The Ring of Gold turns to Stony Burden
Pakistan has a great culture rich with customs. It represents a unique amalgamation of diverse cultures. Although the majority of Pakistanis are Muslims, there is still a strong influence of Hindu culture that is prominent in marriage ceremonies. The people here are so zealous about everything they celebrate, be it Eid or a wedding that none of their celebrations lack enthusiasm.
What I think about Pakistani weddings nowadays is that they have lost their true meaning. It actually is a ceremony to celebrate the wedlock of bride and groom and bring the two families together. However, they are now usually marked with ostentatious displays of wealth. It has merely become a status symbol. I mean a wedding ceremony is not a gathering to brag about each other’s wealth and resources right?
There is this woman, who happens to be my mother’s friend. She got her 20 year old daughter married recently. I heard that they spent beyond their ability. And it disappointed me when I got to know that they couldn’t educate their daughter further after intermediate due to financial constraints. So the question arises that why do people who can’t even afford to educate their daughters, spend so extravagantly? Wouldn’t a decent wedding, without extravagance, be enough to celebrate and to carry out all the playful ‘Rasoomaat’?
Almost all of you must have attended a wedding at least once in your life. As far as my experience goes, there are some things that I particularly hate about Pakistani weddings.
Number one: The mad rush for food. We all love food, I know. But there is always a ‘Muhazzab tareeqa’ for everything. They attack the food just like a lioness attack the zebra. Have they never ever seen this much food in their entire lives? And what happens? Half of the food gets wasted. The other half finds its way onto the lush new clothes of guests during the ‘food fight’. This has happened in almost all the weddings I have been to.
Number two: The teenage girls must have encountered this. The Rishta-hunter aunties, dressed in gaudy colors who scrutinize you with their hawk-like eyes from head to toe. They always freak me out. They usually start off with the never ending accounts of their children’s achievements. They would say that their son is in Harvard or their daughter just made it to a well-known medical college. They usually put me to sleep. -.-
Number three: The ceremony never, I will say it again, NEVER starts on time. At least I have never experienced an on-time wedding ceremony. Sometimes the ‘Chacha’ or ‘Taya’ hasn’t arrived, without whom the ceremony cannot be commenced. Sometimes the arrangements are still going on when the guests arrive. I think they should not mention the time on the invitation cards. What about those who are so punctual that they will arrive on time seeing that even the lights are switched off?
Timings are not followed as if coming late would make the late comers special. The Niqah is at 7, but they usually have to wait for someone who arrives two hours late.
Number four: The extreme grandeur of the whole affair makes me uncomfortable I have mentioned this above already that people spend beyond their means and resources. I don’t understand why we are tied in a vicious circle of flaunting our wealth. Is it really necessary that the ‘Dulha’ should have the latest model car to be decorated? Or to invite professional dancers and singers?
What people fail to realize is that if even half of the amount is spent on the couple, it would help them in the future. Moreover, there is an additional burden of dowry on the bride’s parents. I hate the system of dowry. I have observed that even the girl gives a list of things she wants as dowry even though half of the things she wouldn’t even use her entire married life. The parents fail to realize that the best thing they could give their daughters is education. The material things will not guarantee her a secure future but a good education would.
And all of this show off of wealth, ‘rasoomat’ and extravagance is due to one question that keeps on nagging at the minds of our society. “If we don’t do it, what would our relatives think?” or as it is widely spoken “Bradri kya kahay gi?”. Our cultural norms are so deeply dependant on how to make other people happy that we end up burdening ourselves and destroying the very purpose of the task we perform. Much needs to be done to change this mind-set of our Pakistani people.