As a person belonging to a typical middle class Pakistani family , I have seen somethings that just doesn’t make sense and contradicts with the the things I have been told and seen all my life. So, our parents always tell us not to spend so lavishly and try to save some money whenever we can and we have all seen our mothers and aunts bargain like pros with shopkeepers. I mean, I have seen some of my relatives bargain over 100 or 50 rupees for a good 10 to 15 minutes but when it comes to weddings we just completely forget the meaning of ‘wasteful extravagance’.
For example : so, as desis we have really long weddings. First, there are couple of dholkis from both bride’s and groom’s side then there is the function of mehndi,then nikah in the afternoon of the wedding or shaadi or at night during the shaadi then we have this post wedding function called valima and this doesn’t stop there then there is a series of ‘dawats’ i e dinners or lunches arranged by relatives from both bride’s and groom’s side. And even before the wedding there is the engagement ceremony and even before the engagement ceremony in some circles there is the ‘baat pakkii ceremony’ which is done on smaller scale than the engagement ceremony which is more ‘proper’ and done on a formal scale where at least 100 to 200 of close relatives are invited. And on top of that both bride’s and groom’s side has to send expensive gifts to eachother on auspicious occasions like Eids. The amount of money spent on cattering, hall bookings or ground bookings, gifts, dresses , jewellery and let’s not forget the ‘dowry ‘is insane. We literally leave no stone unturned when it comes to spending at weddings, those same aunties who bargain over 100 rupees for half an hour suddenly happily spend thousands on makeup, jewellery and clothes. The uncles who always tell you to spend wisely in life are seen spending literally at least 5 lacs on one one function out of the 3 main ones I.e the valima, shaadi and the mehndi ! Just on one function. The amount spent on bride’s dress and makeup combined is at least 2 lacs these days. And let’s not forget the thousands of rupees photographers charge for covering the functions. And I am quoting the minimal amount. The amount spent on weddings can reach up to 25 lacs if you want a ‘decent’ wedding. At least 500 people are invited on these main functions and the amount of food wasted in the functions is also insane.
Everything about the modern shaadi screams wasteful extravagance but yet the same people who had always told us to be careful in spending money turn a deaf ear during weddings and spend money like there is no tomorrow. Such blatant hypocrisy confuses me. Why can’t we just invite a few of close relatives on the main functions and just skip the other unnecessary functions or at least do such things on a small scale by just having a small dholki at home and inviting 25 -50 close family members instead of inviting 150-200 people .
What’s the point of inviting hundreds of distant relatives you are probably never gonna meet again and who don’t really care about you and are just attending for the free food and who are also gonna whine about bad food quality and will most probably share cheap gossip about your dress, jewellery and makeup? Such type of people bring nothing but stress and chaos because such type of people are mainly the ones who waste food the most and train their kids to literally fill moundfulls of plates after plates of food and they just eat a little and leave the extra food on the table and literally, due to such incidents often extra amount of food is ordered in advance so that it doesn’t go scarce. Oh, the irony here is too strong.
This is just one of the things that I can’t understand about our society. We just try so hard to give a good impression that we don’t hesitate to spend all or a huge chunk of our life’s savings on those 3-4 days.