Food served at 11 pm, a lot of drinking, mostly out of boredom (because after catching up with old friends and relatives, by day 3 there is nothing else to do), very loud dhols, tempers at who was not ‘respected’ enough. The big andhar bahar gamen wedding is often laughed off as a time in life with lots of drama.
What does it do to a) the emotional health of the couple with each family wanting to do things their way? b) to the financial health of families c) to the health of the environment with all the waste generated d) (and very specifically) to the gut of all the attendees?
I am trying not to be a killjoy here. Weddings are wonderful times in people’s lives if the main idea is the coming together of families and to have a day or two of fun. Instead, they become primarily about what ‘must be done’ because of tradition or satisfying the ego of a few people (often the oldest male or female member from the ‘boy’s’ side).
They seldom focus on the fact that a new relationship is often fragile and the idea that family is meant to support and help build it up, rather than bring it down by taking up opposite positions, sulking, and laying the foundations of discordant relationships. These make for corrosive memories, often brought up years later, sometimes after grandchildren are born!
Then there are the guests, who are often made to wait long hours — sometimes in the cold — on an empty stomach, with alcohol and deep-fried snacks. Anyone who has attended a Delhi wedding knows that ‘shaadi wala khana’ is all about oily food that leaves you feeling overfull. Karan Johar’s weddings may look lovely, but real life weddings imitating them feel like the actual shooting process that is neither pretty nor pleasant, and is actually about waiting around, long hours of make-up, and uncomfortable outfits.
What if people picked comfort over discomfort? What if we made the couple — and not the outfits or the décor or who has to touch whose feet — the centre of the celebration? When we shift our focus to why we are doing something, we cut away the fat, and so much falls into place. Everything, including the food and guest list, is likely to be thoughtfully done, the peripheral falls away as does the waste, and relationships take centre stage.