Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marriage, Gifts and My take


A couple of days back I had tweeted “இனி எந்த திருமணத்திற்கு சென்றாலும் பரிசாக எதுவுமே தரப்போவதில்லை என்று முடிவு செய்துள்ளேன் நான்!  “(I’ve decided not to give any gifts in the marriage ceremonies I’ll attend) and the kind of replies I got was that people will stop inviting you to their marriage. Wow!, precisely what would be ideal, but the way the responses came were not with the idea of what I think why people should stop inviting friends and families to their marriage. The responses summarized that because I will not be giving a gift to the newly wed couples, they’ll not like me to participate in their marriage. Well that provoked me to write this post.
Before getting in to the gift issue, I first of all believe that marriage in itself is an occasion which is obviously auspicious but needn’t require that lavish expenses as it is happening these days. Though, it is one special day when two people come together to start a new life together. Marriages can be made simpler by just having those truly wishing hearts around. These two who have started a new life together is now going to live a new life every day, we all do live a new life every day. So friends and well wishers can shower their wishes daily after they get married as per their convenience. Why just gather on one day and show flashy outfits they’ve got to the entire world, smile for a photograph, eat and then vanish? Let me logically tell you that you’ll end up spending a much more less money if you go and meet these people at their homes or even at public places along with a dinner or lunch after your marriage rather than booking a hall, inviting everyone to one place.
In a marriage function, which I attended recently a friend of mine called me to purchase a gift. Unfortunately due to time constraint I couldn’t buy anything and suggested them that let us take them out for a dinner some time where probably we can buy them something. However the rest of the people said that we’ll not have time for that, so we should contribute in cash. I was a bit uncomfortable in giving cash, the reason being..
I assume that the tradition of giving cash in marriages would have originated from the thought of providing a monetary support to the newlyweds because they would have invested and spent a quiet reasonable amount on the marriage as such as well as during the earlier days people who were well to do would want to give something in cash to the not-so well to do families so that they can use that to establish a new life with essential things around them and it also justifies me the fact that why utensils and household articles still are being provided as gifts. So I suggested my friends that lets rather ask the bride and groom about what they want and get them something rather than we simply buy what we think would suit them. I know a lot of marriages where there will be so many wall clocks, “n” number of iron boxes, pressure cookers collected more than the need. It also becomes difficult for the people to carry it these days as many people keep shuttling between cities and places. I said them that rather than giving something useless let’s not give anything at all. Oh! How is that possible, what will he think of us. He will blame us if we don’t give any gift was the response from others.
I sincerely think that giving that one time gift will not make the provider and the receiver happy forever in their life. What they / we absolutely need is the support thorough out the life.. As a friend of mine says and I too believe in the fact that marriage is not just a one day celebration, it’s a celebration everyday which starts on that particular day and it continues throughout their life. If you want to give something provide them happiness and give them unconditional love, support and especially your shoulder whenever possible.
They do not need things which will not speak and stay along with them lifelong inside a showcase or at their kitchen. In fact all we humans need our fellow human, who we can trust, rely and believe in.  If the process of not giving gifts will stop people from inviting more people to their marriage that will in fact solve the issue of overspending and lavish expenses made on marriage which intact will help the newlyweds to plan their future better.

9 comments:

amas said...

My son recently attended an Indian wedding in the US. The invitation said no boxed gifts and he asked me what it meant. I googled and found out that it meant that they welcomed cash instead of items. So now the wedding couple are not even shy to express their wishes regarding receiving gifts :-))

amas32

Unknown said...

I am from Malaysia and what Amas said happened in the US is quite normal in Malaysia where people generally give money to the couple for wedding the reason being that they can convert the cash to something useful instead of getting 10 kuttu velakus! Another trend in wedding in Malaysia is the setting up the gift registry. This is a list of things that a couple wants for the wedding. The gift registry sometimes will be with a shop so that people can go there and pick a gift that suits their budget. The shop will also alert them if the gift they have in mind has already been bought by someone else.
Another practice among close relatives and friends is to announce what they want for their wedding. For example when my close cousin got married, she said she would want a microwave and I got her one. She still has it (and in working order too!) 10 years later.
Some couples are quiet upfront about their preferences which is stated in their wedding card. One couple wrote that they preferred cash only!
I think there is nothing wrong with that -- being upfront on what they want. It's just the way the world is and let's face it -- it is also far more practical.

Mathangi R said...

I agree to most part of what you have written. It is indeed a costly n often useless (for want of a better word!) affair.. I remember distinctly that in my sister's wedding two years back, me n my sister didn't so much as recognize more than half the people who turned up! And at the end of it all, we were left with a number of gifts - most of which I am pretty sure were 'recycled'.. when i say recycled i don't mean it literally, instead i mean that they probably were received by someone once, not used ever n gift wrapped n delivered! This happens all the time, which is such a waste of resource!

But most times one doesn't have a say in these big family affairs.. Although what I have been doing since college is taking out friends for shopping on their birthday n buying them what they need and will use! Lately, i have started doing that for wedding gifts too except that it is not always possible to go shopping together but i always ask my close friends what they would like as a token of my affection n thankfully my friends are wise enough to choose something useful!

ritesh said...

We in our marriage card printed - "No gifts or cash would be accepted. Just bring your blessings" and even when some people tried to give us, we flatly refused. I agree that arranging a Shaadi has become a pain in the ass instead of the sense of closeness it should promote.

debamitro said...

Marriage is hardly a rational decision -- it is one of the most important days in a person's life. I don't think it can be bound by too many rules. I think it is best to leave the options flexible at the couple's wishes rather than deciding in favour of or against gifts.

paravinda said...

A wedding invitation is merely an offer of hospitality, a way of asking someone to join in a celebration. Surely one is too excited about the wedding, and happy to see one's well-wishers to be thinking about how to use the occasion to get stuff.

Gifts are not required, though of course one who attends might get all excited and want to give something on the occasion. Gifts are not expected. Expecting a gift takes away the whole meaning of gift.

If you are inviting someone to a party of any kind, it is tasteless to suggest in any way that you expect a gift or to suggest what gift you want. If you are so fortunate as to receive a gift, you should be overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and generosity, not checking it against your list.

dhrugeese said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dhrugeese said...

On NOT giving a gift at all.. I think there's a kind of loose inverse relationship to the 'social distance'. The more close the people are, the more comfortable they are crashing (which is what we actually want all our guests to do when we say 'no gifts').
My wife and I had some interesting experiences. Some of our guests gave us something they had made by hand, which really meant a lot. One of the best gifts that we got was that several kids from my alma mater school got together and performed a song on stage. Very sweet.
On the 'gift registry' system.. Sounds like a nice idea, but who maintains the centralised database? You don't know which shop someone might buy a gift from.

Shilpa Singla said...

Here is my take on it:

When I visit anyone (friends/family), as a thank you for inviting me over, I carry some food item, little gift, etc. with me. I use the same logic at a wedding. If someone invites me over to share their happiness, I wish them well and gift them something or the other.

I am very much against gifting someone something that I think they would need. Hence, I either give them some cash (from which they can buy something they actually need, as opposed to "me" deciding for them) or go to their gift registry.

In many countries, newly wed couples, couples having babies, people buying a new house register themselves at a store or two. They get to let their loved ones know what stores they are registered at and the loved ones can simply go to the stores and buy them gifts in their particular list. Can it get any better?