August 21, 2015
There could be umpteen reasons why marriages break. But marriages being called off due to withered flowers could be quite a strange reason to be heard of !
Garlands starting to wither even before adorning the necks of the bride and groom have resulted in marriages being called off in remote villages in Salem. This is because these are made of flowers, which are sold after being stored in cold storage freezers for days by greedy wholesale traders.
In a society where the groom’s family has the upper hand in the relationship, the sight of withered flowers during an auspicious occasion is not one to be taken lightly. Besides being considered inauspicious, it is regarded as a serious faux pas by the bride’s family for purchasing wilted flowers to adorn the groom.
“This has been a persistent problem. The wholesale traders purchase the flowers much before an occasion, when the prices of the flowers are less, and stock them in cold storage. The price of the flowers is then hiked up manifold, at least five times, on the day of demand,” says Poo Kumar of Ammapet in Salem.
But in spite of paying such a high price, the flowers start to shrivel in a matter of four hours after being taken out of cold storage. This happens even before the flowers are put together as a garland. And just as they reach the marriage reception hall, they are in a near-perishable state.
Stage decorations have also become an issue because of this. For a decoration contract of Rs. 50,000, one third is spent on flowers, while the remaining is spent on labour. Here too, even before the stage is set for the occasion, the flowers start to wither.
“It takes about six hours for the stage to be readied, but by then the flowers become useless. This is the case not just with Salem but most of the places across the State. Despite there being stipulations that only vegetables, fruits and grains should be stored in freezers, flowers also find a place here,” Poo Kumar adds.
The Designated Officer of Food Safety and Drug Administration Department, Salem District, Dr. T. Anuradha says that raids will be conducted to make sure that flowers are not stored in cold storage, which are meant only for vegetables and fruits.