Saving for Marriages

I am at Kanchipuram today. This is due to dire circumstance and not by choice. My car is being serviced (this involves spare parts from Europe and so will take a month), and so I couldn’t drive back. The driver is on holiday for Easter (hey, Happy Easter, everyone!) and so he can’t drive me to Chennai and back in another car. And I could take the bus except I am not very enamoured of taking a bus to T-Nagar and then an auto to Velachery in the April heat.

All right, that last bit is laziness, not dire circumstance. Be that as it may – due to a combination of laziness and dire circumstance – I am spending this Sunday at the guesthouse in Kanchipuram instead of my flat in Chennai. This also meant that after a very long time, I read the Hindu Business Line, and specifically its Sunday personal finance agony aunt column.

The letter in today’s column featured a goal which features almost every Sunday:

For my daughter’s graduation, I would require Rs 10 lakh in 2021 and Rs 10 lakh for her post graduation. I wish to create a corpus of Rs 12 lakh for her marriage by 2030. For her marriage, we have 30 sovereigns of gold and 2 kg silver.

(The Hindu Business Line: Investment World)

Before I get to the financial matters, let me address the language. As an editor and grammar-bigot, there are two things about this which make my eye twitch:

  1. It uses ‘would’ instead of ‘will’. This appalling misuse is clearly notrestricted to North Indians.
  2. It uses ‘marriage’ instead of ‘wedding’.

Using ‘marriage’ instead of ‘wedding’ actually makes me twitch twice as much, because I have no way of realising which the letter writer actually meant. Did he want to have twelve lakh rupees to spend on her wedding? Or did he plan to give her twelve lakh rupees as a sort of nest egg to accompany her through married life?

If he did mean wedding, that makes me twitch for another, non-grammatical reason. I wish that just one Sunday, somebody would write in to the personal finance advice column and proudly announce that they were saving purely for retirement and that if their kids wanted a big fat wedding they had better pay for it themselves or elope.

This whole saving up so you can afford a big wedding thing must be one of the leading causes of misery in India. So much present consumption foregone, and all it accomplishes is to put the bride and groom through even more stress. Haakthoo.

6 Responses to Saving for Marriages

  1. cj says:

    I paid for my wedding. Wondering if it makes me or my daddy cooler 🙂

  2. Ajay says:

    The “would” vs. “will” isn’t North Indian only. It’s not even specific to India, though a lot more Indians from all over get it wrong.

  3. Ramanand says:

    The same ‘would’-bes* also like to say “I wish to” a lot. I wonder why they use this phrase instead of a simpler “I want to” or “I would like to”. I wonder they getting their English from one of those books that teach you how to write letters of application and complaint?

    (* not the ‘would-be’ of the marriage; as you may know, ‘would-be’ is a favourite Madras term)

  4. Abhishek says:

    I second the observation that a big fat wedding is a leading cause of misery in India. Please, spend it on your education and travel. Fuck all the fat relatives.

  5. Shuaib says:

    Haha! Haakthoo… Good one.

  6. Joy says:

    Dear Mr. self-proclaimed “grammar-bigot”, do you realize you’ve made grammatical mistakes in the same article that attempts to make a premise out of grammatical mistakes committed by someone else?
    You wrote: “somebody would write in to the personal finance advice column and proudly announce that they were saving purely for retirement”[…]
    If I’m not mistaken, the “they” here refers to “somebody”. Apologies if that is not the case – but chances are less that I’m wrong here. And in case I’m right, please try to recall from your first grammar book that “somebody” is not plural, so “they” cannot refer to “somebody”. And there are at least 3 more different categories of grammatical mistakes in this same article of yours!

    Eyes twitch, anymore? “Haakthoo”!

    N.B: please note that I’m not a grammar fanatic, nor have I written this comment here to make any such statement.

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