Do we take wedding fever too far?
Winter has become a myth in Dhaka, and it has been successfully replaced by the wedding season. Dhaka no longer experiences fog in this myth of a season, but heavy smog is seen to descend. This smog not only obscures our vision but also causes breathlessness, just like those ambitious “holud” rehearsals do. Weddings are no longer a quaint and private affair; rather, they are a silent yet raging challenge thrown at the next team. Happy moments are to be celebrated because that is what life is all about. But we often forget that we are not descents of Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah (last independent Nawab of Bengal, who handed Bengal to the British on a silver platter), and that renting a fort for those larger than life weddings would not make it ours.
On a regular, traffic-filled weekday, while driving home, I noticed two rows of cars were parked right on the road near Nobo Theatre. After going further, I noticed impeccably dressed people getting out of their cars with lavish dalas, which explained the hold up. Blinded by the bling and astounded by the wedding party’s obvious oblivion about the inconvenience they were causing, I drove home. This pushed me to ponder about grand weddings and how truly unnecessary they are.
The time when weddings used to be a single-day affair is long gone. People now opt to have at least five events before they are finally married. They often start with the bachelor/bachelorette parties, and then go on to the holud/sangeet, and then the quintessential mehendi that will be gatecrashed by the groom and his friends just like the director (wedding planner/ bride/ groom) scripted and it, on most occasions, ends with the wedding and the reception. However, after-parties are quite common these days, so the number might stretch to 6 events per wedding. This array of events not only requires months of planning but also a lot of cash. Just because our parents did not fulfill their promise of buying us a Cinderella dress for our 11th birthday, does not mean that we will now splurge on that Sabyasachi lehenga. It’s not only the bride and the groom who are in pursuit of perfection; the family members and friends thrive for it as well.
A day that is meant to serve as a happy memory for years to come for the ones getting married, very often becomes a nightmare. The bride and groom now try to make their day perfect for the guests, and in recent times, for the stalkers on social media who probably go through every wedding video to laugh at the pettiness -- or worse, to steal the brand new choreography to “Kala Chashma”. The to-be-wed couples nowadays are rarely worried about losing their bachelor status; rather, what keeps them up at night is if the Tiger Shroff and Madhuri Dixit of the dance crew would finally show up on one of their big events. Also, quite often, the dreams of the maid of honor, best man, wedding planner or disaster manager are mercilessly shattered; their dream of finding themselves a partner are trampled upon. This whole process becomes emotionally taxing for quite a few people. So it begs the question: Is it really worth it?
With some of our famous and favourite world leaders claiming that global warming is a hoax, we have also started believing that there is no need for individual accountability. We don’t realize that it is not just “one day”, but too many “one days”. Painting the town red with those fairy lights and fire crackers not only leaves a dent in our pockets, but also burns a huge hole in our ozone layer as well. Coming up with debates like “what about those aerosols/ air conditioners/ cars?” would not really help us, as change should start within ourselves. The carbon footprint that our acts are cumulatively leaving behind will, after a point, be irreversible. Trying to one-up the last best wedding isn’t only draining us mentally, but stripping us of our non-renewable resources. All our lives, we are asked to be responsible. But during the most important phase (for some) of our lives, we become exceptionally careless and insensitive -- to a degree that borderlines on insanity. Apparently, marriage is a huge responsibility, but we tend to lose our sense of responsibility during it.
What’s important for us to take into consideration -- at a time when, as a culture, we’ve started banking on the extravaganza that weddings have now become -- that our actions have certain, long-term consequences that could turn the lives we live upside down. Maybe what we truly need is a celebration of a monumental event of our lives, which also does not, slowly but surely, destroy the earth, our home.