‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’, as it is famously called, is all about dhinchak dresses, expensive gifts, loads of dahej, distributing sweets to the whole mohalla and having reserved an extra-large banquet hall decorated extravagantly, playing high volume bollywood masala music, a grand food-stall and a long guest list.Â Read the above lines again and answer the question — “Is this what marriage shall be?”
Sadly, this is marriage in our “traditional society”. I am not against anything, any form of celebration or style of enjoyment. But I am in favor of a more sensible and deeper concept of marriage. Why do we have to show off so much? What do we show off? That we have a lot of money? That we are marrying our daughter in a wealthy family? That our son is our prince? That we are very traditional people? That we celebrate so exquisitely that the whole world remembers?
I ask, why do we need to prove all these things like this?Â What do we do with the bride? We ask her to quit her job, sit at home, become an obedient slave and agree to each and every word her husband says? What do we do with the groom? We keep nagging him with the tag of “you have changed after marriage, youÂ don’tÂ care about your parents anymore…this and that”.
Firstly, I don’t say this happens in every family with every married couple or in every marriage ceremony. Secondly, I say that this is happening in many families, to many couples, in many wedding functions.
My first and foremost problem is with the concept of an ‘arranged marriage’, according to which we are supposed to marry a stranger and live together forever. If we fall apart later, we are terrible people for the society. If we oppose an arranged marriage, we are worthless kids who can’t do one ‘little thing’ for their parents who spend their whole life looking after us. I accept the fact that arranged marriages have modernized over time. But you too cannot deny that this modernization is limited to certain sections of the society.
The typical arranged marriages are nothing but a loveless, forced and helpless relationship meant for life. It is forever covered under the burden of society, families, filial pressure and traditions. Even if you say that people do fall in love over a period of time in arranged marriages, I will counter you by saying that it happens because they have to. They have no other options but accept what happens. It is a kind of ‘forced love’. Love, whereas, must be natural. (But, our society has a long way to go to start believing in and regarding anything as such. We have to overcome many notions like, “marriage is essential for everyone”, “pre-marital sex is a sin”, “a girl is not the ‘possession of her biological parents”Â etc., to reach a phase where natural love is what leads to marriage).
The point that I wish to make through this article is – please start looking to the deeper realities and stop accepting everything as it comes. Marriage is beautiful and love is wonderful. But why cannot we let them both be natural, selective and free from obligations? Falling in love because you have to get married to a certain person out of filial duties and societal set up is anyways obligatory and not anyone’s first choice. It is a compromise.
Getting back to where I started – all the show off and glamour involved in the Big Fat Indian Wedding is really shallow. Get closer to it, and you will meet the questions I have raised above. The show off is not worth it because the marriage, the ‘holy tie’, is just an obligation, a compromise, a suppression of emotions and surrender to the society for the two people taking pherasÂ around the holy pyre.