Marriage is an important ritual in the Indian society. No matter how modernized we become, we still are stuck to our age old rituals and beliefs and this is what makes us culturally different and diverse from the rest of the world. We value our traditions so much that more often nonsensical riots break up hither and thither due to some uncanny logic being fed into our system and our blindly following them. Wondering why am I writing this all of a sudden?
It all started with a surprise visit of an Australian friend to India. He was here on some business, but since his work wrapped up sooner than expected, he decided to explore India and learn more about its traditions. Unfolding these traditions and understanding them becomes easier when you have an Indian friend standby and in this case I was the scapegoat.
We started from Kashi to Delhi and then to the suburbs of cities flooded by North Eastern mass and Bengalis. And he was amazed to see so much of diversity, rituals and colors.
Day 01: KASHI
It started with temple visits, munching on Jalebis and Lassi and lastly Ganga Aarti, which to him was beyond understanding. Why would one just worship the water? Release so much of flowers, lanterns and stuff in the air. No that he was disrespecting the traditions, but isn’t it polluting the river and the air as well? And aren’t we since long fighting to keep Ganga clean? Made sense to me, but you need to keep quiet when it comes to religious sentiments, you never know when you would be a victim to a mob and succumb to death for just not speaking as the bind believers want.
Day 02: DELHI DARSHAN
While the entire day, we visited all the historical places in and around Delhi and munched on all the famous delicacies, the evening was the most interesting part and what he was looking forward to. One of our close friends was getting married, an invitation I could not let go and had to attend. That means my Australian friend would have the chance to have a close look at an Indian wedding. We arrived at around 07:30 p.m. at the venue and it was flooded with people and guests from all around. The bride and the groom had already arrived and there was hustle and bustle everywhere. Loud music blaring from the speakers, relatives and friends grooving at the dance floor, food, wine, it was all grand. The family of the bride was stressed as they did not want the arrangements to fall low in any way and ensure that their beloved daughter do not end up listening and facing rage at her new home. While this all seemed normal to us, but, my Australian friend, seemed restless and upset. He just wanted to leave as soon as he could.
He had his flight scheduled the next morning and hence we left early from the venue. Upon asking, what made his mood sour, he replied, I really do not understand the logic behind all this? So much of wastage for what, a simple marriage, wherein two persons would spend the life together? Does this ensure the girl would be happy? The food was great, but people still kept commenting. The loud music was disturbing. The parents were not at ease, and the gifts were too much in number- you never know if it was dowry. This is really disappointing and outrageous. I would rather go to the court and sign some papers than indulge in those sort of unnecessary show off, where, none benefits. After all no matter how much you do, people would still say, that things could have been better. He left for Australia that day.
After he left, I sat down wondering, none of what he said was wrong. Whom do we do the show off for? If our children are really meant to be together, they would be, no matter how grand or small a wedding is. I understand, people would say, the parents wanted to celebrate it that way and I respect that, but do you realize how difficult it is for someone from a middle class family to manage such an event? He runs into debts and is left with nothing for the long run. Marriage is a unification of two souls, a bond that two individuals vow to keep under all lows and highs. Either split the bills equally (when you vow to split both happiness and sadness equally), which never happens, or use the amount as a saving for your daughter, who at least would have something to hold on to if the marriage does not work. Rather than that lush wedding, feed the hungry souls and seek their blessings. You have chosen to be together, and that cannot be defined by a lush wedding or a simple one. It is your honesty and dedication towards each other that would strengthen your bond and not the cash and luxuries and accessories that filled your house after the wedding.
“Stay true to each other and embrace each other, rise above this fake rituals and be the change, the world needs.”