Perefect Sanskari Weddings!
I woke up the other day to my mother arguing with my sister. The same old reason - marriage. It seems my sister will soon be too ripe to be delicious in the marriage market. So they are hurrying to get the 'good boy' for her asap before the season ends. My head was re-playing the sensual scenes from the series that I had watched the previous night when the knell-ish marriage alarm struck again that morning, my bad luck. It was Made in Heaven that I had watched. Being sunk in the hangover of the web series, the pointlessness of the pomp and glory in Indian marriages dawned on me again.
Made in Heaven is a great show. The make-believe authenticity of our marriages and love affairs has been put across effectively. Though the series is set in a rich background, it is relevant to all kinds of Indian backgrounds. The envisioned and fictitious honour, the unhealthy never ending struggle of wanting to be accepted and even envied in other people's minds is the man of the match everywhere. This losing game is what we are all taught to play. Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala), Karan (Arjun Mathur), Jazz (Shivani Raghuvanshi), Adil(Jim Sarbh)were all simply following the rules of the game only to lose.
Last day I heard my cousin console his crying 4 year old by telling her that if she keeps on weeping the other kids will mock her. How we police our ethics around other people's surmises!
For instance, let's take the last 10 Indian weddings we attended. How many of them were inter-beliefs or inter-structures? Was any couple above 40? Any LGBTQ alliance? How many had no dowry deal? The most hilarious aspect of all, did they know each other long enough before they decided to mate for life? Does choosing spouses by assessing their education, caste, colour, height, weight, grammar, grandfather's rubber plantains and grandmother's liaisons help people lead content healthy lives? Our KanjanamalaMoideens and SarammaKeshavanNairs are yet to find a favourable atmosphere amidst us. This conservatism brought the caste based matrimonial sites and money based account keeping in them, the corporates exploring creative ways of divide and rule.
That morning, to swallow down my frustration, I binge watched another series, Modern Love. Watching Modern Love was to me, like sipping strong hot tea by the window side on a rainy day. Refreshing and satisfying. That those episodes were inspired from real events was even more gratifying. Each story explores the different aspects of human relationships and their charm in one's life. Then I wondered whether those stories can ever find a comfortable home here? A gay couple adopting a girl whose mother is a hippie living happily homeless, an old couple meeting in an old people's club and later getting married, a young girl with 'daddy issues', partners taking professional marriage counselling to keep the fire burning, a bipolar person living on her own terms. If those stories had to take place in our pathetically patriarchal society, it wouldn't be the Rom-Com it now is but a Social Thriller.
A frightening majority of people amidst us are miserably stuck in the vicious circle of the sickest poverty of being powerless over one's own life, like Karan’s landlord in Made in Heaven. When encouraged to break free, they'll tell us, "It's complicated". Pinned down by ethics that has been woven around other people's surmises. The 'good kids' playing the losing game like taught, letting the rotten system win them over.
Our Desi Weddings today is a direct reflection of our attitudes on status, power and dignity. More often than not, we tend to attach unhealthy and costly definitions to Sanskari, detaching ourselves purposefully from certain kinds of people whom we don’t want to be associated with. This dissociation on the basis of caste, religion, beauty, money etc. is poison to the already slow progress in our society. We need to stop attaching the worthless and callous, like the two-finger test, honour to marriages and thereby reducing them into negotiable business deals. More importance must be given to the individuals who are the actual parties to the deal. Let them meet first and decide their course of life for themselves. Damn the family business!
Anyways, 2nd season of Modern Love is out and of Made in Heaven is coming out soon. Call me delusional but shows like these does radiate hope and a sense of possibility.
Buddha says, “What we imagine, we create”.
May our imagination soar skies unburdened by prejudiced clouds.
And like Arundhati Roy says,
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing."
Author - Grace