Our understanding of certain long-established rituals like Weddings has evolved as society has evolved. In India – weddings are a big deal. More than the actual event, it is a place to connect and bond with others. The best part about my wedding was time spent with my family and close friends for an entire week – I am not even sure if that will ever happen again.
So, in the past, weddings were more like business transactions – a way to ensure that the human race does not end on planet earth. My grandmoms and their moms were married before sixteen and would arrive at their in-laws with dowries. And since the primary mode of transportation was bullock carts – it would be a massive undertaking from one village to the other. The 10-15 km, which we can cover in minutes, would take weeks then. And once the bride reached our husband’s village, she would rarely make the trip back home. So as a young girl growing up, you were told to adjust and compromise. It was important that the in-laws liked you so that they would take good care of you. And in those times, your role model was other women who could cook, clean, have children, and take care of the house wonderfully.
Things improved a bit in mom’s times. The technology had evolved, so there were cabs, more frequent trips back and forth. My mom had more education than her predecessors, but it was a backup plan and not a requirement for a woman to be able to be independent. They were still dependent on their husbands to take care of them and their lives revolved around their families. The concept of an independent woman did not exist, but it was emerging. The world around them was changing – society had moved solidly into the technological age from the industrial/agricultural age. And this meant that there was no need for the entire family to stay together, and branching out was possible. And also human population had exploded, so there was no necessity to reproduce.
And then my time – I believe I was in the midst of the change from my mom’s time to my own, which was being created. I grew up in a world where there was no need for a business transaction through marriages. Technology had taken off. Even if a girl got married, she could stay in constant touch with her own family. And there was no need to get a girl to focus only on household chores, so I studied and did all the other things I wanted. So, when I grew up, marriage was a personal choice as opposed to a life event that needed to happen in a certain way. The concept of love and its connection to the wedding had emerged by then, fueled by movies, books and an even deeper understanding of relationships meant for personal growth.
Now, looking into the future wedding as a constant in an individual’s life does not exist. Society has changed so much – some people are delighted being single and find companionship in other ways. Marriages are not the only way to ensure personal growth, love, kids or friendship. There are platonic relationships. Many women go through a wedding shoot without getting married because they like getting dressed in Japan. Some people are getting married to their anime characters. People have relationships with their phones. Marriages now could mean between two girls, two guys – gender is no bar. I know of friends for whom the wedding was an afterthought and some who decided not to get married because the ceremony did not mean anything.
What would the world of the future look like? And most importantly, have we evolved as humans to be ready for a utopian or dystopian future? What are you contributing towards?