Life is too precious to be spent massaging someone’s ego or pandering to another’s whims.
There’s a wedding coming up in my extended family. And as it often happens, no TamBram affair is free from its share of bruised ego and petty politics. In this wedding story, the mother of the groom is a single parent. So, she invited her older brother and his wife to solemnize the wedding. Her daughter’s husband meanwhile has got offended because he was not invited to preside over the ceremony. So, hearing of his stance, the groom’s uncle (the older brother I referred to earlier) offered to step aside. But the lady’s daughter’s husband is still not happy. He is of the view that the opportunity to preside over the ceremony was given to him only after he demanded it. He feels that he and his wife have been “ignored and insulted” by his mother-in-law. So, he and his wife have chosen to “boycott” the wedding. Hearing of all this ruckus, all this tamasha, the groom, is threatening to call off the wedding – I guess he just wants to be free from all this drama!! I hear that his poor mother is busy running between him, her brother and her son-in-law trying to manage expectations and massage egos.
All this may sound juicy. And I am sure you too can relate to such behavior among your immediate family. I remember when Vaani and I got married in February 1989, several members of my family, both from my maternal and paternal sides, created so much fuss over non-issues. Someone or the other, I recall, was always sulking and Vaani’s brother had such a difficult time trying to please everyone. I am appalled that almost three decades on, nothing much appears to have changed in our society.
At the core of all such family soap dramas is ego. And gender bias. If you are the girl’s family you are expected to pander to the whims of the boy’s side. Else the boy’s (side’s) hurt ego will manifest itself by childishly sulking and throwing tantrums.
Change can happen only when the bride and the groom treat marriage as a celebration, as a joyous union of the two of them. The couple alone must have the right to how they want to host their wedding ceremony. Currently, as I see it, the couple hardly has any say in what’s going on – a wedding is typically a pompous ritual that parents undertake, in the name of love for their children, to show off their social, familial and financial muscle. Additionally, as I have observed on this Blog in the past, marriage itself as an institution has become irrelevant. It is the loving between two people that keeps them together and not necessarily their being married. So, my unsolicited advice to young folks who plan to marry will be to take all the money they have, including the budget that both families plan to spend on the wedding, and travel the world. Enjoy yourselves, explore each other and the magic and beauty on the planet. Make beautiful memories than make insipid wedding albums and videos, full of people who are either pretending or are sulking, which you are unlikely to revisit too many times in your Life.
And if you do plan to have a wedding, and don’t know how to deal with all those who try to control and torment you, by either sitting on an ego pedestal, or by throwing tantrums, or by doing both, well, just let them be. Only when you give such people attention do they begin to demand more. Instead, just smile and walk away. Let them kick around, rave and rant. In some time, they will tire themselves out and fall silent. Don’t analyze or fret over such behavior – by being the way they are, such people give you a great spiritual opportunity to evolve, to ignore all those who are irrelevant in your Life and to learn to focus only on what matters to you. Life is too precious to be spent massaging someone’s ego or pandering to another’s whims. Remember: you live only once. So, live that Life well – happily – and live it your way!