When it comes to Indian weddings, odd traditions and rituals are not an unheard or unexpected thing. You try and prepare yourself for the weirdest, but certain things when they come to your knowledge, still manage to leave you dumbfounded. One such thing is an experience that I heard of for the first time from a cousin who got married a few years back, and went through, and which (let me be very clear in stating) I didn't remotely like.. And that is this odd ritual of a sister in law being allowed to pick up and keep any of the many sarees/garments that come in your troeussuee. The poor girl had QUITE a few SILs, who somehow ended up picking all her carefully selected, colourful pieces, and left the drabbest of the lot for her!
Yep, apparently they have the liberty to just put their hand into the suitcase, and pick up whatever they like. The fact that each of those garments has been carefully and tastefully selected by you for yourself, that you might hate to part with it, that it might have cost a bomb are apparently of no consequence whatsoever. You're supposed to just open the bag, and stand in a corner allowing them to sift through the precious things and take whatever they fancy!
Now I'm a very understanding person usually, and have surprising patience and forbearance when it comes to many of these odd traditions. But there happen to be certain things that make my head swirl at the very thought, confusing me as to what I'd like to do more.. a) put my two cents worth of wisdom across the table and try to at least discourage the lameness and stupidity I see, or b) keep quiet and simply ridicule the whole thing in my own head. This is one of those things. I'm amused and unimpressed with this whole nonsense in equal measure for many reasons, some of which are stated below:
1. You and your parents put in a lot of effort in picking every individual item lovingly, smiling and discussing each and every thing that you pick. Why does someone have the right to take it without your permission?!
2. Selecting your troeussuee is one time where you don't budget much, going for the beauty over the value. each and every piece that goes in is usually expensive, that money being spent by your parents lovingly on YOU. How can anyone else put their claim over it?!
3. There are times when there's a reasonable enough explanation to the most bizarre of customs, which, when explained, you can at least wrap your head around. If there's any sense around, things would be the other way round, where the new member of the family was welcomed with gifts by members of the family on entering the house. What sense can THIS one make?!
4. The new entrant of the house is supposed to open up her bags, and her stuff (and hence her heart maybe??) to the daughters of the house.. But why isn't there a return obligation for the daughters to do the same for her? Would they be willing to let her pick absolutely anything from their precious sartorial collection and trinkets, and shower some lowwwve in return?!
5. There are so many gifts, things etc already being given to each and every member of the family.. What's the NEED for this in that scenario?!
6. Even if you absolutely have to, why can't you simply pick up stuff yourself (big enough gesture if you ask me), and give it.. Why the random selection?!
I don't understand what kind of "love all" emotion does this promote? If anything, I think it just leads to grudges on the very first day! It's so ridiculous, even the idea makes me scoff!
Ah well.. To each his/her own! If those involved dont complain, then who am I to!
DISCLAIMER - let me clearly state that I'm aware that this doesn't happen everywhere, including my own family! It's by no means a generalization. This is just a not so subtle opinion piece on the oddity of things, completely based on the story told to me by a particular person. Thoughts and opinions here are entirely my own, and you're more than welcome to disagree.