Sunday, October 12, 2014

wedding extravaganzas

An article in a weekly talks  about qualified graduates from Engineering and Management Institutes quitting their jobs to follow their passion for photography – not fashion ,industrial or commercial  but wedding photography!  It seems creative wedding photographs are in great demand and  photographers earn a few lakhs  of Rupees from such  assignments.

Thanks to technology and the use of photoshop, photographers play around with visuals and backgrounds in such a way that  the final photo album featuring glossy digital printouts is not only very heavy but also has interesting pictures of the young couple in all kinds of filmy situations. Gone are the days when the photo albums  had full size colour prints of the wedding pictures stuck with corner stickers so that they could  be removed from the album if & when  necessary. It was not unusual to find old Wedding Albums with missing photos in later years!

The latest trend, I read, is to hire a photographer  to accompany  newly married couples  on their honey moon so that he  can take candid shots of the couple enjoying themselves in various locations–instead of depending on some strangers to click occasional pictures of the couple in front of important & interesting  landmarks!

A successful business friend of mine  proudly informed   me that he had spent  nearly Rs.10 lakh on wedding photography alone for his daughter’s wedding held at a five star hotel!  What a waste of money! 

These days even  South Indian weddings,  which were traditionally  two day affairs,  are stretching to 4  or 5 days incorporating features like Mehandi, Sangeeth etc. which are essentially  North Indian customs. All these additions are sky-rocketing the cost of weddings .Conducting a wedding has become a nightmare for the bride`s parents!

There is a solution to this problem, as courageously expounded by the son of a good friend. While announcing his intention to marry his sweet heart from his school days he made it very clear to his parents that his fiancĂ© and he had decided to have a very simple registered marriage without any kind of celebrations or rituals. Repeated pleas from my friend to have atleast a small reception to receive the blessings from relatives and friends were vehemently turned down by the couple.  The son told his father that all his friends and relatives can bless  the couple  from  wherever they are.

Though I admire my friend`s son for his courage of conviction, I do not endorse the stand taken by him because marriages and such pleasant rituals are occasions when families and long lost friends get-together. Even estranged sons, brothers, uncles and aunts use such occasions to bury their differences and get  back  into the family fold.

While conducting marriages based on the respective religious rituals of parties involved cannot be wished away by parents , they can certainly cut down on wasteful expenditure. One can begin by restricting the list of invitees, cut down on the multi cuisine menu with a mind boggling  choice which only confuses the guests( nobody eats 10 sweets that are served!) and not wasting money on expensive photography and other  non essential items!

Remember, the most expensive  and dazzling Sari that you bought for your dear daughter is  worn by her only for the wedding reception- never again ;  the heavy Managalsutra loaded with expensive gold that was ceremoniously tied around her neck by the bridegroom finds its place in the safety of the family locker the day after the marriage ceremony is over. When the parents express their displeasure, the girls say, `It is such a nuisance Amma. Besides it is out of fashion to wear the Thali(mangalsutra)every day. I will wear it on special occasions`.

How many of us have the courage to break away from traditions and be practical in conducting marriages? According to a report appearing in Times of India,  a  community living in some villages of Rajasthan have displayed this courage. They  have announced a uniform code  for conducting marriages and limiting wasteful expenditure. The code talks about the number of dhol players and  lights  one can use for the Baraat; wedding spread to have not more than two sweets ; an evening reception after sunset is banned etc. The families breaking the rule are boycotted from attending any events organized by the community and no one will attend events organized by  such defaulters!

I remember during my student days, when there was acute shortage of rice & wheat in the country, there was a `guest control order` under the Essential Commodities Act  restricting  the number of guests who  could be invited  to a wedding. Probably we again need such Laws banning wasteful expenditure at weddings.

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