Tuesday, November 22, 2005

India and the Shaadi Dhamakas

I believe that we pack a lot of things into marriage in the sub continent. A look at the arranged marriage and what it means to the many different participants is an important research topic in my opinion that almost all sociology, anthropology and psychology students need to invest in. The success of "Monsoon wedding" and the many other 'shaadi' oriented movies (Hum aapke hai kaun) -- almost every movie has a few scenes devoted to shaadis - should make the rest of us stand up and take notice of this from a educational point of view.

So much so that, while the Americans have their malls and/or their talk shows (I'm not sure which is more popular if you recently saw the Oprah Show and you might have guessed whom I am referring to) and the French have their champs ellysee and wine, the German their beer and the Russians their winters - For us Indians, it's our shaadis - the one stop cultural diaspora of everything we are.

What's got me thinking on marriages? Not mine really. I know of someone who is in US now and got married about a month back. Suddenly I kinda rediscovered the feminine side of her. You know what I'm talking about. It's something about themselves - - a kind of delicate, fragile grace - one could call it. ... It's quite a transformation. Indian weddings are quite festive. There are gifts and part of the etiquette at relatives' homes. The range of colors is enviable - - from reds to pinks to greens to yellows. I now really know how my brother felt when he moaned after his marriage got fixed.

It isn't just about the clothes either. It's about the jewellery, the sudden found freedom to be escorted out and back at the very odd hours of the year. Given a decent husband and family, it is also about a lot more freedom. It can be the woman's first shot at management - that of her home. For once, she might be included in the 'money' talk. It's a big deal, all right. Especially if you're a woman brought up in a traditional house where you were cossotted (read protected) by the men folk and blissfully cajoled by the women folk.

Marriage - the whole show - would be your show. You're the star, the one who gets all the gifts. You'll have scores of people bringing you gifts and you know deep down that thanks to you. It's a win-win for all. Everybody is happy. Everybody gets to 'get out' and meet up with the who's who and when's where. It's our social meter too. Pandey uncle's son is in the states and so she too will soon start her US dreams. Rekha aunty's daughter was Miss Kolkata. Um mmmm - - this is a big deal. So the networking starts (remainconnected though)

I'd like to still come back to the young bride. At around 25 (the only 'right' ages), this could be a heady feeling. You don't have to convince your father to take you out - you have a husband, who is willing and ready. Look at the sheer number of outfits one can get in exchange. Not to mention, jewellery. You don't have to mix and match in your head anymore. You can do it right now real and guess what you can do all of that with yourself! It doesn't stop there even. If you go right ahead and produce an heir, good lord, woman - the world as you know it will be at your feet.

Why would you want to turn all that down for an experience, people at their best still doubt, called love? Arranged marriage is a BIG DEAL according to me. Philosophically you can lean on the BIG side of that phrase - where you talk about acceptance and understanding and sacrifice and compromise - and the inevitability of the stars above. Realistically you can place both your palms on the words DEAL.

Both ways, you can go ahead and exhale now. To me marriage whats that!!!!

Keep reading and remainconnected….


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