be one’s prerogative to hurl around ones wealth even if it is earned?
She may not disagree, I’m sure that it is still a masculine world however and as much the emancipators (sic) want to liberate the female sex. However and as much the haute couture damsels on prime TV channels discuss and debate the liberated Indian women.
In comparison there is no difference between the Ambani’s obscene eye sore, his mansion the “Antilla” overlooking the slums of Mumbai and the average wedding in Mallu land.