Rather than going for the clichéd picture-perfect photo, one needs to prioritise the people who give them true happiness.
I have a friend who absolutely had to have a large ostentatious wedding. Her company was in the red, they were in debt but the society expected it and she felt she’d fall short in front of her friends and kitty members. But isn’t it important to celebrate special occasions with loved ones, to capture memorable intimate moments than to emptily showoff? It seems one-upmanship rules tyrannically.
However, it is my belief that we can chase materials, fame and the society to its inconclusive ends and work harder and harder to plough in the means, fit in, be one better than the Jones’s, in desperate exhibitionistism. But post the most luxurious holidays and everything to show, brag and pose, and be one-up on social media, they are often the loneliest people on the earth. In all this, we are left so depleted and discontented that even a bonhomous tankard with Jones becomes an exercise in buying the single malt in its most expensive avatar from Japan, the caviar from Iran and the wife’s gown from Milan for the occasion and then speak about it and post it on every platform. The trappings aren’t about enjoyment but about stressful performance. The days of chatting across the fence with the apron still on seem to be relegated to history.
So what happened? Was not life meant to be about little joys? Simple happiness’s? Spontaneous tea parties? Why has life become such a serious business that requires so much effort and complexity and yet misses out on the original purpose of unpretentious joys of ‘hanging out’ and sharing an honest cup of tea?
Every incident seems to be contrived toward showing the world how much ‘fun’ you’re having while the whole time you are stressed about the perfect picture. Like my friend Silky Sood whose sparkling new Rolls drove up — but her husband whispered to her — alas for them within my earshot of hearing while I stood awaiting my car behind them — “don’t sit just yet, let more people come into the foyer from the party and see us getting in?”
From a panel discussion, Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s words have stayed with me. He referred to this very state that society has arrived at as “the most pressing necessity for economic environmental existence has become the need to simplify, cut down and to live more austerely and have relationships for the sake of the pleasure of the relationship.”
What kind of road has humanity paved in its endeavour to live in excess and luxury? Before we arrive at a state like the movie WALL-E with no real friends or marriage, parents dumped into an old age home, soullessly, and machine waste all around us, we need to push out some of the preciously collected material showpieces that are crowding our space, both literally and metaphorically and dive into the real thing.
The start could be with a real wedding, with real friends and family, not to show off to the world and post the ‘right’ pictures, with the ‘names’ that attend for your PR but with a ceremony that would herald in a lifetime of cherished and meaningful moments of love and companionship. To bring in lightness and laughter — life was never meant to be such a serious business.
(All incidents quoted are real life experiences and not fictitious.)
The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org