Archive for November, 2012

A pompous affair

 In India, celebrations be it wedding, festivals or any occasion of joy has always been a pompous affair, an affair with lots and lots of fun, extravaganza, entertainment. Along with these, for the hosts it is also a depiction of richness and wealth in various forms, right from booking a lavish place for the celebrations to giving an unique and more important, costly gift(s) to the guests; anything that makes their function, an event that remains in everyone’s mind for a very long time and is quoted as an epitome of lavishness.

Unfortunately, nobody thinks about the flipside of this entire pompous affair; these affairs which result in unhealthy competition which sadly involves people who are not so affluent, disturbing the peace of the surroundings and wastage.

Here is an example –

Satvik and Sandhya became proud parents of a girl child after 12 long years of their marriage. As expected, they and their family were overjoyed. After 3 months of the baby birth, both families decided to have a naming ceremony. Naming ceremony is a Hindu event of officially giving an infant a name which sticks onto the kid for the whole lifetime. Both families being affluent decided to make this rare occasion a memorable event, not only for themselves but also for those who attend the function, thereby spending money like water.

A lavish hall in a posh locality was booked. A record number of people were invited. Kgs of gold and silver jewelry was bought exclusively for the 3 month baby (not sure if the baby would feel bad if the amount of gold and silver was any less). Lots of gifts were bought for the guests. Catering services were booked.

The auspicious day arrived. Baby was given the holy bath and then dressed in a beautiful kanjeevaram lehenga. Then the baby was adorned with gold necklace, gold chain, gold earnings, gold anklets, practically gold everywhere on the body.

The ceremony began in the hall booked. There were loud fireworks as if celebrations were in direct proportion with the noise produced by these fireworks; more the noise, more the happiness. Kanjeevaram sarees and gold ornaments clad women, men in Kanjeevaram dhoti, kurta with gold chains and rings and kids again in gold jewelry and kanjeevaram dress started pouring in along with boxes with gift wraps. Some of them who didn’t get their gifts wrapped started to open their gifts and compare it with their neighbors and feel contented that their gift is better than their neighbors’.

The ceremony got over and kid was named ‘Sugandha’. It was time to give the gifts to the baby. Close relatives had no choice but to give, as you guessed it right, GOLD!!! ; Some more gold to the baby. The baby didn’t seem particularly happy seeing gold as much as it was seeing some toy gifted, wonder why.. 😛 

Now comes the most interesting part. Yes, food…. The lunch started with serving some payasam on the banana leaf followed by some sort of a halwa in a platic cup. Then came some rotti and chutney, three varieties of rice a little while later. This was followed by badam milk in a plastic cup, vegetable biryani, dates barfi, another variety of payasam, some fried papads, pooris and much more and ended thankfully with plain rice and rasam  followed by  plain rice and curd. While leaving, each of the guest was given a nice gift.

While all the above said is a way for Satvik and Sandhya’s family to celebrate their happiness, they are innocuously setting a wrong precedence.

  • Their uninhibited show of lavishness and wealth in each and every small thing sets expectations in others to try and do something more flamboyant. The outcome would be disastrous if the people, on whom these expectations are set, are not so well off. They might end up in a swirl of debts from which they might never be able to recover.
  • Loud noises, may it be from the fireworks or from the music is always hazardous to health. There may be people who are old or weak-hearted in and around the place of celebration. Nobody has any rights to be happy at someone else’s cost.
  • The worst effect of all these brags is the wastage of food, especially in a country which ranks 2nd in child malnutrition globally where 47% of the kids are under nourished.  Either varieties of food can be cut down i.e. instead of having 4-5 types of sweets or 4 types of rice, there can be 2 – 3 sweets and 1 – 2 types of rice. Also, food needs to be made considering the approximate number of guests. There is no point cooking food for 700 people when the number of guests is well under 500. This reduces the wastage of food, which by some means can save the life of another kid.
  •  Usage of plastic can be very well avoided. In a big banana leaf used to serve food, a little space can be made for the halwa and a steel glass can be used for badam milk. This reduces the addition of non-degradable material into the world there-by avoiding some pollution.

Everyone wants to celebrate their happiness, especially one that has come after a long wait. But candid show of wealth and wasting food is not the only means of rejoicing.

Let us try to be innovative and find some better ways of celebration… 🙂


The two-seater journey

This is a small dedication to the most beautiful and harmonious couple who started their two-seater journey called marriage on this very day and are  completing the 4th year of their wonderful journey.

When you are in school, your parents have only one dream for you – to ensure that you score well in your exams and stand first in class. When you finish school, they dream of a lucrative job which would earn you reputation and loads of money. Once you have achieved this, then comes a dream (or nightmare for some) which would change the whole course of your life permanently – MARRIAGE!!!

