Wedding waste

The winter month of december is ending in its full and nippy glory here in Karachi and the never ending series of weddings just keeps going on and on and on. Not only are the residents of this city being made to suffer due to 12 hour load shedding in these cold and desperate times but they also have to lie awake listening to band baja’s, firing and fire works of each and every capacity accompanied by loud and vlugar Indian music and dhols in the middle of the night.

When will this all stop? Each year everyone who is going to get married does their best to schedule a date in this month and then proceeds to indulge in the most possible waste of money that they can manage. It starts from exorbitant amounts spent on clothes and jewelry to crazy decorations to the biggest waste of them all, the food that is leftover after these weddings. I remember a time when 3-4 dishes would be good enough for any palette but unfortunately in the race to outdo one another we have turned elegance to debauchery at the buffet.

Have we ever paused to think what any family has to go through these days to manage a “decent” wedding for their offspring? Not only is a hell of a lot of food just thrown away but this is being done in a time where most of us cannot even afford to waste anything at all. The recent and insane rise in prices of edibles in this city means that caterers which used to charge 250 to 300 rs a head do not even blink in offering the same menu for 500-650 rs a head.

Cities all over Pakistan have adopted the one dish rule for example Lahore and Faisalabad where this is being enforced to a large extent by the law enforcement and marriage halls. Why can we not implement such a law for Karachi which limits not only the number of dishes kept in a wedding banquet, but also the amount of noise one can generate and uptill what hours.

If we can control the amount of food consumption and wastage in our weddings perhaps this will reduce the artificial levels of demand in the local market and bring down the prices of edibles to the benefit of us all.

I appeal to the city government to make and enforce the one dish rule as well as a noise pollution rule for us Karachites and enforce it with its full power to ensure both the regular supply of edibles in the local market and a peaceful nights sleep for all of us, even if it is in complete darkness.

Punishment to those breaking this rule should be to consume their offered buffet for one week straight while listening to the nerve racking sounds of pappu can’t dance salaa!

18 Comments so far

  1. pkman on December 28th, 2008 @ 5:44 am

    Faisal, I agree with your points. However, this is one of the few fun activities that everyone can get involved in so I can understand people going all out at this time of the year.

  2. srhasan on December 28th, 2008 @ 7:32 am


    Please do not go down the road of legislating individual taste and rights. As far as firing and loud music is concerned that should be banned as it impinges on others civic rights but please lets not try to legislate how and what food one can serve at his/her wedding. Yes you can exhort people to not do it as moral reprimands (and it is a moral crime if you waste food) but we should not go down the path of legislating against it. Totalitarian attitude is cultivated in us that we are blinded to reason and individual rights.

  3. cyrenity on December 28th, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    @srhasan, middle class in Pakistan can’t afford a menu of 500-500 Rs. per person, but our culture force them to do so. one dish policy isn’t created to harm an individual’s legislation but to forbid/confront the bad culture in our society.

  4. cyrenity on December 28th, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

    legislation legislative right*

  5. sceptic on December 28th, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

    You marry once (mostly). It is an individual’s decision how he/she gets married and how much gets spent on a wedding reception.

    A restriction on the number of dishes one can offer does not restrict expenditure. It is not a government’s responsibility to set wedding menus. What next, a restriction on the price of dresses for the marrying couple?

    Besides, wedding receptions pour money into catering industry, which is considered a major job creator. We need more jobs to keep pur economy going.

  6. barristerakc on December 28th, 2008 @ 8:36 pm

    I could so relate to the topic since I got “NIKKAHFIED” and became “Nosha Mian” on the 20th of December, 2008 A.D (and only now I know the relevance of mentioning A.D after dates).

    There was Mehndi; Nikkah & Valima apart from all those sit ups; dance practices and other rituals which hit my pocket hard but then to me it was worth it.

    As a friend rightly mentioned here that why should the government decide for us? It’s a free market economy and one has a right to spend his money; how he or she wishes too.

  7. barristerakc on December 28th, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

    Guys, Public Nuisance is an unreasonable interference with the rights of public although penalty for public nuisance is very low and although public nuisance is a crime, the civil damages in tort are recoverable by persons who “prove” that they have suffered. Although you can not be serious in filing a lawsuit against of such kind in Pakistan. I remember police knocking at our doors for partying too loud ; we didn’t cared and I know for the fact that atlead West Midlands Police hated such complaints.

    That’s the law,

    "268. Public nuisance:
    A person is guilty of a public nuisance who does any act or is guilty of an illegal omission which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance to the public or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger or annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right.
    A common nuisance is not excused on the ground that it causes some convenience or advantage"

  8. kabirdas on December 28th, 2008 @ 11:34 pm

    @ sceptic on December 28th.

    Agree with your comments irrespective of the fact whether we mostly marry once or more than once.

    @ barristerakc on December 28th.

