Marriage & Family
In Pakistan, generally, wedding is a matter of extravagance and material show-off. The ceremony is considered incomplete, dry, ugly and boring without expensive clothes, glittering accessories, drum-beats, gifts, best-of-the-best sweet meats and of course, dowry. Apparently, these never-ending desires to achieve perfection and to satisfy human impulses require a huge investment, for which many families have to let go of their life-long savings while others have to take heavy loans. We are inhabitants of a country where more than half of the population lives below poverty line, but anyone new to this land would hardly believe this fact if he gets a chance to witness a Pakistani wedding.
“You wed once in a lifetime, so every moment should be ideal and picture perfect”, says Qurat-ul-Ain who’s recently got married. It seems as if we have tied up happiness to material possessions and lavishness that’s why any event, be it small or big, goes up on the gaiety scale by the amount of capital instilled to make it happen. If we look objectively on the matter, wedding is nothing more than signing the nikkah-nama, but we have stretched the simple affair to functions that last for days and expenses that are difficult to manage.
Khurram, married for three years, with a toddler sleeping in his arms was a bit disgruntled when I talked him on the matter. “I got married to a distant relative and at the time of marriage, I earned very well. This led to my wife’s soaring demands. She wanted the best photographer to cover the event, a designer dress for the wedding day and reception, an elitist arrangement for every function and a honeymoon to the most exotic place possible. And I had to do this all because of my mother’s commitment to her relatives. I still feel very bad when I recall the time of my wedding because it was a bounty affair for all around me but nobody, not even my wife realized the amount of pressure I had to undergo in order to fulfill her useless aspirations. Women need to go into the realm of practical life, only then they could know how difficult it is to make both ends meet. They want Asha’ars and Zaroons but don’t wish to endeavor like Kashaf and Khirad.”
Marriage in our society has been concealed as a relationship that is all good. We haven’t tried moving beyond the “and they lived happily ever after” maxim. This is why mostly women visualize their post-marriage life as ideal and perfect. In several cases, it has been observed that many women tend to jump in a higher social class than their actual one when they consider getting married. Narmeen Jamal, a final year student of Psychology holds social media as “highly responsible for increasing wedding frenzy.” She opines, “Whatever you see on Facebook and Twitter, I mean pictures, videos etc. are 95% unoriginal. People edit their snaps to appear more beautiful to others. Same is with the pictures and videos one sees on the pages of budding ‘professional’ photographers liked by thousands of fans. You have more and more bridal couture and fashion weeks but less fruitful discussion on televisions. This is all fabricated and the impact it is generating on society is dangerous. People want to adapt to everything that looks good to them, ignoring the fact that it is slightly real. They have actually started perceiving every glittering thing as gold.” Talking about a recent survey she conducted in this regard, she discloses that “before the sudden advent of wedding photographers on Facebook, there was a low demand of ‘perfect photography’ among people. Only those who could afford considered professional photographers as a choice, but now every other girl regardless of her material status is obsessed with everything that is required to satisfy the cravings of a ‘perfect wedding.’ And that could be horrible in long-term.”