Mostly, the main function at Indian weddings is the reception, in which, like I mentioned before, the bride and groom sit on an elevated stage to sit on plush chairs or receive congratulations from people who come up on the stage and get themselves photographed for the wedding albums. The rest of the ground is full people who are even slightly related to the two; engrossed in the food available there. You can see people gobbling up food during the var-maala ceremony, the procession to the stage, and other times too. The family of the bride spends a lot of money on this whole event (sometimes everything they have) to make the wedding a success for a bunch of people who will forget it in the coming week.
I attended a wedding just like the one I described. The bride looked beautiful and the groom handsome. As they sat on the stage to be preened at, their parents attended to the large number of guests they had invited. And I was among those people unashamedly concentrating on the food. And eavesdropping. Yes that is a much disapproved trait, but I consider it helpful. Two ladies, standing near me were talking about the wedding. One of them said, “Govind ji ki kripa hai ki Madan ji ne apni beti itni acchi shaadi kardi.” (It is all because of God’s blessings that Mr. Madan has arranged such an amazing marriage.) Then talking about how great and generous God was, she related an accident she survived with not a scratch on her body. Perhaps she had exaggerated it a bit, because she claimed that a car had hit her very hard as she was coming from a temple. The other woman nodded in complete agreement. Still nodding, she raised her hands in the air and briefly looked up at the sky and with a reverent look in her eyes she agreed that God was certainly quintessential and giving.
And then it hit me. People are so blinded by faith that they credit every bad and every good thing that ever happens to them, to the Almighty. If someone goes broke, or someone’s daughter runs away with her lover they blame it on god. If someone gets a promotion, or they pass a tough examination, they say it was God that made it happen. Whatever happens, it is accredited to God. And I find it amusing. Yes there is an existence of a superpower above us puny humans and animals. It could be nature. Or four basic elements- fire, water, air, earth. How else can you possibly explain tsunami, floods, cyclones, forest fires and other phenomena? There must be a thing called fate, because one cannot explain why a particular thing happens to someone or somewhere.
But this ‘supreme power above all’ is a bit overrated. I think it is more of a concept that had been introduced into the society by some powerful administrators a very long time back to keep in check the crime rate. And maybe other administrators liked the concept so much, that they decided to make people believe that there was invisible power existent everywhere noticing everyone’s actions. The thing is, that it works. Mothers admonish children when they misbehave, saying that Santa is looking over him, or bhagvaan will punish him. And that prevents children and even elders from doing objectionable things.
But this belief in God has been diminishing and people have stopped thinking like there really is a power like that. There are uncountable numbers of people cheating each other. Be it money matters, relationships, administration, the world has become full of cheats. Noticed the sudden increase in the most horrid rape cases in India? I blame the decrease in the fear of “God”.