“Allah will surely reward you for this concern. It is certainly for a good cause. Though I am a retired man, here is my modest contribution,” he said while donating some money to the group of neighbors who had visited him. “Who were they?” his wife inquired from him as soon as he came in from the veranda door. “Nothing, they were looking for someone and I guided them,” he replied while wearing his reading glasses, and started surfing the newspaper.
A few days later, he was waiting to receive his grandchildren from school at a nearby bus stop. “My exam went well,” said Sara, his five-year-old granddaughter while stepping down from the school bus. Taking her in arms, he replied with good cheer, “It’s great, and what about you Saqib?”, turning to his seven-year-old grandson, whom he held fast by his hand. “I did everything I was asked to do… Hey Grandpa, what are they doing?” he eagerly asked while pointing towards some people dropping off a lot of goods from a load carrier which included huge logs of wood and iron rods plus much more. Without taking any serious note, Grandpa forced Saqib to move towards home and said, “It seems some marriage function is happening in the locality; you get in as you must be quite tired.”
Evening set in. Having a little in their dinner and throwing all tantrums around, Sara and Saqib were cajoled to sleep by their parents. Sometime later, elders of the family, fatigued of the daily toil as well as the managing of the children, too went to sleep. No sooner they had a nap, an earsplitting and grating voice burst from the loudspeaker—“Hello, hello, testing, testing...” It was a surprising moment. A time neither for any Azaan nor for any call of the religious night, the sound kept mounting in volume. Before the family could reckon of anything else, the timbre of some musical instruments started booming from the loudspeakers. It wasn’t the voice from the mosque; at least this was now clear for the family.
Gradually, the musicians also started singing in all the languages they knew. From so-called religious songs to Bollywood item songs, they let no one sleep in the locality. Kids, old, young and sick, all had to ‘face the music’. Grandpa quietly went to see Sara and Saqib in their room. However, he saw their parents pacifying them as they had started tossing and turning, and getting cranky. The deafening voices were getting shrill as the night advanced. Amid the dark long night, the lights of rooms in adjacent houses were flickering on and off. Everybody felt besieged in the noisy scene.
The ailing granny also got uneasy and distressed. The wide-awake old man too couldn’t go to the mosque the next dawn. Along with the blaring music and bawdy lyrics that rebounded from the lanes of the locality, he went to the baker shop to fetch some fresh bread. He saw other people there, waiting for their turn, in an agitated mood. The issue under discussion was the use of loudspeakers during Mehndiraat. The old man was upset to learn about the extravaganza by a particular person in the locality who had hired these pricey singers for the whole night. Without entering into the discussion, he took the bread and returned home.
For Sara and Saqib, the night was no less than a nightmare. Being too sleepy and irked, they missed their morning online classes. Amidst trauma stemming from the pandemic and prevailing circumstances, it was too hard for kids to take this hullabaloo.
Tackling the irritated kids was a hard task for the parents. The doctor advised some investigations and added some more medicines in granny’s prescription. Kids went to sleep an early evening, and the rest of the family too decided to have dinner ahead of schedule and then take some rest.
“Thud, Thud” an instant big blast followed by scores of thunderous boom once again woke up the kids with fright and made them take refuge under quilt fussily. The old granny once again got startled. The sounds were so piercing and loud that the father of kids called up his friend in the nearby locality wherefrom the blasts echoed, just to know what was happening. “What did your friend say?” eagerly asked his old father, “is there an encounter going on?” he added. “No, it is some Baraat that has reached the marriage hall in my friend’s colony,” he answered pitiably.
“Who played loud music yesterday, and who is bursting these crackers tonight?” asked Saqib edgily while holing himself up under the bed cushions. “The music was played by the poor person for whom our neighbors raised the money to get his daughter married. And, these crackers are burst by the ‘rich’ class of our society,” Grandpa replied in a dull voice and added, “my dear, you will understand once you grow up. I wish your growing is silent and smooth, and you don’t lose the face and face this music.”
The noise grew shriller. The ambience was darker…..as the mad cacophony continued.
Bottomline: When marriages become a spectacle of flaunting, shallow escapades and social media antics, the so-called rich prove appallingly poor people of any society. Marriages aren’t mad displays staged to create ballyhoo. Marriages are solemnly soulful connect, beyond temporal and flimsy manifestations. If they fail to be so, they are then reduced to earthly settlements.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.