In lockdown, millennials marry on video conference calls2 min read . Updated: 19 Apr 2020, 01:46 PM IST
- People having weddings, and even funerals, over platforms like Zoom affirms the importance of customs in our culture
- The nationwide lockdown might have brought life to a standstill in many ways, but there are people who are going ahead with their plans
NEW DELHI: A few minutes before her wedding, Kirti Agrawal realised her eye shadow shade was too dark for her outfit—a borrowed skirt, an old blouse and a dupatta. Her makeup artist in Mumbai, guiding her via a Zoom call, suggested applying foundation with a fingertip to lighten it. The jugaad worked, matching the theme of the day.
Thirty minutes later, Agrawal and Avinash Singh Bagri, both 31, sat in front of a small fire, laptop a few metres away in the balcony of their Delhi home, and married. The priests were in their living room in Mumbai, chanting mantras and guiding the couple through rituals via Zoom call. On screen, were 150 other guests. Once the ceremony ended, the guests started dancing in their individual homes to the beat of the dholwalas, who had also joined the wedding with a link on 14 April.
The nationwide lockdown might have brought life to a standstill in many ways, but there are people who are going ahead with their plans, including getting married with a little help from technology, without breaking social distancing rules.
Radhika Chopra, a professor of sociology at Delhi University, says people having weddings, and even funerals, over platforms like Zoom affirms the importance of customs in our culture. “This lockdown is reinventing our social lives. People are finding ways around it so that they are able to live ‘the normal life’, which is an integral part of our being," she says.
Agarwal and Bagri’s wedding was planned a year earlier. “We didn’t want to postpone. As per the Vedic calendar, the next date would have been in December. We didn’t want to wait that long," says Bagri, co-founder of gogoBus, a startup that offers intercity bus services.
Agrawal, who works as a technical program manager at online travel company Expedia, had to request a vegetable vendor to make garlands for the wedding. “They turned out to be the short marigold malas you wear when you welcome someone. It was a complete jugaad wedding, but it happened and that’s what matters," laughs Agrawal.
Matchmaking platform Shaadi.com helped the couple get things in place a week in advance. “Indian weddings are a lot of effort and planning starts up to a year in advance," says Anupam Mittal, Shaadi.com’s founder-CEO.
A postponement or a cancellation can be a huge disappointment not just for the couple but also the guests who have looked forward to it for months. “So we decided to introduce weddings from home, and hopefully, help people be together during these difficult times," says Mittal, adding they are planning about eight more such wedding ceremonies.
Privacy concerns about Zoom have made news recently, but for event organisers, it’s the easiest platform to get a large number of people together. “People are used to Zoom now. You can’t reinvent the wheel at this moment," explains Mittal.
Sushen Dang, who is in Mumbai, and Keerti Narang, 25, in her hometown Bareilly, had their wedding on 19 April. Since they were with their respective families, they held a “social marriage" with the rituals considered integral to the wedding ceremony. “We didn’t want to skip such an auspicious day," says Dang, 26, who works as a competitive intelligence analyst in Canada. “And thankfully, the Wi-Fi didn’t drop a single time."