This suddenly came to my mind yesterday when I was attending a debate in my university. The topic is irrelevant, but the context is not. In the course of the debate people were discussing about how Valentine’s Day, although being part of the so-called western culture, has now been incorporated into our culture. I guess whether it is a good thing, or a bad thing was what they ultimately ended up arguing about. This, is also a consequence of the Big Bong Wedding Hangover like I mentioned in my last post. After what I feel was a ritual overdose, not very surprisingly, I felt the need to make things simpler, and easier to understand, you know. Rituals we relate to, festivals we know the meaning and significance of… I’d also felt this after having been a witness to the rituals that follow a person’s death, and what the family has to go through after having suffered enough already. But let’s not talk about sad things, eh? Moving on to how we can make things simple.
I guess the very first step would be to have options when it comes to following rituals. And not being looked down upon as being “revolutionary” by the society. “But what will people say if you don’t do so and so…!” should not even arise in the scene. If two people are happy to get married on their own, without involving hundreds in it, I guess they should be allowed to. Fact remains that once the two-three day ceremony is over, only a handful would really want to know how happy the couple is in the conjugal life that follows. The focus should be on the moment and the occasion, and I feel running around getting panicky about how the “muhurat” is slipping away kind of draws attention away from it. I mean, think of how monumental it really is! Two people who realize they are meant to be together for life, actually go ahead and take the first step towards it. It should be something that they would think about later in life and get all warm about after all those years! Instead, I guess the first thing a married man or woman would have to say about that moment would be “God, I had no idea what was happening!”
Moving on to the rituals after the wedding. Our community has the ritual of letting a new bride into the kitchen on the third day after the wedding, and another one where the bride and groom go to the bride’s place on the eight day after wedding. I understand that these rituals are meant to sort of ease the newly weds into the new life… you get used to having new relatives, a new set of parents, and in case of the bride, a whole new house to get adjusted to. But the times when the son and daughter-in-law live with the parents is long gone, no? It is usual for the couple to remain in the parents’ house for a couple of days, visit people like on a holiday, and then fly out of the nest to build a home of their own.
What happens then? What about the “rituals” to help them out then?
I suddenly had this idea of making up totally new rituals… Like maybe the first weekend. The husband takes the wife out on a date, and that is compulsory. To make her realize that she is always the cool woman he would love to hang out with all his life. On the first month anniversary, the wife cooks a special meal for her husband all on her own. To let him know that in this time, she has taken the pain to know what he really loves eating, and that she loves him enough to cook it for him without any help from anyone else. Six months, and the bond gets stronger. So they take a day out and roam around the place like an ordinary tourist would. Appreciating everything like for the first time. Exclaiming on the beautiful sites that they have actually witnessed before. Remembering how it was to experience everything new together for the first time. Once a month, they celebrate “buddies” day. When they sit together and chat and have beer maybe, or watch a movie with popcorn in their most comfortable PJs lounging on the couch, not dressing up for a fancy luncheon or dinner….. and just become the back-slapping pals that they really should be. And these rituals continue in intervals over their whole life.
Oh well, you get the gist. You may say each couple has their own way of celebrating togetherness and I agree. But we all know that the first year of getting married is anyways when they get closest, and experience everything for the first time. All I want to emphasize is on the later years. When it gets a little “been there done that” type, and doing something special for the other half needs a little more effort than before because you know each other so well. Since we all seek comfort in rituals and festivals.. why not make up new ones to make being together special each and every year? Why wait for birthdays and anniversaries and Valentine’s Day…. when men hit the panic button deciding on the gifts and things to do, and women agonize over the surprises that they wish they would be well, “suprised” with? Why not just make a habit out of showing the other person that you love and care through these small rituals? And that you appreciate how life is complete because of their presence…all the time?
Having said this, I know my wedding is also going to be held in the most traditional way people can think of. I, too will be one of those brides obsessing about my make-up and dress and on the guests rather than on the moment. And once I am married, I will too, slowly, start taking my husband’s presence for granted. But for now, it is good to dream. And think of how things would be perfect in those dreams.