Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shaadi Mubarak....!

Binayak Sen.... Anna Hazare.... the new messiahs for the new age patriot. Unfortunately, most of these 20-something, freshly-minted nationalists are political babes-in-the woods. Naive, trusting, gullible. They do not, and perhaps, cannot, look beyond the obvious. But, what they see, fills them with hope. That's enough. Who knows the truth behind those dodgy tapes? How much credibility does Amar Singh have? Or any other decoy, for that matter? The far more important issue is that overdue ferment has taken place. And younsters have discovered the potential for political change rests with them. This is a radical and powerful discovery. If they allow the fervour to dissipate, we may have to wait for another 50 years... and another avatar of Anna. India cannot afford the wait. So, let's not get derailed and distracted by cheap stunts and tactics designed to discredit a worthwhile awareness campaign ( forget Anna and the intricacies of the Lokpal Bill for now). If our Youth turn away at this critical stage and lose interest, the momentum will be lost.
Remember : Even the Berlin Wall came down suddenly. Without any prior warning. Everything is possible.Lagey raho!

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This appeared under 'Opinion' in Hi! Blitz....

I am a seriously worried parent. I have several children still in the marriage mart – and the way weddings are being celebrated these days….chances are I will die poorer than a church mouse if and when they tie the knot. Pity I couldn’t convince any of them to elope and declare themselves man-and-wife after a hasty exchange of garlands in a temple deep in the forests. There is no better ‘sakshi’ than Bhagwan, I kept repeating. Adding, ‘You don’t really need to cart 3000 of your closest and dearest friends as witnesses to some exotic and ridiculously pricey destination overseas. Besides, Mumbai is as amazing as Monaco…. errr…. almost!” Is anybody listening? Naaah. Is discreet no longer sexy? Does nobody do small any more? Clearly not! And I am doomed….
An 80-page book arrived last week. Guess what? That was no book. It was a wedding invitation. And it was so detailed, it has to be preserved for posterity. Let’s call it a mini-reference booklet that provides every, possible factoid associated with the happy occasion – from the names and contacts numbers of the event managers, internationl dj’s, flower people, decorators, hair and make- up artists, beverage and food consultants, lehenga designers, carpenters, lightmen, vanity van suppliers, media partners, chartered accountants, bankers, airline and hotel partners…. I swear. Okay… I’m exaggerating, but just a little. Let me assure you these are not Bollywood types but society people. And there is zero embarrassment attached. It goes without saying that the Wedding Book, arrived on an impressive salver, with a box of hand crafted Belgian chocolates ( does nobody send boxes of mithai these days?). A chosen few received pieces of jewellery, while the middle-rung invitees were gifted Lladro figurines. There were helpful suggestions enclosed – such as what would be the appropriate outfit to wear at the sangeet, which would be celebrated at a secret destination somewhere in the Aegean Sea. Cocktail Swim Wear?? Oh… how could I forget the elaborate recreation of family trees (both parties ), going back four generations?Then, the respective company profiles ( complete with bizarre names for all those shadey companies)?And I’m willing to bet there were balance sheets tucked in there, plus, the annual company report in a separate brocade cover. The ostentatious, gilt-edged invite looked more like a prospectus for an IPO than a shaadi invitation. But , who knows? It could also have been that, too – a dual purpose document leading up to an actual public offering of shares.
I have stopped attending these carnivals a long time ago. What difference does it make to anyone if a few hundred out of the thousands on the long list, don’t show up? Does anybody really miss you? Is your absence noticed? It’s all about cramming the venue with ‘names’ from every field. The recent 250 crores wedding in Delhi took the cake. But I actually overheard a father of the bride in Mumbai saying, “ Is shaadi mein 30 crore lagaya hai…” like he had ‘lagaoed’ 30 crores in the share market with a long term view on profit booking!
I thought wistfully about the days when a wedding invitation was called a ‘Kankotri’. It was first offered to the family deity by the ghar ka purohit. Only then was it personally delivered to the homes of relatives, after rigourously checking the auspicious hours in which to hand it over. The wording was straight forward, to the point and simple. The card was decided as per the family tradition going back a couple of generations. It was issued by the head of the family, and mentioned nothing much more than the venue, date and the time of the ‘hast milaap’. Is there no chance at all of going back to the simplicity of that era? When weddings were ceremonial occasions for genuine celebrations, and not networking venues for the rich and powerful? When an ‘alliance’ meant just that – a coming together of two families, and not a merger of business interests, or a signal that a takeover bid was in the offing? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone ultra- daring decides to break this newly imposed social dictatorship that insists on a display of gross vulgarity when two people decide to hitch up? Which may be why I was charmed by the recent marriage of Varun Gandhi. It seemed solemn and meaningful, understated and elegant. If only they’d kept the press out, it would have qualified as the ideal shaadi…. Band, baaja, baraat and all.

25 comments:

ashwini said...

M'am Anna Hazare is a great man, we have someone to look up yo now! But I hope all that he is doing will bear fruit.
As for the 'wild weddings' of rich people well I remember the words from a classic ABBA song 'Money, Money, Money, must be funny, in a rich mans world'! I wonder how long such marriages will last though?

Sushma Harish -Nee Kallianpur said...

Hilarious- 80 page booklet as wedding invitation for a days's wedding which still awaits even a 80 days commitment too :-)
Believe me, you are just right in saying about the momentum of youngsters. India cant afford an long wait again.

Uppal said...

we can't afford to derail our efforts towards the legislation of a Lokpal Bill.Impediments do come when a magnum opus is being created.

