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… 🙂