    I am sure the expenditure on various functions of your wedding must have been worth it for you. However, I doubt if it would have hit your pocket all that hard. I am sure as a barrister you must have passed the expenditure under some head in your fee to your clients in which case it is their pockets which would have been hit hard :-)

  9. human01 on December 29th, 2008 @ 12:40 am

    Can’t agree you more Faisal, on most of your arguments. My other friends who are advocating individual’s right to spend as they wishes are correct to some extent too but there is a fine line between individuals right & public right in general, which in a society like ours, doesn’t matter at all. No body cares about no ones right, there is only one right, which is MIGHT, which is always right, so forget about laws and legislation. I have seen people spending lavishly on food & celebration when it was banned by the Law. The same thing still happening in Lahore & Faisalabad now, for those who can afford will always do what they wish. On the other hand, it can be dealt with moral ethics & awareness. I know people, some of my very close friends, who had their wedding with utmost simplicity, no crazy mayun/mehndi, & donating the savings from these parties to charitable organizations like Edhi Foundation, which helps needy couples to get married. In their view, prayers from those couples is more long lasting & secure investment then “good time” of a day or two. But of course it’s a personal choice. I am planning to do the same InshaAllah, let’s see if I can take stand against the peer pressure & the FAMILY pressure.

  10. human01 on December 29th, 2008 @ 1:03 am

    Do I sound like Jamati!…..I swear I am not!!!

  11. barristerakc on December 29th, 2008 @ 1:21 am

    I wish; I so wish magar I got all those, “Insh’Allah; Mash’Allah” type clients: which means cheques often bounce back and we have to hound them to recover.

    Kabirbas Bhai you are a witness to my “BARBADI”, Gareeboo ke Shaadi thee bhai!!!

    BTW, I remember a bizarre judgment by a Swiss Court as it’s quite reverent to our discussion:

    It happened so that in a poor neighborhood of Berne; a resident won lottery to become a millionaire but he didn’t move from that neighborhood and refurbished his house instead and bought luxury cars in a neighborhood that had no cars and proper electricity.

    Now all the sudden wealth and luxury had a huge psychological impact on the neighbors (who were still poor) especially on the children of the area. It was decided by the neighbors to move the court.

    The legendry Judge Petrus Jocerannus, gave out an amazing judgment:

    In his judgment Judge Jocerannus ordered the rich family to move to a “suitable neighborhood equalent to his stature immediately” as his presence and show of wealth is creating, “nuisance” and is affecting psychology of young children in the neigbourhood.

  12. barristerakc on December 29th, 2008 @ 1:24 am

    @human01, beta you sounded like, "Ansar Burney"…LOL

  13. HITMAN (hitman) on December 29th, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

    @barrister, Congrats on losing ur status :P , How come u didnt invite d0ct0r???

  14. barristerakc on December 29th, 2008 @ 7:01 pm


    As to your question of calling doctor; the “hijras/transsexuals” are suppose to come a year later! Innit bro? LOL

  15. kabirdas on December 29th, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

    @ HITMAN (hitman) on December 29th

    How do you know barrister didn’t invite dOctOr. All we know the dOctOr may have been his best friend at the wedding and perhaps Adnan Siddiqui a guest of honour:-)It is guys like us, his best friends otherwise, who were taken for granted and left out :-)

  16. kaami on December 30th, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

    I am in full agreement with sceptic, kabirdas and the barrister. In these tough times the marriage economy provides sustenance to not only those associated with the catering industry but also cloth merchants, kaareegars, jewellers, tailors, gift stores, appliance stores and countless others. This show of wealth, albeit distasteful, It’s a matter of personal choice and what society deems acceptable behaviour.

    Taking queue from the barristers swiss court example, the rat race in our society was triggered inadvertently by the great Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who after his Nationalization Fiasco, embarked upon exporting our precious human resource to the Middle East oil boom. All of a sudden within a span of few years the whole social structure was severely jolted. It was common then for a 19 grade government not to own any basic “electronic necessities” of life but things changed rapidly. The rat race began in earnest, in every mohalla and neighbourhood, the housewives demanded from their husbands to bring home all the goodies, for this they were ready to tolerate prolonged separation or corrupt practices from their hubbies. “Allah acha nahein lagtaa bachay barabar waalee ke haan VCR dekhne jaatey hein”. Before that, there was a typical dowry for typical social strata. A poor man got away with chaarpai/ palang, gaddaa, some utensils and suits etc. But not anymore.

    On the other side of the border, India also exported their labor and human resource, but their tax department kept a tight check, keeping a firm lid on the spending spree.

  17. fasee on December 31st, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

    freedom of choice….aah that tricky subject.

    in every CIVILISED society there are some norms and legal and moral frameworks

    that what really makes it a CIVIL society.

    livign without any, and boasting of freedom would leave us no where but hell.

    "yahan khanay ko nnahe milta adhay pakistan ko" and look how we all destory food in dustbins in any of lal qila’s and village all around us.
    if thats freedom to burn becasue we can afford it..then to hell with this freedom.

    i have the money hire escorts many times a month…would that be called a freedom and be allowed without scron.

    comon guys……to prove we are HUMAN…we have to follow a code….not to become hippies for god sake

  18. kick on December 31st, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

    There are three major reasons for this if we solve them we eradicate this problem:

    1- Basics comes first: follow our relegion strictly, which teaches us not to waste food , and distribute the left over to the poor straight away.

    2- Non Humanity: Our brought up should involve teachings of not wasting things.We dont care about other most of us.

    3- Jealousy : We are big show offs.

    Solution : Educate others – Think individually – be moderate in spending

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