An innocent 5 year old’s disgust at the big fat Indian weddings and their unabashed show of wealth holds up a mirror to the sad paradox facing us today.
Clad in designer dresses, bejeweled and perfumed, suited and booted people, were moving around with plastic smiles plastered on their well-scrubbed, shiny faces, and daintily picking snacks from the trays that the waiters were carrying around with the finesse of trapeze artists.
“What a big, fat wedding!”
I turned around to see who had commented thus in a childish treble, probably an adult, piqued by the obscene display of wealth all around. But, it was really a mere child.
“Hi little one, how are you?” I bent down to pat him on one chubby cheek.
“I am fine, and you?” A pair of emerald green eyes looked up at me, chubby face wreathed in smiles.
“But, I am no little one, I am five year old,” he said with a lovable frown.
“Okay, Big one, what is your name?”
“Rishi.” he said with a merry twinkle.
“Ah, satisfaction! That is also my mother’s name,” the five year old remarked.
“Yes,” I said, with a mix of surprise and amusement.
“When I get married I will not waste such a lot of money on my marriage!” he said, with the wisdom that comes from age, from having seen it all before, but he was only a five year old.
From that moment, the five year old NRI child took a fancy to me, (maybe, because I stood out like a sore thumb amidst the gorgeous, well-groomed crowd) tagging along wherever I went, hopping and scampering behind me and sometimes, holding my finger as he went around squealing at the wonders around him. I had never seen a more talkative child.
We were at a wedding reception, which had been preceded by five days of seemingly unending revelry, one after the other in different five star resorts.
“Phew! Is the marriage finally over?” he asked, his cute chubby face reflecting a perplexed look beyond his years.
“Yes,” I sighed, looking at the bride and bridegroom dancing towards the dais.
Is India really a nation grappling with poverty? So many destination weddings! Designer dresses! Such wastage of food!
Does all this really make any sense? Spending crores on a wedding celebration when crores are languishing on pavements – underfed – under- clothed, shedding futile tears at their pathetic state.
My heart was heavy with myriad such thoughts, when I felt someone tugging at my hand. It was the talkative kid.
“When will the babies come now” he asked.
This happened yesterday night, today morning when I headed out for my walk, the first sight that met my eyes was the same brother and sister rag picker pair that I had been seeing off and on, during my morning walks. They stood rummaging in the garbage bin.
The innocent question of the five year old suddenly flashed before me, When will the babies come now?
The babies were right in front of me, in all their bedraggled glory, would anyone be magnanimous enough to embrace them as their own?
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