"Recession ho ya inflation, shaadiyaan toh hoti rahengi," famously said Anushka Sharma's character Shruti to Bitto, played by Ranveer Singh, in 2010's Band Baaja Baaraat. After all, who knew that a pandemic will hit us all after 10 years and force us to be locked indoors and cancel or postpone our biggest obsession - big fat Indian weddings.
An IT professional, who was supposed to get married on May 15 in a destination wedding in Udaipur with over 300 people attending the function, says that he is planning to reschedule it to November or December with only close family and friends. "We will also take precautions like maintaining social distancing, also the food will be cooked by the people we know," he said. The Mumbai-based guy added that the rescheduling hasn't incurred him any losses as people were very cooperative.
The lockdown enforced due to the novel coronavirus pandemic has also affected the wedding business as March to May is the peak season for them. "The industry is dead for one year, if not more," says Jayant Verma from Forever Weddings in Pune. Verma said that nearly 50-60 events of his firm got cancelled or postponed in Goa, Mahabaleshwar, Pune, Jaipur, Udaipur and Lonavala. He perceives the losses to be around a whopping Rs 4-5 crores.
Jayant Verma says that he saw the lockdown coming and as a result, took a decision to stop all his operations around March 18. The people working in his firm from West Bengal and other parts of the country had already left for their homes on March 14. Verma tells that he paid complete salary to his staff for the month of March and half salaries for April and May.
Nilima Pathak of Yours Truly Weddings says that in the future we must consider hygiene of the utmost importance. There should be provisions for running water, toilets and most importantly kitchens in the wedding halls. Pathak adds that most of her events are not cancelled but postponed. "Those clients who wish to cancel their weddings, we are providing them with a full refund," she tells. Pathak also says that she is helping her vendors who are below the poverty line.
Once the pandemic ends and things return back to normal, people would still hesitate to gather together, says Taufic Jamadar of Limelight Event Planners. He perceives his company's losses to be around Rs 10-20 lakh, adding that five events, including a corporate one, got cancelled due to the deadly virus.
Shubham Magdum, one of the leading photographers in Pune, says that around eight of his bookings got cancelled or postponed. He estimates his losses to be in the range of Rs 8-10 lakh. "Its a tough time for everyone but I wonder how it must have affected the families and couples who are getting married," he adds.