It’s one o’clock in the night and I have just come back after attending the first of many dinners which are being held for the wedding of a nephew of mine. I don’t know why we Pakistanis have to waste so much time in wedding dinners. First there is the “dars” followed by dinner at the bride’s house, followed by the same the next day at the groom’s house. Then the mehndi and dinner at the groom’s house followed by the mehndi and dinner given by the bride’s family. A couple of days later, the “rukhsati” and dinner which will be served two hours after midnight, followed by the valima hosted by the family of the bridegroom. This will go on for a couple of weeks, as the newly married couple have to be feasted by the numerous aunts and uncles who have nothing to do but stuff themselves up to bursting point. No wonder the cardiologists and the caterers are minting millions.
Contrast this with what happened when Imran Khan got married in London in 1995. There were only a hundred guests present, yet the newspapers described it as a “grand function.” I told my English friends about the really grand dinners given when Pakistanis tie the knot, when the number of guests often exceeds a thousand. “You call Pakistan a poor country?” was how they responded.
Unfortunately nothing can be done to provide relief to people like me who get sick if they don’t get enough sleep. I go to wedding functions only if the hosts are close relatives or friends. I can’t impose any conditions on them, like demanding that they should arrange for the dinner is served at nine. Although almost all invitation cards state that dinner will be served at nine, this never happens. Often the host himself is not present when the guests arrive at nine or even ten.
So why do we have this hypocrisy? Why can’t we ever do what’s right? Are we programmed to make lives difficult for others?