I got a strange mail this morning. From a regular reader of this newspaper, 26-year-old Ayush Aggarwal (not his real name) who wanted a share with me, ‘the biggest stress in his life right now’.
Ayush started his mail by saying he’s getting married next week. So I thought he need not have written more… isn’t that the biggest stress by itself ! (okay that was a bad joke). So Ayush says that his bride-to-be, a ‘sophisticated, upper middle class, modern’ Delhi girl is giving him sleepless nights over the wedding arrangements, ever since she’s been reading newspaper articles about the ostentatious celebrity weddings that have happened recently.
In this exact language, Ayush wrote, “You guys happily reported the trend of people spending crores on their weddings. Every dress of the bride being a designer outfit, grooms in plush farmhouse weddings giving one lakh to the brides’ sisters for joota churai, do you even understand the pressure it creates on people who can only afford an ordinary wedding function?” He went on to describe how his fiancé has given him an ultimatum to not ‘let her down’ by giving meager amounts at rituals like ribbon cutting and joota churai… and more importantly wants a dekko at the sherwani that he plans to wear to ensure that it’s not ‘cheap or sub standard’.
Inclined to tell him to do a rethink on the girl rather than the sherwani, I wrote back to him explaining how the job of a lifestyle newspaper is to report what’s going on in the society and that should not be construed as an endorsement of the those trends being healthy. However, that set me thinking on how he’s right about the societal pressure of ‘status’ being such a huge stress factor.
I have seen plenty of friends, spending way more than their budget allows, on functional dresses just because they don’t want to be seen repeating their outfits. “Log kahenge iske paas yeh ek hi dress hai (people would wonder if I only have one dress),” replied my friend Nisha, when I asked her to repeat an expensive outfit that she had bought for her sister’s wedding, at another family function. And this when her sister’s wedding was four years back.
I really wonder if people remember what every one wore at a wedding. Maybe some do (and they deserve a special award) but even then, does it really matter even if they think you are repeating a dress. Similarly, what we spend on wedding rituals should depend on what we want to spend, and not what’s expected of us by those who are there just to watch the tamasha. It’s a pity that the happiest and most important occasion of a couple’s life turns out to be the most stressful, only because of constantly worrying about what people would say.
Trust me, people would say what they have to, anyway. And then they would forget about it. You will be left — stressed and broke. My calmness trick this week, is specially for Ayush, and all those who are either getting married or attending weddings this season — laugh at the silly ostentatious trends set by some buffoons. And don’t contribute to the trend by towing the line. Wear and do only what two most important entities allow — you and your pocket. I promise you’ll be much more happier and calmer.
Sonal Kalra is attending a wedding over the weekend. And she’s happily repeating a dress she bought 10 years back. Oh, and she’s spent only Rs 5000 in getting it renewed so that it doesn’t look the same. Someone might just remember. Mail your calmness tricks to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.