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     Volume 6 Issue 10 | March 16, 2007 |

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View from the Bottom

Tale of Weddings

Shahnoor Wahid

Indian businessman Arun Nayar (R) walks with his wife Elizabeth Hurley (L) and her son Damian as they arrive at Jodhpur Airport, 10 March 2007, before boarding an aeroplane for Mumbai. Hurley and her Indian husband Arun Nayar left the desert town after their "Big Fat Indian Wedding" ended with tussles between journalists and police.

Though I didn't get invited to either of the two weddings held in India in the past two weeks, I nevertheless sent up a prayer for the 'then they lived happily ever after' kind of life for the couples because no matter what, weddings are beautiful things to happen to people.

Well, the first wedding or post-wedding, that of Indian business tycoon Arun Nayar and British actress cum model Elizabeth Hurley, was but a spectacle of pomp and splendour spread across two continents. A million-dollar wedding? Make it a couple of millions. What else could it be!

Great names were to be found on the list of guests who attended the reception party at Jodhpur, India. As partying went on for days with expensive food, champagne and beautiful smiles aplenty all around, as usual, bands of paparazzi made several attempts to gate crash.

Arun possibly did not include my name in the list since I did not qualify as a super duper rich or a celebrity or a renowned personality in Bangladesh. But I wonder how come he missed so many super duper rich people now available by the dozens in this country! Imagine what a grand show Arun and his guests have missed!

You know what you have missed, Arun? The Bangladeshi thugs-turned-tycoons would have flown in to Jodhpur by chartered helicopters to attend your wedding reception! And they would have given you a Hummer or a BMW or a Porsche as wedding gift! Yes, some chitra deer maybe! No kidding. Did you say, poor country! Bah. Don't listen to the cynics. Come to Bangladesh on a visit and watch the cars and jeeps on the roads and look at some of the villas. You will have plenty to write home about.

From Jodhpur to Kolkata
Here is the tale of the other wedding that was held in Kolkata recently. No, there was no display of gold, diamond and platinum jewelry and no gathering of millionaires and billionaires in this wedding. It was rather a bland show compared to the one in Jodhpur. But it was unique, and I have never heard of anything like this before. No wonder Shakespeare wrote, “There are more things between heaven and earth….”

It was the wedding of the son of one Malay Saha of Sodepur in West Bengal. He had invited 190 beggars to grace the wedding feast! Yes, you have heard it right - street beggars. No, it was not to stage some kind of a stunt or to become a celebrity overnight or enter the Guinness Book of World Records. Malay Saha had no such intentions. He did it to honour a long-maintained family tradition. He had visited the railway stations, markets and temples to invite the beggars. And he offered them the same menu he offered to his kin, which included rice, two types of fish, lentils and traditional sweetmeat. The beggars ate to their fill and blessed the couple. Malay Saha was happy and he hoped that his son would keep the tradition alive by doing the same in the future.

Weddings in Bangladesh
Talks about weddings remind me of the recent trends developing in Bangladesh. Our super duper rich, the famous, the infamous et al, compete with their own kinds to spend mind-boggling amounts in the weddings of their sons and daughters. The ceremonies are divided in many parts under various names and they continue for days. The cost of the feast offered in each function of such super wedding surpasses the entire wedding cost of a middle-class couple. Such shows only point fingers at the gross economic inconsistency existing in our society. Out in the real world, a man can marry a poor village girl spending only about one thousand takas. Almost obscene, don't you think so?

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