I was watching some Malayalam channels after a long time, because DD Malayalam, the only Malayalam channel I watch if I do watch TV, has stopped airing for a few days. It was an interesting visual experience. Gold advertisements dot the programmes at regular intervals and the jewelery they showcase are exquisite in its design and intricacy. Truly charming. But the regularity of these ads and their opulence leaves you slightly sick, like when you have eaten a bit too many sweets. It was the same sick feeling I had when I attended weddings last Christmas season. And what particularly made me sick was the bridal trousseau!
I understand the need of a bride to look resplendent on her wedding day. But does anybody care other than the family of the couple? And going bankrupt or spending lavishly for a couple of hours is plain wastage unless you are rolling in money. But then I am not talking of that class of people here.
Most of the weddings I attended looked like it took some preparation to get off the ground. The bridal sarees were beautiful. But I wondered what the bride would do with the material after the wedding. My moms wedding saree still hangs in the hangar, as it is white and hence quite useless. She hangs on to it for sentimental reason. Fortunately when she got married, designer Christian wedding sarees were unheard of and she settled for a Benaras silk saree as it was the only material in which you got white sarees in the eighties.
The gold that the brides wore at these weddings would have perked up the sales graph of a dozen Jewelers, steeply towards the north side. Again I couldn’t help but wonder what she would do with it! Live in paranoia for the rest of her life and then hire a bank locker to keep it safe?! And the ones she would use would be the simpler pieces as the extravagant pieces are suitable only if you are a bride and would look silly at weddings or parties outside Kerala.
The number of ads tell a sordid story of entrapment though aggrandizement and mesmeric bondage in the name of tradition. The jewelery houses keep the buying frenzy at cruise control through advertisements upon advertisements that ensure that no sales deceleration happens...ever.
And the race thus created only ensures losers...while the winners i.e the jewelers in case anyone has a doubt, laugh all the way to their foreign banks.
When will the ordinary Keralite wake up and say that this is enough! This is stupid! Lets cut the chase and be the smarter for it???
One refreshing wedding I attended was my cousin sisters. She and her fiancé jointly shouldered the wedding expenses and kept spending to the necessary minimum. All accoutrement at the wedding were reusable and the guest list restricted to the really close or completely unavoidable relations. The wedding raised quite a few eyebrows and finally a grudging and envied acceptance that this was indeed the way to go.
Way to go Neel chechi and Jose chetan!!!
Something has to give. And soon. Or the wedding juggernaut will eventually flatten us as a people and as a culture.