The Localist

The daggers before the wedding

SRI - IN - bridesmaids

“OMG!!” Exclaimed my newly married friend. “I just realized that all you buggers* will be really old moms”.

Thank you, thank you for that. Here I am, suffering from quarter life crisis, panicking over no emergency savings fund and a somewhat ok job, and she reminds me that my current 3-year-old relationship could be somewhat meaningless. Or I’m just really far behind.

While you may think it’s a natural occurrence for any girl in the world in her mid twenties to worry about no ring on her finger, in a country like Sri Lanka, it’s a community issue.

The fact that I’m not tied down yet is not only an issue for my parents (who I guess are the only people legitimately allowed to discuss it), it’s also a concern of my aunts, grandma, my neighbors, my school friends (they’re sort of legit too), some random woman I haven’t seen in 10 years who I unfortunately bump into because this country is so small, my babysitter, colleagues, and ex- colleagues. Pretty much any human who is bothered enough about your life to call you to find out your GCE A/L, O/L examination results (even though they didn’t call you prior to your exams to wish you luck) feels they have an obligation to broach the subject with you.

Sometimes I think all these people are just curious because:

a) There might be a lavish wedding they might be invited to, preferably at a 5 star hotel.

b) This gives them a reason to dress up.

c) This also gives them things to talk about, just in case the groom doesn’t look that good, the food doesn’t taste that great, or they dislike the color of the bridesmaids’ outfits.

d) There’ll be free food.

It does honestly bother me that success is somewhat measured by the scale of your wedding that your poor parents will bust their savings on (note to mom and dad: you don’t have to do that), the financial capacity of the man you marry and how old you are when you get hitched. Anything beyond 28 means you’re either the opposite of a prude or just really picky. They’ll probably think you are the opposite of a prude.

I get it, with our so-called biological clocks ticking, we have no choice but to get married and pop out a couple of babies before people think we look like the kids’  grandparents at the PTA meeting.

You can’t really blame people for expecting lavishness and making a huge deal out of all this. For crying out loud, this is the same country that holds a Guinness record for the highest number of bridesmaids (pictured). Yeesh!

Coherent responses to concerns about this marriage issue, such as:

* I’m waiting for the right person

* My boyfriend and I trying to sort out our finances before we settle down

* I would like to study further and expand my career

don’t cut it for most Sri Lankans. But I do have something new up my sleeve, and it just might work for you:

Random aunt who pretends to care: So darling, when is your wedding? It’s a bit late isn’t it?

Me: Can you pay for it?

Conversation ends with a chuckle. It works, trust me.

*buggers: a term we use for friends. It’s the colloquial Sri Lankan-English term for machan**.

**machan: Sri Lankan terminology for mate.

MEET THE LOCAL: ISHARA NAOTUNNA

Image. Photo courtesy of Naija Info

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