Reports in the Indian media are highlighting how demonetisation is affecting the wedding season here. Jewellers are a worried as their ‘season’ collection is being radically affected. Parents of women about to be married are an equally disturbed lot, beti ko vida kaise karenge? (How will we send off our daughter without gold?)

 

 

It is surprising that now no marriage in the country seems to be complete without the bride and the bridegroom being decked in gold, layered in gold or maybe even bathed in gold (yes, Malayalees, here’s looking at you). Bengalurean mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy decked his daughter Brahmani with diamonds, amid the demonetisation, proving that gold was passé. Well, while the commoners in India cannot follow his example, they sure have been forced to become austere.

 

 

In India, when you say weddings, the most common refrain is “Weddings bring two families together”. What they happily brush under the carpet is how gold, money, and other materialistic gifts are precariously holding the two families together.

 

 

Before the demonetisation set in, many to-be married couples were amid shopping for their upcoming weddings. The major purchase, mind you, is not the designer lehenga or the sweet boxes to send to countless relatives who materialise to tell you how you should run the function – it is the amount of gold the family will be giving to their daughter.

 

 

Another side effect of the cash crunch has been relatives feeling quite shortchanged. Why? You see, many houses have this ‘custom’ of giving gold to the family of the groom and the close relatives from both the bride and bridegroom’s side. I can see you nod your head in agreement to this. Now, there is no scope for gifting gold, at least not within the next three four months. After this is another scenario altogether.

 

 

What I am getting at is that no gold for Indian weddings is a good headline for numerous families and brides. This has at least put a brake on transferring the girl’s weight in gold to her future in-laws as, call it what you may, ‘good omen, sign of prosperity, streedhan, safekeeping, insurance or assurance for their daughter’s upkeep. Is gold that important that lives depend on it? Newly married girls are being tortured by their in-laws because they failed to satisfy their monetary and demands for gold. That is what it has come to and it across geographies, both in North and South India.

 

 

Wasn’t marriage supposed to be a union of two families, etc.etc? and materialistic goods did not figure anywhere here did it? Weddings are supposed to happy for both families. Why should the girl’s family be running from pillar to post scrounging for money or gold to keep the other side satisfied? Parents begin their savings right from the girl is young, hoping that all this effort will be useful in her wedding. The other side may say, “We don’t want anything” but underneath that one is supposed to assume that the deliverables have to be met. Why assume? Take it at face value. Don’t give anything. The more we propagate this, the more it will become a habit and a good one at that. So, thank you, Mr Prime Minister.