The wedding conundrum: I spent more than you did!
The political economy of marriage should, perhaps, be introduced as a whole new academic discipline since the one million ordeals surrounding weddings are utterly incomprehensible to an average person. Headache-inducing details involving guests, bookings, appointments, shopping — not to mention the overwhelming amounts of wealth which cushions these — probably necessitate specialised degrees in marriage planning.
The Pakistani society has made a complete joke out of the institution of marriage by turning it into a rat race of wealth display. What can be a simple celebration has been turned into a food and dance festival for the most distant and obscure relatives, most of whom you will probably never meet again. The shocker comes when you learn that parents, proper, ‘oh-so-liberal’ and educated parents, have been saving up for years only so they can feed free biryani to 1,500 people on a hotel’s pool side one night.
The gift economy seems to be in full swing as each family seems to be engaged in a sort of interstate arms race with each other, trying to undo the other’s upper hand by reciprocating with presents which are, at least, a notch above what they’ve received. This inane competition is oddly reminiscent of political realism. Who said the Balance of Power theory fails to explain the world?
The funniest side of the issue is that new excuses to throw money are constantly being sought. When viewed in light of soaring divorce rates in the country, this senseless squander makes as much sense as joota chupai does. Choreographed dances, professional photographers and exorbitant designer wear are now integral parts of a ‘decent’ wedding.
One completely fails to understand the idea of overpriced bridal wear when the entire toilette is supposed to be used for only one night, and then discarded without remorse as the alarming pace of changing trends deem it ‘out of fashion’.
What’s curious to note is that lavish wedding ceremonies are not at all met with scorn. Agreed, celebrations and rituals are the binding forces for people, in which family, friends and relatives reunite. However, moderation and frivolity in spending on such celebrations should also be borne in mind.
Read more by Faiza here.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.