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As roads to the airport are blocked as its wedding time in Delhi

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By Sidharth Mishra

Last week a former colleague was on a visit to Delhi from Goa. He startled by a message from the airlines his ticket was booked for return journey. He was booked for a 9 pm flight. The airlines message at 2.30 pm advised him to avoid the roads leading to the airport after 6 pm.

What could be the cause, he wondered. The answer was there in the day’s newspaper which mentioned that quite a few thousand weddings were planned in the city that evening. The roads to the airport are best avoided during the wedding seasons as all the pathways to the ‘dream’ farm venue sites lead from there.

Chhatarpur, Mahipalpur, Mehrauli, Kapashera, Fatehpur, Satbari, all located in South-West Delhi are home to the farm house wedding venues. The weddings at these venues have less to do with rituals and more with fashion fads.

“Farmhouse weddings allow for creative freedom and customization. Couples can choose specific themes, decor styles, and catering options that resonate with their personalities, adding a personal touch to every aspect of the celebration,” that’s how an acquaintance, a property dealer-turned-wedding planner put it.

Weddings indeed are a big industry today. Recently interacting with a few students at a media school, specialising in photography, found that they had the had clarity that they were going to pursue wedding photography as a career. More alarmingly, none had given even a thought to photo journalism as a career.

“It’s not just about photographers, customised weddings is about decor styles, and catering options,” adds the planner suggesting that opulence has its own market, whatever the price be. But why to grudge the wedding planners, with the interaction of the members of the joint families of the yore getting limited to social events, weddings become just the right platform for the family meets. 

The puritans may questions do these designer weddings leave any scope for the rituals. Well among the Granthiji, Pastor, Maulvi and Panditji, it’s the last one who has found himself to be increasingly marginalised. While the Sikh and Christian weddings ordains them to be held in the Gurdwara and the Church respectively, the role of their priest remains relevant.

Even in the case of Islam, the actual wedding is a short event like a court registry where the Moulvi plays both the witness and the registrar. It’s the long-stretched Hindu wedding rituals which have largely been cooperated. Unlike the uniformity of the wedding rituals in the other three religions, in Hindu marriage rituals may vary from not just state to state but also district to district.

With several marriages taking place not only between inter-caste but also inter-regional couples, uniformity in the rituals too has become a challenge. As a bride’s father recently shared that he had to tell the priest from his side to calm down and let the rituals be ‘skirmish’ free. He also shared that he opted for a farm wedding as the other option were the five star hotels, which fare not that well when compared to an open ambience.

And not to forget the promotion of the concept on the various television serials, where every wedding has been turned into a melodramatic sound and dance event thus the farm houses virtually proving to be the crucible of cultures. No wonder the Punjabi Bhangra beats being played loudly at a Bihari or even a Bengali wedding.

But then that’s no consolation for traffic jams on the road to the airport. The sheer volume of the events overwhelms the infrastructure. May be in the ongoing catfight between the Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister, somebody gives this issue a thought too.

 

(First Published in The Morning Standard)

 

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