Wedding Videos in Capsule Format
Your cover story (The Big Fat Indian Wedding, August 2017) clearly shows that weddings enter a new space and take on a more personal tangent. Every year the wedding season springs surprises, with the big fat Indian wedding taking on various avatars, and constantly morphing its shape. Each wedding is documented and captured in an entire range of video clippings of different duration. The influence that movies have in shaping our perception of a big, fat Indian wedding cannot be dismissed as minor or insignificant. Our society borrows fun wedding rituals from other cultures and constantly strives to give a modern interpretation to the idea of marriage itself. As far as wedding photos are concerned, life has become so fast that people don’t have the patience and time to watch a 2 to 3 hour long wedding video. Instead, they prefer a capsule format for the video that captures the finest moments of the function, with a lot of cinematic elements thrown in.
Vinod Dixit, email

Engaging Wedding Ceremony
This is in response to Vijay Rajavaidya’s article (Demystifying a Hindu Wedding, August, 2017).
When I got married, our priest provided not only the significance of the prayers, but did it with humor. I, for one, definitely appreciated it as it made the wedding more fun and kept the attendees engaged during the ceremony.
Enakshi Singh Gutkowski, web

A Widower’s Perspective
This is in response to Saroja Viswanathan’s article (Should Only Sumanglais Be Involved in Wedding Rituals? August, 2017).

Having been born and brought up in a Kerala Iyer family, I have seen the incidents of alienating widows on several occasions. The fact that it is happening even now is very surprising.

My wife died in January 2003 due to complications arising out of a road accident. We had one son Vivek who was just 13 years old at that time. After she died, I made it a point not to attend any social functions whether it is a birthday celebration, upanayanam, marriage or any other family function. Everybody started questioning me about why I am opting out of these family functions. My answer to them was very simple. If I was dead and my wife was alive, would they have invited her for all these celebrations?

My nephew was to get married. My sister came personally and insisted that I should attend. As you are aware, there are certain rituals to be performed by the maternal uncle during the wedding. I told my sister that I cannot perform any of those rituals because her husband’s family (they are conservative in nature) may not like a widower performing those rituals. Because of my sister’s insistence, I attended the marriage but kept myself away from all the rituals. I just sat in the back row in the marriage hall. At my behest, my maternal uncle performed the rituals.

My son decided to get married in December 2016. His bride belonged to the Kerala Christian community, from the CSI group. Therefore, there was no problem with rituals. We registered the marriage first and then had a very simple Church blessing ceremony, followed by a reception.

When widows are not allowed to participate in auspicious functions, how does the Brahmin community allow widowers to perform all rituals and participate in all these functions? I have tried to find out the basis for following such customs of alienating widows. There is nothing written anywhere in the Vedas or Upanishads. These are man-made customs. It is high time we changed all these archaic customs.
Kannan Raju, Bengaluru, India

Indian Weddings Were Simple
This is in response to Sarita Sarvate’s article (Are Indian Weddings Too Ostentatious? August, 2017)
Indian weddings were traditional and not so ostentatious till a few decades ago. In those days, most weddings were ritual centric and performed mostly within homes. Relatives were invited a few days in advance and most of them helped in the preparations. Most of the food was prepared at home and desi chefs (halwais) were booked to prepare bulk food for few days before the D-day. Celebrations in hotels and marriage halls (Baraat Ghar or Janj Ghar as it was called in Delhi) started in the 70s but still they were not expensive. In Gujarat, a trend started in the early 70s to hold wedding receptions in a hall where only icecream was served and no gifts/ presents were accepted. The trend died sooner than expected and the generation of black money opened the flood gates of ostentatiousness.
Today, there are theme-based celebrations ahead of the wedding day with drinks dresses, dishes and displays killing the very spirit and romance of Indian weddings.
Suresh Mandan, email

Extends to All Celebrations
This is in response to Geetika Pathania Jain’s article (Reel Weddings and Real Weddings, August, 2017).
This phenomenon of copying from reel life is not only tied to weddings but now extends to celebrations for Diwali, graduations etc.
Mary Joseph, web

Sincere Writing
This is in response to Shumit DasGupta’s article (The 4-Photo Wedding Album, August, 2017)
I loved this essay. It feels so uncomplicated and sincere. Our stories are never straightforward, but they are our own. My marriage is mixed religion- Jewish and Christian, but the true diversity comes from tying Midwest vs. the East Coast. Really enjoyed reading this.
Melissa Star, web

Traditional Route Not For All
This is in response to Shumit DasGupta’s article (The 4-Photo Wedding Album, August, 2017)
The traditional route isn’t for all people. I think your way is what worked best for you. And you got a down payment for a house, a bonus! The most important part of life is your relationships with others around you. Thanks for sharing!
Nancy Scadden, web

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