We come from a society that I would carefully term as people who are “lost in transition”. We don’t consider ourselves backwards because we let you wear jeans. Yet, we are not okay with things like having guy friends, inter-racial/gay marriages, live-in relationships because of ‘humare sanskar’ (our moral values) after all.
I am a 90s kid, and I’ve been through an identity crisis myself over the decades. I always wanted to be the ‘layak beti’ (the ideal daughter), but I also cried alone when things didn’t happen my way. I grew up watching cringe-worthy cinema and always understood the typical way of doing things.
Then came the time when I was introduced to the concept of Indian Muslim marriages. At first, they looked charming—the beautiful attires, the elaborate food menu, the glittering décor. But soon enough, I noticed something common that was missing: the bride! I hardly ever saw the bride, maybe because it wasn’t as important as the gulab jamuns for anyone! She was somewhere hidden in a room in the corner.
She survives on air and water the whole time because dulhan ko bhookh nahi lagti (the bride doesn’t feel hunger). And if at all she is lucky to be out in the light, she is asked to be on a sofa sitting there like a dead person while a free circus of people comment on her jewellery, complexion or any other part you can hardly see under the heavy lehenga, which was also not her first choice.
It is a shame that even today, a bride and a groom don’t make any decisions for their big day: the guest list, the food menu, the rasmo riwaj… Except for the two of them, everyone has a ticket to enjoy the circus.
In the name of traditions, people are still being tossed around; their emotions are thrown up and down. They are told to give in if they appear to be a rebel at all. They hesitate to stand up for their own desires because yeh to sabka din hai!
But I have my deep intentions to flip this coin.
In my seven years of working with young and diverse people, I feel fortunate enough to have unlearned a few things. And every time I begin to feel guilty, I’m unable to practice the new, refined thoughts that I have built inside myself.
Shayad apni shadi tak toh sab na badle, magar koshish jaari rahegi, isse badalne ki. (Maybe we won’t change until the time of our marriage but we will keep trying…)