For sixty years

A young couple belonging to uber rich families will tie the knot later this month in our city. Bollywood stars will attend the wedding and perform. The tag for this filmy nuptials is 25 crores or 250 million rupees. That is 5 planet whys or what is needed to run project why in its present form for 60 years! I am speechless. I remember how shocked I was when I heard that a celebrity florist was in town and would charge 2 to 4 crores to decorate a wedding venue.

A few months back a couple tied the knot in a small village in Europe. They decided to send the the money they collected during the church ceremony to project why. I also remember how touched I had been when a simple email from a young couple I had never met informed me that they had decided to donate the money normally spent on bonbonieres - traditional wedding favours - to the children of pwhy. In the past many young couples from faraway lands have donated part of their wedding bounty to the children of project why, thus creating invisible bonds of love and friendship between two young people starting their life together and children who strive for a better one.

What a difference between the two worlds.

250 million rupees to have some star gyrate at your wedding for a brief moment or shake hands with your guest is nothing short of galling. It is something I find difficult if not impossible to fathom. I do agree that everyone wants a special wedding and deserves it but there has to be some limits. A wedding is undoubtedly a precious occasion and does need to be celebrated. It is a day every young bride and groom wants to remember and perhaps having a star at your nuptials makes for lasting memories and wonderful photo ops. But one needs to cap the show. In a land like ours where a child dies of malnutrition every 8.7 minutes, 250 million rupees for a thrill is terribly misplaced. Maybe it would become more palatable if one star was given up and the money thus saved -ranging from 10 to 40 million - was spent on a charity of your choice. Imagine if that money could build a home for some destitute children, or a school, a hospital. The possibilities are endless. That structure could bear the name of the newly weds and would be a proud memory to recall.

What makes someone want to spend galling amounts of money for a single event is the question that begs to be answered. The sad reality is that anyone attending weddings looks for things to criticize and takes the rest for granted. True that one gets bedazzled for an instant but all is soon forgotten and one is seen recalling the terrible parking facility, or the long queues at the buffet table rather than the bride's jewels or the gargantuan spread! It seems that the desire to over extend one's self while organising such dos stems from a desire to impress and a sense of insecurity. You have to show that you have arrived and nothing is too over the top for that. Hence you invite not one, not two but a dozen stars in the hope that they will shine on your parade. That is all that matters. Never mind the tag attached. A sad reality but one that pervades all rich and poor. The only difference is that the poor do it by borrowing sums that they will take a lifetime to pay back. But reason does not prevail in such situations.

It seems that the big fat Indian wedding is here to stay.