She walks around the office like a zombie. Her face has broken out in an untimely bout of pimples. She’s at the happiest place in life right now, but seems lost and stressed, all the time. She’s getting married in less than a month.
This otherwise cheerful colleague of mine is undergoing ‘wedding stress’, and this is one stress that, especially in India, is not limited to the two people who are getting hitched. Everyone around them gets into a tension mode — parents, relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours — you name it and the person seems worried about something related to wedding preparations.
As Pappu Singh always jokes, “Hamare India mein shaadi karte toh do log hain par karwane sara khaandaan lag padta hai.” So there are hazaar tensions and no calmness before a wedding. Actually there is definitely no calmness even after the wedding but that’s the subject of another column.
I wanted to ask her that between the tension of what to wear and who to invite, if she managed a moment to discuss her future with her fiancé but I knew what her answer would have been. That there’s an entire lifetime to discuss future plans and priorities. Right now it’s more important to ensure that the two million rishtedaars from each side are happy.
And actually those relatives are also not at peace. Even the fourteenth cousin of the bride eats up her parents’ head over buying some expensive dress because she can’t repeat an earlier one. Anyhow, although my words are likely to fall flat on the ears of those preparing for a big fat wedding right now, I’m using this medium to still give out my two bits of advice
1. In a hurry to plan a wedding, don’t forget to plan your life. I once had a friend who spent all her savings, and of course a major part of her parents’ as well, on a lavish wedding. Because she didn’t want to let her fiancé’s family down in front of their relatives. On their honeymoon, her husband said, ‘I always dreamt of a very simple wedding and saving up for buying a house. But I went along with a lavish wedding only because I thought you wanted it.’
See? I have no problems with spending a fortune on weddings if that’s what you want. But you may just be spending your entire colony’s GDP on phone bills while discussing inane things with your future spouse, without bothering to check if you two have the same priorities in life.
2. For once, think about whose happiness matters more... that of the ones close to you or that of those relatives and friends for whom your wedding is yet another party in which they will be eventually be just a fixture in the album. Sometimes we bother too much with what others would say, and end up hurting those who ought to matter more to us.
A friend who pestered her dad for a wedding dress worth 50,000 bucks when he couldn’t afford it, told me years later, ‘All those friends who I wanted to show off my dress to, were busy showing off theirs at the wedding. It wouldn’t have mattered what I wore.’ Do stuff only if it matters to you. And not because you’re worried what someone else would say.
3. And finally to all those who are busy spending thousands buying dresses to wear to weddings of relatives and friends. You think people would remember if you repeated a dress. You may be right. They may just ask you if you’d worn the same dress at an earlier function. You should say yes… proudly. Because it suits you. And, because we are yet to get disposable dresses in India.
Sonal Kalra started a wedding stress helpline. But it failed miserably because all those about to get married can’t get off the phone with their future partners. They don’t know that ‘hi honey’ usually changes to ‘yes, what now?” after marriage.
Send your calmness tricks at firstname.lastname@example.org