The great Indian wedding industry, attracts huge spending, no wonder we all call it a big fat Indian wedding. According to an estimate (www.businessinsider.in), the wedding industry is worth over INR 100,000 crores. This is a staggering amount. No wonder an Indian wedding is an event of magnitude proportions. Wherever there is money involved, financial institutions come in smelling the opportunity.
One may question the reasoning behind it. People (not always) tend to mortgage their homes as their social reputation is at stake. This can be seen in both urban and rural environments. No matter the economic strata of the family, they will tend to spend more than what their pockets can afford for a wedding as the influence in society comes play.
No doubt the wedding industry is a huge money spinner and employment generator and does help in the economic growth of the country. But somehow it feels like a showcase of one’s wealth and reputation in society. The rituals, the traditions do sometimes take a back seat to the need for appearance.
Rural Wedding experience
Hey! Enough with the background on Indian weddings.
Let’s come down to one unique experience that I had during my trip to a village in Bundelkhand region. Bundelkhand was once a glorious princely state. Now it is divided between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh state of India.
I happened to visit this village in Banda district of Bundelkhand during the wedding ceremony. So yes, I gatecrashed the rural wedding. I must admit it was a pleasant experience. Bride and Groom dressed in simple attire, no extravaganza, no razzmatazz. The wedding was a very simple affair. Nature played it’s part too with this beautifully crafted headgear for the Groom.
Simple, traditional musical instruments were enough to create the dancing mood. Within no time all the village folks were dancing and no it was not the famous snake dance of the urban weddings :-). This music was more appealing to the mind than any DJs music played at urban weddings.
(Local Musicians playing at the wedding)
I was in for a delightful surprise though, an experience I never expected. Every village household was a participant in the function. To my amazement, I saw villagers bringing food grains (rice, wheat, pulses etc) anything, in quantities, one could afford. This tradition eases the pressure on the father of the bride. As everything goes with the groom. It is not a dowry but a much better concept than that. Even Muslims attended the wedding and contributed their share. This was a unique experience and i will never forget it.
(Acknowledging and collecting food grains received from the villagers)
Wedding as a reunion opportunity:
A wedding can stretch along many days. Every day a different function and a different meaning. I could sense the reasoning behind this logic, still, I was curious to ask the locals. This is what I was told
“we never had any source of entertainment, relatives were living at distant locations so functions like weddings acted as a perfect gathering point. Our lifestyle was and still is very simple, work in the fields or some odd job and then back home. We had a lot of spare time for ourselves. Because of these weddings, we could all spend time together and enjoy our togetherness.”
(Village women happily dance at the wedding function)
Simply put, rural weddings are a delightful experience. Always a difficult moment, when realizing that the moment has come. New family, new responsibilities await the bride.
(Time to leave Father’s house for the bride)
Urban wedding mindset:
Let me switch over to the urban wedding mindset. Now weddings are limited to a few hours, not even a full day, sometimes two days at most. We invite only a few chosen relatives to keep the expense as low as possible, oddly enough not even neighbors are invited. is this a symbol of the individualistic society we are becoming?
Of course, there is no comparison on splurging power in weddings between urban and rural. It’s the traditions, the rituals that make the wedding what it is.
Looking at the positive side, people in villages are still clinging on to their traditions in the middle of a constant attack from the outside through media channels especially T.V and these private corporations are latching on to it. There is so much more to write on rural weddings which of course needs multiple blog posts.
This wedding extravaganza provides the direction that our society is moving towards. All glories to the great Indian Fat Wedding
This rural landscape is spectacular. The more I travel the more it reveals itself to me layer by layer. So much to learn, so much to explore.