Marriages are made in heaven, they say. But look around, and you see some people seeking to recreate heaven on earth for the occasion.
The other day I received an invitation to attend the marriage of my friend’s daughter. The card itself was the size of a news magazine, in six pages, in thick, good quality paper. Each page contained details of the activities on days prior to and after the marriage. It also gave directions to reach the venue and instructions to park vehicles. The pre marriage days’ activities included the applying mehendi on the girl’s hands, various cultural activities and so on. On the day prior to the marriage a musical concert by a well-known singer was arranged, to be followed by a five-course dinner. On the day of the marriage, the baarat would be received with the accompaniment of musical bands and fireworks. The marriage ceremony itself would last three hours, with various personages blessing the couple and so on. This would be followed by another five-course lunch.
All these arrangements took me back by around 35 years when I got married. Friends and relatives were invited for this marriage also and the whole ceremony lasted less than half an hour. Everybody who attended had a sumptuous lunch and blessed the young couple. The wedding invitation during those days was a simple letter inviting a person to attend and bless the couple.
When I compare these I wonder about the eagerness of present-day people to show off money power. What is the need to spend so much money on a simple occasion? While the invitation card itself costs hundreds of rupees per card now, the total expenditure on the whole event will run into millions of rupees — and this excludes the gold, dress, and so on. Has anybody ever thought of such wasteful expenditure? Why can’t we spend this money for some useful purpose? And talking of the food served, I am sure half of what is prepared will be going as waste.
It has become a fashion to seek the services of event managers, who even arrange for volunteers to welcome guests. However, it is high time we did some loud thinking about the need for such pomp and show. The government should bring in some restriction on such celebrations and put a ceiling on such expenditure or impose heavy luxury tax for expenditure above a certain level.