When partying becomes hard work

Shah Rukh Khan Pitbull at Anant Ambani Radhika Merchant pre-wedding partyShah Rukh Khan and Pitbull at Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s pre-wedding party. (Photos: Radhika Merchant Fan Club, YourPoookieBoo/Instagram)

Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s second pre-wedding celebration on board a luxurious European cruise ship, aptly named La Vita e Un Viaggio (Life is a Journey), concluded recently. Guests were treated to a relaxing four-day break along the scenic route from Italy to the South of France. In photos, the enormous ship looks more like a floating castle on the water, an ideal location to create an atmosphere of splashing merriment. Events include a masquerade ball in Cannes, an onboard toga party, performances by Katy Perry and Pitbull, and even an antakshari competition hosted by Shaan and Shankar Mahadevan. However, one has to wonder how much enthusiasm these 800 guests can muster for the actual wedding, scheduled for mid-July, considering the first Jamnagar jamboree took place barely three months ago.

Weddings can undoubtedly be a lot of fun. Being a guest at the Ambani wedding (besides the great privilege and great entertainment) means access to an alien realm where you rub shoulders with rock stars and tech moguls. Even a Shah Rukh Khan wouldn’t normally be able to hang out with a Bill Gates or a Zuckerberg, but this occasion of powerful holy matrimony brings together brilliant wealth creators and artists from around the world. It should be noted that unlike other weddings I have attended where special glass rooms have been created for VIPs, presumably to prevent hustler guests from charging them for selfies or favors – at Jamnagar there were no hierarchies, just a free association for all. Maybe wannabe behavior automatically corrects itself when everyone is someone.

But after the intoxicatingly glamorous (but brutal) 10th or 15th party, after many hours of flowing champagne amid a whirlwind of merriment, the sparkle begins to fade for even the most seasoned partygoer. Even roasting. Psychologists describe this state of mind as the hedonic treadmill. Unfortunately, we humans are programmed to adapt quite quickly to new forms of pleasure (or pain). For starters, there would be the novelty of being part of an exclusive clique; but even just three days later, habituation to a new environment begins. It no longer produces the same high. The clearest example of hedonic adaptation is that the first bite of a decadent chocolate cake tastes so much better than the last. Or that at the end of a holiday you longingly dream of dal-chawal at home. It is thought that the Ambanis have gone all out to create an explosion of excitement by taking the opulence to an insane level, but the fact remains: a drawn-out wedding yields less and less returns.

According to the established logic of behavioral psychology, the guests would have been enthusiastic participants in Jamnagar, and by the time the final event is held in London, they will be exhausted. The idiom, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, goes back several centuries to Aesop’s fables and was quoted by Shakespeare in As You Like It. In our consumer generation, the thinking goes, more money, more parties and more stuff equals more happiness. But it is worth remembering that excessive amounts of fertilizer destroy crops, and if we drink that last drink against our better judgment on a night out, we will inevitably regret it the next morning. The generosity of the Ambanis as hosts, who belong to ancient kings, is unsurpassed, but for the guests, the pressure to repeatedly fulfill the dream seems intense.

Sure, participating in someone else’s romantic fantasy every now and then is a welcome change; furthermore, weddings provide endless opportunities to re-examine one’s own beliefs and values ​​about marriage. As you get older, you become less excited about the free drinks and the dance floor, perhaps even quietly wary about living happily ever after. Anyone who has been married for a while has probably taken off their rose-colored glasses because they know the challenges that lie ahead.

The writer is director, Hutkay Films

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First uploaded on: 2024-06-16 07:05 IST