Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The marriage conundrum

Marriages are made in heaven and with the advent of the marriage season in Delhi, the city is snowballed with traffic jams, loud music, blocked roads and processions made up of heavily dressed people. Not criticising the wedding ceremony per se, all weddings are crazy, its a licence for people to showoff as much as they can, from dresses and food to the loudest music and fattest aunty.
Somehow the traditions involved in a typical Hindu wedding are what irk me the most (I don't know about other weddings so pardon me, but I am pretty sure that almost all types of weddings come with their own package of ancient redundant activities garbed in veil of 'tradition'). Coming back to a Hindu wedding, the "wedding" starts when a local priest is called on to determine the best possible moment and day to get married, so instead of choosing a day that will be convenient to everyone and the bride and groom (say a weekend or some holiday maybe?), an outlandish day right smack in the middle of the most important season of exams or audits or some tournament is chosen. Then with a flourish the priest will decide that at exactly 4: 47 in the morning the wedding ceremony should commence, the pheras in the case of most Hindus. So the swollen eyed people, crappy children and pitiful bride groom gather around a pyre while the priest recites mantras and gives his stamp of approval. Well, it makes perfect sense, why should the bride and the groom have a say in their wedding? The priest is the most important entity apparently and he will decide. Maybe he should decide the timing of the bowel movements as well, makes for better digestion that just going and shitting at any random moment. Doesn't it?
Then there is the roka or the engagement ceremony. Its a party with the exchange of rings and its fine. No nonsense (usually), the couple exchanges rings and you are done. Go dance, have a ball, be happy, you are getting married!
One thing that stabs a knife right into my feminist heart is the tradition (for a lack of a better word) where after the wedding ceremony, the poor girl has to leave her parent's house and go to the groom's house. Ermmm Shouldn't the couple go to their own house? Why should the poor girl be treated like an object that should be exchanged while the smug groom looks on? Why cant this be a marriage between two people rather than a complicated handing over ceremony of the daughter? This beats me.
And the various other things that keep happening, from summoning distant relatives who feel obliged to give some sort of token for their presence, it doesn't matter that the couple hasn't really heard of this aunty who is the maasi of the bride's father's sister husband, they have to come and perform some elaborate act in front of the pyre for the mere fact that they are related.
Why cant a wedding ceremony be without all this fuss? It is a beautiful day to be celebrated by the couple and their family, leave it at that. Get married at a convenient time, do away with the things that waste time. Sign a contract and be legally married and party for two days or seven, its your wish.
Two people are getting married. Get over it.

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