Who would have thought that celebrating one of the biggest days in your life on your own terms could land you trouble with the flag bearers of culture and customs in this country? But such are the times that we live in. Policing has become a hobby, and often it is women who are at the receiving end. When Chennai base accountant Vaishnavi Prasad posted about her intimate wedding, comprising of just friends and family with a small cocktail party and a ten minute ceremony at a temple, it offended a lot of people. Why? Because the woman had justified her choices in a Twitter thread, saying how extravagant weddings are mostly a ‘colossal’ waste of money, but then in the same thread she mentioned how she and her partner refrained from buying any jewellery, or exchanged rings or have a mangalsutra. The trolls picked on this single tweet from her thread, taking it as an insult to traditions.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A woman got trolled because she chose to have her wedding on her own terms.
  • The trolls were especially angry because she chose to forgo buying mangalsutra.
  • While Vaishnavi’s tweets didn’t call any customs regressive, they questioned the extravagant cost of weddings.
  • Do the young in this country not even have the liberty to wed on their own terms?

Why has a couple’s decision to celebrate their union on their own terms irked so many?

Prasad’s tweets do not call any Hindu customs regressive. However, the trolls are alleging that she had money to spend on a cocktail party but not to buy a mangalsutra. Why has a couple’s decision to celebrate their union on their own terms irked so many? Prasad and her husband are consenting adults and they can do as they please. Random strangers are taking an offense where their parents, family members, and friends had none. Besides if any couple holds the perception that weddings are a waste of money, then they aren’t criticising the traditions, they are in fact criticising how we have fattened the India weddings with pomp and practices like dowry and showering the newlyweds with expensive gives.

The couple isn’t alone in feeling that weddings are a waste of money and we need to ask ourselves are they wrong at all.  Beyond the AC marriage halls, feasts with items in at least two digit numbers and different costumes for every ritual, lie the bills which only keep getting fatter every year. The engagement must have diamond rings, the baratis must be given expensive return gifts and the bride must be bedecked in jewellery. Move a little further and you come across families where the bride’s side has to bear all or the majority of these expenses in the name of customs. While our religion preaches no such things, if we have stood by and watch hapless families bow down to pompous commands of groom’s side or give in to societal pressure of making weddings into extravaganzas and haven’t raised our voice, then we are partly responsible if the youth today associates wedding ceremonies more with wastages of money than with holistic rituals.

And mind you, this isn’t limited to any one religion in our country. The plague of extravagance infects across socio-economic tiers, religions and caste in this country. But instead of questioning where we have gone wrong, we would rather troll a woman for not wanting to buy a mangalsutra. Didn’t she say gold and diamond jewellery in the same tweet? Many who have pointed out that a simple thread rubbed with haldi would have acted as a mangalsutra too, perhaps need to open their eyes and see how a price tag has been put on this ‘sacred ornament’. An expensive mangalsutra has become both a demand and a status symbol. Why not put this argument to those who have reduced its values to a mere piece of jewellery instead? Besides, to wear a mangalsutra or not is an individual’s choice, and it is no one’s place to police a woman to do what they think is right.

Picture Credit: Gravity Gate

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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