Satish Ashtaputre said...

Yes M'am , we can't to afford to wait now that d India is on threshold to become a superpower.With d kind of corruption,nepotism in d past & at present that can pose a grave threat and hurdle in India's growth & its equations in the world fora.
so,we need many such Annas & young brigade of followers to bring about a change that's d need of d hour!

avidblogger said...

Thoroughly amused to read about the 80 page invite. Where is this going to end. If only people and couples invested as much time in nurturing their relationships as they do in planning these ostentatious weddings, we'll see more successful marriages. What a waste of time and money.Maybe its time one of the hot shot socialites reversed the trend and went back to the simple kankotri, as Shobhaa rightly says. Shobhaa , maybe you should do it when your son or daughter gets married.

Sameer said...

Your wedding article reminded me of my wedding. When Amit and I decided to get married, we had no clue of the whole 'business' side of the weddings -- even in the gay world as well. All we wanted was a simple Maharashtrian wedding with of course some of the rituals modified to suit to same gender wedding. What we very soon started realizing is there is such a business mentality out there which kinda makes you feel outdated if you don't give into their products. Both of us hated that and planned our own wedidng with very few of our friends helping us design the venue and all. In the end, it was a lovely, simple but elegant 'lagna' -- possible first Maharashtrian gay wedding :) In the end, both the patrners need to enjoy the moment and that's what we did. I wish, people realize the real meaning of wedding and stop using this as an opportunity to boast their wealth and social status.

cmpershad said...

` am a seriously worried parent. '

Must be. I remember one incident and it is true [no jokes]. One guy came to select a girl and mind you, he chose the mother :)

How do we know said...

80 page wedding invite with jewelry and Lladro and stuff? Wow!! There is no business like show business..

goodluck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goodluck said...

As long as NCP and Sharad Pawar are there, Anna Hazares cant do much.
Which is more dangerous to Maharashtra? Nuclear plant at Jaitapur or Shivsena at Jaitapur?
Maharashtra needs tremendous power which only nuclear plant can satisfy.
Travelling by air is one of the most dangerous concepts, yet we dont ban it. We try to improve. So allow Maharashtra to progress and allow Jaitapur.
Why TOI organise a morcha with human rights activists against illegal Khap Panchayats which are more dangerous even than corruption? Why there are no more Raja Ram Mohan Roys?

April 20, 2011 8:17 AM

Rajesh said...

good one.. 80 Page wedding card...!! obnoxious!!!

Vistrit said...

Ma'm..one of ur faves Ms. Moni Mohsin had a piece on this topic mentioning the same story playing out in Lahore/Karachi's high society. n she closed the piece by writing, all of this will come to end the same way it started. maybe one high profile socialite will organise a low-key wedding...n then every1 else will fall in line. [!:P! that was a delightful ending to read!]

Divya Virmani said...

Mrs. De,
80 Page wedding invitation surely amused me! But, to tell you the truth, the reality is to spend a fortune on your wedding. Wedding business is a hot business in US, especially when it comes to Indians getting married in US. They have the mullah to spend and they spend it ridiculously. Even the simplest wedding comes under a big umbrella of money.
'People tend to make comments like, it's just one time, go for it'. As if they are paying the bills for Mandap decorator, florist, caterer, venue, waiters. Even a Jaimala is no less than 100 dollars! That too, the simplest one! Forget about Mogra n stuff... lol :P

Theyoginme said...

Yikes.. I just got a 4 page invitation from Toronto, designed and printed in Chandni Chowk. My girls loved it.. it was tasteful invitation and covered a 4 day wedding in July which I would expect would be graceful...

my best wedding recently was BKS Iyengar's grand-daughter.. simple traditional, one eve of reception and a 6 hour Iyengar Brahmin wedding, full of music and tradition and simple food on a banana leaf. Most traditionally dressed were the foreign yogis..one who looked like Nehru - he teaches yoga to Marth Stewart :) ..I think simple traditional weddings are still possible..but the nuveau India may have to look to the west to be inspired.

Tsomo85 said...

cmpershad: Hahaha good one! You so funny!

There's reason why people call it BIG FAT/FAKE INDIAN WEDDING! Anyways, this one is also one of my fav blog of your's as well. Seriously, not everyone can be as wise as you. The most annoying thing is when they make fun of their own culture & start following wester culture for lame reasons. Shobhaa De don't worry, everything will be fine with your children's future. As long as you handle your daughter to the right man, then it doesn't matter even if you handle one single daughter of your's to 2 or 3 groom @ the same time. Infect its even better then big fake wedding; that way we can go back to good old simple & wise tradition & also your daughter can have life time guaranty of wealth & security! Ting!!!! Even I felt the same way of Varun Gandhi's wedding, specially when I heard that the main ceremony was taking place @ Banaras. My 1st thought was wow! very impressive, haven't heard or seen this in a very very long time.

PS. Shobha De there's million reason why I love your blog! Muahhhhhhhh

Tsomo85 said...

And one more, he was proudly wearing nnothing but Dhoti! Now that's hot & got to love it<3 Remind me of AB in guru film. LOL hehehe Sexy!

anil khanna said...

this happens only in india:india holds the record for longest marriage between sir temulji bhicaji nariman and lady nariman.it lasted for 86 years,from 1853 to 1940.they both were cousins and marriage took place when both were aged five.

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Indian Essay said...

Believe it or not, Shobhaa, the more rational-minded middle class world still has those weddings (that you wistfully mention)...you'd have to step a few rungs down to get those invites and that would not be so good, na?

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