J-K floods hit marriage plans in Valley

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Sep 18, 2014 18:00 IST

Colourful threads of light still hang on the rooftops in some Srinagar houses. But, they never served the purpose for which they were installed.

Besides wreaking havoc on life and property, the "unprecedented" Jammu and Kashmir floods have also washed away the dreams of many youngsters.

A deluge and subsequent floods in the state have delivered a blow to wedding plans of many. While some had to cancel their engagements, others had no option but say 'I do' in low-key events amid the destruction unleashed by killer floods.

"We happily organised the mehndi night (a marriage ritual) on Saturday (September 6). We sang traditional songs and our relatives were staying with us," said Nazeer Ahmad, a resident of the Kalaspora area.

The youngest daughter of the 65-year-old man was to tie the knot on Sunday.

"But, the groom failed to turn up from an uptown area of Srinagar, across the Jhelum River. The marriage now stands cancelled."

Weddings in Jammu and Kashmir are a costly affair. Ahmad, like hundreds of others, had done all the preparations for an elaborate wedding.

Wazas (chefs) had prepared for guests wazwan (delicate meat and chicken dishes), which take at least two days to prepare.

But now, crewel shamyanas (tents) flutter at several places with no guests around.

"Floods gave us little time to salvage anything. We will go for an austere marriage now," said Rashid Dar, a resident of Chattabal, an area deeply affected by the disaster.

Dar was preparing for his son's wedding when the calamity that killed more than 200 and left half a million displaced struck the state. Now, he and his son are busy collecting relief and renovate their two-storey house.

Those who managed to consummate the marriages had to give many rituals, customs and events a miss.

"Our cameramen could not come from Rajbagh. So no wedding album. Also, there were no crackers or songs. We decided to keep it low-key given what was happening. Everyone was shocked," said Babar Khan, a resident of Lal Bazaar.

September being the peak of the wedding season, people associated with the marriage industry were also affected.

From chefs to caterers and salons to wedding dress dealers, many are counting the losses which could be in crores.

Feroz Jan, a caterer, said, "My entire store of tents, utensils, carpets etc is under water at Court Road. We won't be able to cater to weddings this year."

And some have made unexpected gains.

On quite a few occasions, grooms have failed to pick up customised wedding-day suits from shops in Lal Chowk, the main stop for grooms and brides.

The poultry and sheep industry too bore the brunt of the floods, which continue forcing the people to cancel weddings in the flood-ravaged Valley.

"I was paid advances for 300 birds, but the party failed to it pick up," said Khalid Malik, a poultry shop owner.

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