I, like many have always wondered the necessity of marriage in one’s life. You need to study to get a good job, you need a job to make a living, but why do you need to get married? I have always been in a dilemma since I personally never thought marriage is mandatory; but relatives, parents, friends seem to believe marriage is the utmost necessity in life and all the high grades, lucrative jobs are the key to choose among the best breed as husband / wife. 🙂 🙂

But with all this humor also comes the dreadful thought of not making the right choice, of failure in marriage. The impact of such as disaster would be catastrophic. Here are some of such instances I have seen in recent times –

Case 1: Vijay and Sandhya are happily (??) married for last 10 years. Both come from affluent families, marriage arranged by parents and hence their match was perceived to be made in heaven. The only discord in their otherwise perfect match is that even after 10 years, Sandhya is not able to conceive. This one reason was sufficient for Vijay and his family to break this marriage and send Sandhya back to her parents. Ideally 10 years is a long and sufficient time for a couple to strengthen their relationship to such an extent, that every obstacle no matter how big or small will never affect the marriage. But so was not the case here.

Case 2: Bharath and Sumana’s marriage was arranged by their parents after matching their horoscopes to the microscopic details. As per the match scores, they were supposed to be made for each other and would face no problems in their relationship. But the reality turned out to be something else. Within months after their marriage, Bharath started to feel a discomfort in the relationship. Sumana seemed to be indifferent, had no concerns about Bharath or his family. She felt no love with Bharath and even after months, he remained an outsider to her. She started picking on him for every small thing, arguments and fights increasing with each passing day. End result was that, within months of this perfectly matched marriage, two of them separated and are now living alone.

Case 3: Kiran and Manoj are both from affluent families where marriages get fixed based on the weight of money, gold etc. each family can give and take. Kiran and Manoj got married because Kiran’s parents gave Manoj a big car and a flat and Manoj’s parents gave Kiran kilograms and kilograms of gold and silver. Nobody ever bothered to think whether Kiran and Manoj can understand each other and live together. The result, Kiran is back to her parents’ place within a month of marriage along with the car and flat.

Case 4: Rajiv is working in an IT major for last 7 years and is settled in US. His parents, like many found him a beautiful, smart girl Neelam working in an IT company. Rajiv has always been mama’s boy, a guy who follows his parents’ advice to the T and never talks against them. Neelam is very happy to marry such a guy and even quits her job for Rajiv. They get married and Rajiv flies back to US promising to take Neelam soon. But that soon never happens. Calls after calls go to Rajiv from Neelam but in vain. Once while Neelam was trying to reach Rajiv, a girl picks up the call and informs Neelam that she is his wife. Neelam is shattered. She feels her whole world has collapsed. Today, she is back to her parents and is searching for a new job.

All the above incidents make me terrified about the thought of getting married. I feel there is no such thing called fidelity and trust in today’s world. These incidents make me distant myself from marriage. But still somewhere in some corner of my mind I am still considerate about marriages and that is because of this beautiful couple I had the fortune to know for some time now.

Gopal and Rajini are vibrant, bubbly, talkative and very expressive in their thoughts. Their marriage was arranged affair, with possible involvement of horoscopes. There were also supposed to be match made in heaven. But unlike others mentioned above, they were also determined to prove this point. Being so talkative and open with their thoughts, I am sure they would be some arguments in their everyday life, but both of them are mature enough not to take the day-to-day arguments to the next level and make an irresolvable issue out of them. What I like the most is their concern for each other, which even after 4 years of marriage has not even a wee bit reduced. I still remember, couple of years back since their marriage, both of them calling each other every now and then from their respective offices and taking a stock of the happenings. It so happened, that Rajini had to go abroad for a year, last year. But distance never came in their relationship. Both of them were longing to talk to each other and were waiting for that specific time of the day, which suited both of them to converse. I have personally seen Gopal’s various expressions and emotions (which he thinks he has masked without others notice) many times, pain when Rajini was away, eagerness waiting for time to call Rajni and exaltation when she was coming back. He was so excited, that he had informed almost everyone in the office about her coming back and had taken off stating “I want to spend time with my wife” 🙂

As the destiny plays a spoil sport many times, it so happened that this year again on their anniversary they are not together and it is Gopal who is now abroad. But I am sure that physical distance can never bring emotional distance in this lovely couple.

It has become such a rare thing these days, that even after 4 years of marriage, the emotional connect, mutual respect and the concern and care for each other remain unchanged and undeterred. These are the key things for a successful marriage and these are the couple who helps others retain their trust in the otherwise doomed world of marriage.

Wishing this beautiful couple a very happy marriage anniversary. Welcome to the 5th year of the journey together and pray that your happy journey continues forever and ever.

P.S. All names have been changed to keep the anonymity of the relevant people intact