Wedding Extravaganza published in Dawn Magazine

It was one’ o clock… the entire locality was wrapped in tranquility in a cold winter night when suddenly wild drum beats shattered the serenity of neighborhood and arouse the residents from slumber. Children started crying and adults panicked unless they realized that it came from a nearby house where a mehndi function was underway. The noisy party continued for more than three hours, accompanied with dissonant sounds and songs. Most of the neighbours were unable to sleep properly and got late for their school and offices the next morning due to disturbance at night.The Following night, again the entire vicinity was exploded with firework and air firing when the barat departed and returned in the wee hours of the night. No one even thought of complaining about this noisy fervor since such irksome acts have been accepted as a part of nuptial merriment and other celebrations in our society. With each passing day, marriage ceremonies are becoming excessively extravagant in Pakistan. This occasion is often misused for the display of wealth and status. We, as a nation, have lust for food, fun and partying and weddings are one rare occasions to show off. Thus rather than appreciating and encouraging the ban on food served at weddings followed by one-dish ordinance introduced some years ago, majority people criticized it and found ways to escape the restriction. It is roughly estimated that millions of rupees are annually spent on wedding feast as a ritual and status symbol. And the worst part is that a lot of food is wasted at weddings. In the past, weddings were considered a family affair. Relatives, friends and neighbours were gathered at the bride’s and grooms’ house and enjoyed simple rituals. However, now everything has been commercialized from costumes to jewellery and from customs to cuisine. The cost of a bridal dress can easily vary from five to six digits and now groom’s outfits are becoming more elaborate and expensive. Considering the fact that these wedding dresses are seldom worn afterwards, the spent is a sheer wastage just for one evening. Besides this, dozens of costumes are arranged for bride, groom and relatives as a part of dowry and bari that consume major wedding expenses. Most these dresses are heavy and become outdated only after a few months. The irony is that we all realize that money is wasted on several unnecessary things at the weddings but no one is brave enough to resist or deviate from it Experts’ services are now widely advertised by local media especially on TV channels in almost all morning shows to plan the dream day exclusively and outclass rest of the wedding ceremonies in family and friends. Apart from mayoon, mehndi, barat and valima, several new gatherings are now arranged in the name of rang, ratjaga, cothi, chala and other such mindless customs. Influenced by the flamboyant weddings depicted in foreign movies and plays, now widely copied at local TV channels, our festivities are currently considered incomplete without mandap, bhangra, dandiya (stick dance) and of course, jazzy dance numbers on the beat of which dance and singing competitions were arranged between bride’s and groom’s families which often trigger conflicts between the two parties and lead to quarrels at such occasions. Party singers, drum-players and performers are also hired for the event. Recently, we were surprised in a mehndi function when professional dancers started mujra to entertain the guests. The cost of staging weddings goes up to millions and even billions and even those who can’t afford it, take loans to meet the cost. In some cases, especially in small towns and villages people mortgage their property and get indebted for the rest of their lives. How do you perceive the entire situation…? Shall we continue celebrating our weddings and other such occasions as outrageously as we do now. No matter if we have to take loans, intercede others’ privacy and peace through noisy recordings, late night festivities and firework. Or shall we raise a voice, register our protest and above all initiate to get rid of costly, intruding and time-wasting customs and celebrations…?

drumbeaters loudly announce groom and barat's arrival

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4 thoughts on “Wedding Extravaganza published in Dawn Magazine

  1. I fully agree with the author that weddings need to be more sombre and simple. The tendency to waste money on extended functions and designing events should be curtailed . Irfan

  2. Sumaiya Imran you painted a true picture of what is really happening in our surroundings…just yesterday i experienced what you have written in your article. bravo!!in your article. bravo!!

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