Let’s all agree to agree that Indian weddings are an exasperating farrago of sexist customs in need of urgent modification, and inappropriate relatives in need of urgent patriarchy-cleansing.
One of the most bizarre and (unfortunately) popular customs we’re forced to witness, is the lifting of the bride and groom as they exchange varmalas on the over-bright wedding stage. For those who’ve recently come into this world, and know not the deeply twisted world of baraati versus saraati ‘games, here’s what it’s all about. Varmalas or garlands are exchanged to show that the bride and groom have ‘accepted’ each other. The concept of physically lifting the bridegroom however was probably invented by some with too much alcohol, and too little sense in them.
The ‘ritual’ is chaotic, often leads to flared tempers on each side, and invariably gives a window of opportunity to those incestuous perverts every family is generously blessed with. Which brings us to the issue at hand: Have you seen the ‘bride slapping’ video most of the Internet’s currently sniggering over?
The viral clip has elicited a wide variety of reactions and as expected, quite a few are tone-deaf beyond measure.
In the video, the bride is seen standing next to the groom while waiting for the varmala to begin. In comes a friend/relative who bodily picks up the groom, beyond the bride’s reach. The bride’s only reaction to this is resigned boredom, but a man standing nearby clearly couldn’t handle the ‘ladke wale’ winning The Game of Varmalas. Without the bride asking him to, or even giving him her permission, the man lifted the bride as well. As he puts her down, the bride lands a resounding slap on his face, while the groom looks on, seemingly dazed by the very presence of humans around him. Had the video ended there, we might have simply cheered for the bride and her ilk who refuse to be coy, and moved on. Instead, we’re left reeling in shock as we’re reminded yet again that toxic masculinity rears its ugly head way too often in private and in public our society.
As the man stalks off in high dudgeon indignantly, he asks the bride why she hit him, to which she can be heard declaring to everyone around that he held her inappropriately. As he’s trying to leave, he is stopped by another lady (presumably his wife). She barely even gets a word or two in, before he slaps her hard and stomps off.
If a woman resents you for touching her without her permission, and if she lashes out or calls you out on it, the obvious thing to do is hit the woman too scared of you to hit back. That’s the first point in How To Be A True Mard handbook, after all.
To a large majority of people on social media messaging platforms, the video didn’t seem horrifying. Instead they LOLed.
Comment sections on Facebook and Twitter are flooded with many variations of ‘bechara dulha’ and the ever-sadistic ‘trailer aisa hai toh picture kaisa hoga’. Not to forget the whole lot of people who believe the ‘wife’ slapped because she ‘asked’ him to lift the bride. But of course. When in doubt, blame the woman.
Wife hi kheechi hogi usko lift krne ke liye…ladka ya to mama rha hoga ya fir koi aur rishtedar.
I don’t think ki stage pr koi janboojh ke badtamiji krega ladki se.
Still agar kiya hoga to shi pda _
— NATIONALIST JOKER _ (@EkAkeleSbkoPele) July 2, 2018
Definition of Harrasment is not properly defined in India and it’s purely used for the benefit of one gender… I wonder you’ll feel harrassed even of your brother lifts you in this manner and if you really do, get yourself treated
— Supernil2018 (@supernil2018) July 3, 2018
I guess she gave him the idea of lifting her up that’s why he slapped her. That was a bad idea
— Abhinav (@Abhinav54053980) July 2, 2018
Correct me if I am wrong!! What I saw was the lady in behind asked the guy to lift the bride as someone else lifted the groom, he lifted her so that she can put the varmala, he should have asked permission but his intention was not wrong!! Yes he should not have hit the lady!!
— Ravanan (@FinRavanan) July 2, 2018
We’ve spent too much time normalising violence in men, and justified instances of men ignoring a woman’s right to consent to an act that invades their privacy, as well as men taking a woman’s rejection as a personal affront with passionate cries of ‘men are like that only’. So much so that we’ve nearly forgotten that women are people too.
If being tone-deaf, insensitive when it comes to toxic behaviour were an art, Indians could offer a Masters in it.