A reader of Memsaab stories has written in with a query. Shaileja says:
"Dear Memsaab team
My daughter is getting married to her boyfriend in two months. He is from a well to do family and I expect that this shall be an expensive wedding (which will heavily eat into my life savings). The groom's family has not mentioned anything about contributing to the wedding. My friends tell me that these days the groom's family pays for at least 1 or 2 of the functions like Engagement, Reception etc. Should I ask them directly about it?"
Dear Shaileja, Welcome to the great Indian wedding drama! We all know how the groom's side expects to be treated preferentially in India. (After all, they are the boy's side!) But as women, we must try to change such mindsets. Having said that, you definitely do not wish to disturb the delicate balance of relationships between the two families. Your daughter has to spend her life with these people. So you do not wish to do anything that may cause her embarassment or create friction later. So how do you deal with the situation?
Simple! You depend on the grapevine. Yes, now you have a grapevine in place, your most trusted channel of communication. You ask your daughter if her in laws are ready to contribute anything to the wedding celebrations. She will ask her husband-to-be if his family intends to contribute anything to their wedding. And your son-in-law shall tell his parents about what he expects them to contribute to the wedding. If they do not contribute, there is a big chance that he may spend some of his own savings and lessen your burden.
This grapevine ensures that you do not confront the groom's family directly. So there's no question of hurt feelings or embarassment. It is also more effective if they hear about it from their own son. So go ahead and start talking to your daughter!