What symbols stand for
In Suketu Mehta’s stunning Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found is the following passage
I ask him about the rituals of the renunciation. He gives me a parable. A long time ago, a man was conducting a wedding. A cat was running around the marriage hall, disturbing things. So he tied it to a pillar. Afterward generations of the man’s family, whenever they had a wedding, found a cat and tied it to one pillar of the hall, believing it to be a required wedding custom. The goings-on around this diksha, the doctor says, are like that cat tied to the pillar: The original meaning has been lost, and people are just doing it because that it how it has always been done.
Reader’s Digest reports, via the New York Times about the growing presence of fake wedding cakes. Average price for a wedding cake is $543, and
“For as low as $100, you can snag a pretty good replica made out of foam, with a secret compartment tucked in the back for hiding that special first piece,” the article states.
It’s intriguing to play an Idiocracy-esque futurist and imagine how the ritual will decay (or is that evolve?) further. In 50 years will we wave a knife around and toss sugar packets, to symbolize the symbols of the cake and the cutting-of-the-cake?
Anne points out the similarity to the Roast Beef story where successive generations cut the ends of the roast beef because that is how they were taught. When they go all the way back to the origin, it turns out they didn’t have a big enough pan and so that “ritual” was simply a coping mechanism.
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