Sunday, July 29, 2007

My views on traditional weddings

Traditional weddings have changed over time. Weddings are special occasions and personal too. In the past, it involved families from both sides and of course, the very near and dear. Recent times have brought us into a ‘Flat world’ where our profession has made it is easy to communicate, travel and contact people. A wedding invite is therefore an SMS or email away! Celebrations in the current times have really gone out of control and are more commercial and business-like. The amount of money that is spent on trivialities and food/return gifts is a sheer waste. Wedding planners have appeared to have made it very convenient for the busy. In the process of trying to catch up with countries professionally, which are in fact actually contributing to a changed society in more ways than one, we are giving in to new, unnatural situations.

Urban folks seem a confused lot when it comes to ‘organized’ celebration at weddings where limits can’t be set so easily. Even in simple-weddings, we often come across too many varieties being served because it is the in-thing and more often than not, we find piles of untouched sweets and half-savored dishes finally go into the recycle bin both human and non-human. The current trend in weddings is to serve too many items and confuse people who end up eating too much. It is high time we change our mindset.

Simple strings with native flowers and garlands of roses, that are locally available, seem to be no longer in fashion. Decoration with imported flowers is wasteful. In reality these are in addition to the traditional mango/coconut-leaf decorations. Current trends do not actually give you the traditional choice as it is mostly out of reach. Wedding Silk and the concept of being a vegetarian do not gel especially in traditional south Indian weddings. Here again lakhs of rupees are being spent lavishly- “otherwise what will they think”- kind of attitude sets in. Most of our localities are often studded with slums and little do we care for the welfare and cleanliness of our local community whose empowerment depends on our initiative. Crackers and loud music are yet another public nuisance contributing to costs, global warming and ill-health.

Lavish weddings splashed by media can have unexpected repercussions on people belonging to the middle-class. Like energy and water, food too needs to be conserved. The reason is simple- we should give this a serious thought and reduce wastage especially in a populous country like ours. Talking of food wastage in wedding, we find similar situations of food wastage especially in conferences, meetings, mass gatherings, clubs etc. We need to remind ourselves that many people in both Africa and India do not even get a meal a day. There is absolutely no need to be extravagant which is usually considered an indicator of a person’s affluence, popularity or ability to bear the expenditure.

Many will agree with such concerns raised here. A personal example from our lives is that after the demise of a close member of our family, we treated school children in the neighborhood to snacks rather than celebrating or performing rituals which we half-comprehend. The happiness writ on the faces of children was very moving and in turn gave us the satisfaction of having made them happy. It is our responsibility to lessen the evident gap between the have and have-nots.
Well, we as educated people need to wake up to reality. As caring folks, it is time we bring about a change in our society. Everybody may not donate the money for a cause, but it would certainly benefit the society at large if such trends are discouraged.

Let me put on my armor and get ready for the onslaught!!

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