"Hey..you've got to buy this saree too...It's a part of the ritual where you have to place this on a plate adorned with flowers and a little sandalwood paste..and.." and my friend's voice droned on.
She had been married a year back. A modern pseudo-feminist otherwise, she has a surprisingly traditional take towards the institution of marriage. What is marriage? It seems to me now that it is a ceremony strengthened by lots of 'niyams'(rules). Non-compliance of rules isn't taken well by the in-laws(supposedly). Personally, I have never really bothered much about rules and regulations. I am more of a free spirit, difficult to be chained. Hence, when it came to the choice of a partner, I chose a like-minded fellow. But somehow, all free sprites turn mellow when it comes to marriage. I have no problems with adhering to a few rules. After all, rules at times add color to life and trying out something new doesn't harm...does it? But an overdose of rules is nauseating. More so when it is more emphatically enforced upon you by your friends.
Take this for example. "You need to gift your husband a suitcase. Buy only a branded suitcase. A V.I.P is a must. You must give them the 'pranaamis' in decorated plates called 'tatwas'. You ought to be very diplomatic with your in-laws...Say this and not that... You must buy many good sarees to wear after marriage..you can't be wearing your regular sarees after marriage.." and many more. I understand my friend's concern for me. She wants to 'prepare' me for life, cast me in the mould of conventions..to help me blossom into the perfect 'bahu'. But I am not she. I feel suffocated under the pressure of dos and don'ts. I am ME. And this 'me' is not a doll, does not enjoy dressing up , is casual about her style and cherishes the idea of a simple marriage and not the hullabaloo of The Grand Indian Wedding. And how on earth am I to explain it to them that it's my life, my wedding...which will happen my way?
In saying this, let me point out that owing to my radical views I have always been an outcast, at times even publicly humiliated by my so-called friends for not wearing a decorative outfit to an event celebrating their happy union (and not mine). But then again, at times I feel that I am too short-tempered to see the higher good of everything around me. Marriage after all is a social gathering, where families come together to celebrate a happy occasion. The conventional desire of every bride looking like a princess has been embedded so deeply in our minds that it is difficult for a mediocre-looker like me to uproot it and endorse everything simple. With marriage comes fanfare, and an array of everything loud and robust. This results in a show of extravagance, for it is strictly believed that it is a one-time affair, so one needs to put his whole into it.
Life is bitter sweet. One understands that better when one stands at the threshold of marriage. The bitterness of zillion rules overpower the sheer bliss of the concept of marriage. To me, marriage is not bondage but it is liberation. It is not conforming but paving way for a new life, a new beginning with the one you love and trust. It reasserts the moment when you made the choice, to share your life in health and sickness with this special person. This lovely feeling cannot be outweighed by number of 'tatwas' and sarees. It is a feeling that goes beyond the layers of bridal make-up. It is a day when our search for a companion concludes. It is a day when we move from "I" to "we". And that is a moment one needs to treasure.
I don't know what life has in store for me. But the fact that I will be getting married is sinking in gradually. It is indeed a necessary evil. Although I am not enjoying shopping for it unlike girls of my age(more so because my bank account statement is nearing a big zero), I am looking forward to the day with utmost excitement...to the day when I officially become a part of his life..for at heart we are already one...
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda