Move over tiered wedding cakes! Wedding trends have a smoking new trend. Firecrackers and air bombs have just shimmied their way to the ultimate wedding package and are the new favourites for married couples. It seems marquee lights, chandeliers, opulent wedding cakes, complimentary beverages, luxury decorations, lavish receptions, dressing and decking up is not enough to complete the wedding package.
Fireworks are relatively new additions to wedding ceremonies and couples are raising the bar to create authentic celebrations while continuing to rely heavily on wedding trends to bring their visions to life, trends which are unusual in unusual times. These days, lavish Manipuri wedding bashes have come to include crackers in a big way, which are rapidly becoming part and parcel of the celebration.
When waking up to sirens and quakes has now become the new normal for people of the strife-torn state, the new trend of bursting firecrackers and air bombs at weddings has landed in the state, supplementing the great trepidation of the people.
It’s ironic that sounds of firecrackers made their way back, reverberating across wedding locations in Imphal city recently even when the pompous Diwali celebrations were muted and the city and its periphery areas went completely dark for 10 minutes for the first time ever on Diwali. Aside from the bangs, fizzes and dazzling displays that fireworks bring with them, an increasing concern is for the inconveniences not only caused to the weary people of the state but also the damage done to the environment and health when crackers burst, which can range from dangerous to devastating.
What is particularly jarring is that this trend has been corroborated by supposedly the state’s most educated and the very illustrious. However, there is the other side of the coin. Not everyone is down to sticking to the fireworks and fizzes. Opinions and grievances were raised by the public through platforms including live phone-in programmes and social media platforms, expressing utter disappointment at the insensibility amidst such a tense situation.
The unusual trend might have been publicly accepted and things might have been different if the situation in the State was ‘pre-conflict’ and had the people faced no such violent blow in years.
After experiencing continued sounds of bombings and firings, attacks and threats, arson and skirmishes for months, blasting firecrackers to express enthusiasm is clearly a poor choice and it could lead to actions that might be unfavourable. It is pertinent to mention here that amid the global warming and climate change crisis, which is a grave concern, firecrackers add significantly to the burden that the environment has to bear.
Not to mention the effect they have on our physical and mental health and on the other beings that we share this planet with. One ought to remember that few instants of ‘fun’ do not justify long-term harm to all. Just a night of bursting firecrackers increases pollution levels so much that decreasing the level appears a hopeless task.
Above all, there is already a tremendous social and financial pressure a family experiences on weddings, especially the poor as footing the bill for their children's weddings is very crucial, even if it costs an arm and a leg. The new trend of bursting firecrackers has raised curiosity whether those who fail to follow such trends will not make it to the ‘Instagram wedding extravaganza’ trends, which are soaring in the social media-driven world and have almost become a wedding ritual these days.
It is also an apt reflection of the time that we live in where sophistication has been overridden by one-upmanship, where exclusivity has lost worth and replaced by a persistent unfathomable urge to trend. The current state of situation has made even the intellectuals take rash decisions and it seems people especially in the city areas are easily swayed by distractions, leading them to momentarily forget about the current crisis.
But haven’t we, on numerous occasions observed that right before a storm hits, the weather is eerily calm? But of course, we are all similar to the saying “There is nothing wrong with putting your own needs, convenience and happiness first”. Call it self-love, self-care and whatever sits best with you, only if the “I do what I want” in your mind doesn't include actions that may hurt others indirectly.
The aesthetic allure of firecrackers might add an extra layer of celebration, turning it into a fun and revelry unforgettable experience for the couple, but given our recent brush with the uncertainties that has gripped the state, skipping the firecracker trend will be a sound judgement.
(The views expressed are personal)