Writing 101, Day 12: Criticism.

Rohan was sitting beside the pool with Nisha. It was Rohan’s cousin sister’s wedding night. They met a day before yesterday on this occasion. She was a relative from the Groom’s side. Rohan was studying psychology in the states and came to India to attend this marriage. He was a bit reluctant to come but his parents insisted and he could not deny. He came across Nisha during the sangeet ceremony. She was enjoying the entire wedding to the fullest but Rohan was a bit taciturn. She liked this well behaved shy boy and she tried to talk to him afterwards. After some simple word exchanges, Rohan opened up a bit and felt comfortable talking to Nisha. The wedding venue had a resort to welcome guests and a pool in front of the resort. An open garden stretched on the left side of the resort. The mandap was set up on the centre of the garden where the wedding rituals were about to start in an hour. Nisha was about to get to the mandap when she saw Rohan sitting beside the pool alone. She decided to join him for a while and may be later he would join her in the wedding ceremony.

“Why are we sitting here? Let’s go to the mandap. Marriage rituals will start soon. We will miss it” said Nisha smiling. She was looking pretty. She had spent two hours in makeup, to look her best on wedding photographs. She wore traditional saree bought for this occasion.

“Yeah, you get going. I am good here” said Rohan indifferently.

“Why? Don’t you want to enjoy the wedding? It’s your cousin sister’s wedding. What would she think of you staying alone here? She may look for you in the crowd. Don’t you enjoy these wedding parties? ” enquired Nisha looking at him.

“I am good here. What is new in this wedding? I’ve been attending this kind since childhood. More or less, they are same. I have some problem with this whole arrangement. Never mind. You carry on.” replied Rohan nonchalantly not even looking at her.

“Really; what is the problem here? It is the wedding night. The whole arrangement is to make the day memorable for everyone attending the ceremony along with the newlywed couple. What is wrong with it?” was the reply from astonished Nisha.

“Well. I think it is a total waste of time for everyone and also a hell lot of waste of money. Do you think all these people who have come here actually matter in real life? I mean, there are people whom I have never met in my entire life and they are here to celebrate with us. A marriage invitation should only be sent to the people who actually matter to us, not every acquaintance of us. These vows can be taken in a temple as well with close gatherings of family and friends. Why do we need to spend a lot of money for this? I think this is just to show off.” opined Rohan in a very harsh way.

“I see you are looking at the entire opposite end of this scenario. Yes, there could be some people whom we do not know well but this is how our society works. We invite most of our acquaintances to attend a ceremony like this. Don’t you think it is for good? This gathering of people is just to bless the newlywed and enjoy with the family on their happy days. Everyone here is so happy and enjoying the entire ceremony.”

“I do not think so. All these rituals were started by a class of people who wanted others to listen to them only. People are still following these ancient rituals. I do not know how fun it is for the bride, fast for the whole day and follow every step religiously. Look at the west, they have so simple marriage ceremonies inviting only people who matters the most to them. Marriage ceremony should be short and intimate for the couple.”

Rohan paused for a moment looking at Nisha. She was irritated by then. She stood up suddenly and said “I understand where you are going now with your logic. I do not want to hear. Listen, you may have a different thought process than others and you are ok to follow them as you wish. I do not want to spend the night listening to you criticising our ages old cultures and rituals. People in various parts of this world differ by their ideologies, cultures and rituals. You are free enough to adopt any of those you like. If you start criticising your own culture and rituals for the sake of others, you hurt sentiments of your own people. Stop belittling your own culture. Look at those people over there. They are enjoying. Sometimes you must stop criticising and enjoy too. You better stay here. I am off.”

Nisha started walking towards the mandap. She could not understand why she wasted ten valuable minutes of her life in the conversation she just had.

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