Weddings: Taking it to the next level

I recently attended a mehndi, where the bride made her grand entrance in a multi-coloured lantern, while her sister danced endlessly to music from the latest chick-flicks from across the border, and that too with a different costume for almost every other song.

Sadia Ahmed July 02, 2010


There is something about the summer season in Karachi that makes me love it, despite all that heat and humidity. Not only is it the best time to go swimming and enjoy succulent mangoes, it is also somehow the best time to get married for many. Talking about the week-long festivities, dancing the nights away to Indian tunes is the typical culture of a wedding household. Gone are the days when cousins and friends used to get together to sing traditional Pakistani wedding songs. Now, the trend is to dance to catchy Indian beats. Where exactly is our sense of creativity and originality? Why do we always have to be so Bollywood-centric?

I recently attended a mehndi, where the bride made her grand entrance in a multicoloured lantern, while her sister danced endlessly to music from the latest chick-flicks from across the  border, and that too with a different costume for almost every other song. It came across as an IIFA Award’s night with gaudy outfits and fake smiles. Is this what our identity has been reduced to? Is that all we can do: ape our neighbours and do a hopelessly cheap copy of them?

Our society dictates norms. Social pressures and the idea of keeping up with the Joneses sometimes forces us to go overboard with wedding expenditure, and display an eye-glittering, often distasteful show of wealth. It’s a sad fact, but nonetheless true, that weddings these days have become more about putting-up a ‘good show’ for guests, rather than focusing on the comfort of the couple getting married. And all the guests do is to judge, and they do that rather incessantly.  From the bride’s clothes and food to the decor and hospitality of hosts, everything is judged – and scathingly.

Food for thought: In a country where most people are sweating away for a pittance and are drinking their tears instead of water, are such lavish lifestyles justified?

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2010.

WRITTEN BY:
Sadia Ahmed The writer is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and SOAS University, currently working for the Editorial pages at The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (21)

Bushra Mateen | 11 years ago | Reply Saadia, very nice article and very true, but the reality of our culture is that ours is a show-off culture. Everything we do is to show off, where we live, how we live, where we send our kids to school and nowadays where the kids go to TUTION is all about showing off. I really dont have too much of a problem about the singing and dancing on the bollywood tunes, since no matter what generation you belong to we all grew up listening to those tunes. It is I guess the emulation of a foreign culture that is more bothersome and the unnecessary staging instead of the spontaneity of the dances and songs that we were used to in the good old days. And as far as justifying the incessant spending on these events, is there anything justifiable in the way the privilged few live in Pakistan. I dont think so.
Manahil | 11 years ago | Reply I totally agree.
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