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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weddings Or Parades?

Published in my column "Kathmandu Chapters" in Life And Times Weekly, November 6.

It’s funny how I have been thinking of writing on this topic for so long but only decided to do so for my column this week and when the timing so aptly coincided with the big Kim Kardashian fairytale wedding crashing to bits after surviving only 72 days, I took it as a sign from the universe. It was about time, I recorded my views on WEDDINGS, once and for all.

Kim earned a good 18 million dollars selling her photo rights of the wedding alone

Before moving on to the main topic, however, I have a little something to share.  You know, a few of my fellow writers relate with me but most of whom I tell this simply brush it off as “silliness” when I tell them that I don’t really know what opinion I might hold for a certain agenda, until I start writing about it. Even right now, as I write, I have a vague idea of what I think of weddings, Nepali weddings in general, but will be able to take a solid stance on a notion, only by the end of this article. Writing is like taking a journey within myself, my facts, my fantasies, my soul all come into one place to help me zero in, in an idea; writing to me is an adventure of a special kind.

That said, and moving right back to the main story, a wise head was once quoted as saying, “If only people made half as much effort to make a beautiful marriage more than a beautiful wedding……(sigh)”
I couldn’t sigh with agreement more.

Kim Kardashian who came to light in 2007 after her leaked home-sex-video, which most believe as “carefully backed up by porn movie industry”, married her basketball star beau in what was dubbed as America’s Royal Wedding, reportedly fetching her a whopping 18 million dollars just for the photo rights alone. With 20,000 dollars worth of wedding cake and 18,000 dollars each that cost her for her three Vera Wang wedding gowns and many such investments from top-notch business brands looking to promote their own names with the big Kardashian bash, it was indeed a fairy tale wedding, really. Just that they seem to have overlooked a rather important bit of the union called MARRIAGE, that was far from fairy tale.
And that's her wedding cake ..phew .. and both the two vera wang wedding dresses and this cake was a gift to her. One extravagant wedding where the couple didnt have to spend a single penny and instead earned a big dough. :)

Kim might have gotten brands to sponsor her larger than life wedding, but the extravagance and the need for a lavish wedding seem to have embedded even the ordinary of people.

Especially true in context to our country where people see weddings as more of a way to make a statement; the beauty of two beautiful lives coming together as one, often takes a back seat.
I do not come from a large family background and therefore have few cousins and relatives living in Kathmandu, which leaves me with relatively lesser weddings and ceremonies to attend. And it was only a few years ago, when I attended for the first time, a full-blown Hindu wedding of my cousin brother. What I witnessed left me in utter despair.

Under the scorching heat, he wears a thick Dhaka Daura Suruwal belted by a Patuka. The bride with her head bowing down behind a red veil walks behind him as they circle a spot. A group of pandit’s helpers, yell at the couple for walking in the wrong direction, the bride’s mother yells back saying it’s the right way to do it. They argue for a while as the confused pair holds off. Beads of sweat from the sweltering heat overwhelm the groom and yet he sits legs folded in front of a blazing fire. Four grueling, barbecuing hours with the priest and the fire, before they are finally pronounced husband and wife. And, at the end of it all, what should have been a beautiful wedding day for two people ends up being a day for everybody else but them.

And of course, there is the tradition of giving a party for reception, a party from the groom’s side and then a party from the bride’s side. It must have been a part of a long followed culture, but shouldn’t traditions like these be customized in accordance with time, especially when the inflation is at its all time high? Why cant the two people in wedlock, invite just their loved ones and throw just one party together? “Togetherness”- isn’t that what marriages teach us to be?

I am sure you know of people who have drowned themselves in loans and debts just to throw what society would accept as a standard wedding. And you must also be in the know of people, who have invested money in beverages for their wedding parties, that if put together would be worth buying off state-of-the-art apartments in the city. 

 Personally, I would rather have it invested somewhere for brighter prospects of my family’s future than have it spent on alcohol- the vaporizing spirits, seriously.

But people of course have all the rights to spend their money any which way they like it. Perhaps, they host luxurious weddings for their children because it’s a once in a lifetime (hoping) super special occasion.

But mostly, people go ends to spend a fortune in these events because of what is hard-wired in our society : that notion which measures people’s status with the size of wedding parties they throw.
And time and again I find weddings, all glitz and glamour from the outside but as shallow in the inside. And time and again, I find it hard to answer as to what may be the need to invite people from far and wide, who’d rather relish in making judgments of how lavish the wedding is, how many varieties of dish is being served, how much worth of jewelry the bride may be wearing, how well dressed are the people in attendance?

Why cant weddings be what is meant to be. A celebration of two hearts that come in unison to love each other? Why can’t it be celebrated only with in the presence of a special few who truly cherish the bond?

But when the time comes, will I have the strength to fight the expectations of our hard-wired society to throw a parade of a wedding event? Most importantly, will I meet someone whose family would happily give in to my perspective? That, only time will tell.

Here is wishing all the to-be-newly-weds this coming wedding season, a blissful married life ahead of them.


  1. i love it ur blog on marriage...today mornin i just attend a party of my fren's marriage.it was from bride side and ppol were saying there shud b party frm groom side as well....well i quite like ur preference given to joint party by groom n bride with d near n dear ones......luv ur blog sam keep it up.....

  2. i completely agree with you... weddings now a days is more about showing off than the rituals and traditional values...

    love how you mirrored my feelings! you're an amazing writer... always feel inspired reading your blogs! :)