We got married in December of 2010 (That’s G & I in the pic) – our 5th anniversary is just around the corner. It was a strange affair – our wedding. A mix of two cultures, a clash of many egos, a hungover comedy, an endless ritual, a bond that finally helped us settle down.
In most Indian cultures, the wedding happens at the girl’s house. In our case it would have been in Jaipur – the city I was born in. But G’s brother was getting married the next day, so logistically it made sense to have the wedding in Bangalore so that some arrangements may overlap and relatives don’t have to shuttle around.
G & I were planning the wedding ourselves. There were just too many cultural and language barriers for the parents to communicate effectively. We both fought a lot too. I wanted the showy North Indian wedding with hoards of relatives and exquisite dresses and dance performances. He was more inclined to do it the South Indian way which is a lot of serious stuff. We do weddings in open lawns and they do it in closed sanctified halls. He wanted a 5 star wedding, his parents wanted the traditional one. So overall it was complicated. I think we managed admirably.
We compromised and booked a 5 star hotel that had an open air space as well as a closed hall. The wedding took place under the sky with minimal floral decor and the reception happened inside the hall with friends dancing to Punjabi numbers. I wore their style silk saree as my wedding dress instead of the lehenga I wanted, but missed out on the traditional white cloth they tie on the saree.
We had a common set of friends, so we fought for their custody. Where will they eat, whose residence will they lounge at, where will they go and dance etc. etc. There were some crying fits too.
The wedding day itself was funny in retrospect. I had gained a lot of weight and really looked like a round ball. Top that with a pink silk saree and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Not to mention the hangover. It was also a morning wedding – starting 7:30am – and so we couldn’t get any parlour time. My makeup was done at home, and my mom in her enthusiasm to put the bridal bindi, made it look like I had a bad case of pimples on my face. The Konkani mandate also said I couldn’t leave my hair open and must have some flowers tucked in the hairdo. Well the bun made me look even rounder if possible, and we plain forgot about the flowers. So when they ran around 6:3o in the morning looking for anything that could be stuffed in my hair, they found one bedraggled string of Jasmine. It was duly tucked in and showed more string than flower. It was also hanging uneven from both sides of the bun. The final result of this decoration was that my evil friends fell off laughing when they saw me. No “wow you look lovely” for me!
Anyways I was ready and walked in to the marriage hall only to find that the decorations were not done yet! And the groom’s procession was about to arrive in 15 minutes! So instead of sitting like a demure bride, I ran around shouting orders and getting things done. Meanwhile my family was missing – apparently getting ready. And in that process, they missed greeting the groom and his family at the gate. The poor Baaratis stood around waiting – custom demanded that they be welcomed with garlands and escorted in. Finally, G just barged in. So much for the 23 car procession he had brought along :(.
The first half of the day was dedicated to engagement rituals, then I was given a saree and asked to change for the wedding. Well guess what, I wore the wrong one. Blame it all on trying to coordinate between 3 cities and 2 languages. I wore what I thought I’d told my mom in law I will wear and she needs to give it to me at an appropriate time. She thought the other saree looked better and gave that to me. And since I got both, I just assumed we are on track to go with the pink one I originally said I will wear. Though I hated it! I hadn’t bought my wedding dress myself and actually only saw it on the day of the wedding. My only brief to my mother was no reds or pinks. Well big surprise – I got pink.
Anyway, I came down dressed in the pink horror – the right one according to mom and wrong one according to MIL. Whatever – I wasn’t going to change. So the wedding started and I marched to the mandap. No demure, garland holding, slow walk for me – I just didn’t know how that’s done! G was there, in a red sherwani. We clashed in colors horribly!
The rituals proceeded and didn’t seem to end. No one knew if we were married yet or not. G was clueless too! We fought during the wedding also. He brutally stuffed some flowers in my hair, I crushed his feet under my tremendous weight, he stuffed a towel up my nose and so on. But the biggest blunder happened during the varmala. We shared a set of friends, and those idiots all went and picked him up when I was supposed t garland him. Usually, the friends of either side pick up both parties and things proceed smoothly. Now here I was left standing on the ground, because there was no one to pick me. I understand they may have hastily made their way to G considering my weight. But anyway, the result was – G was up in the air, beyond the reach of my garland, and I was standing waiting for him to get down. And slowly getting annoyed. Finally I was so pissed that I just threw the garland at his neck – gnashing my teeth if I remember correctly (and yet managing to smile). It hooked in his safa – a turban – and the delicate thread broke. Then a silence descended – breaking varmala‘s is not a good omen. So everyone just quietly tied the thread back and the rituals proceeded.
Around 4 in the evening we were finally done. I changed once more, threw some rice behind me and left for my new home. Only to wait outside for 5 hours, till the inauspicious Rahu Kaala finished. When I did manage to enter my new house, some more rituals were awaiting. I put my hands in kumkum and left a stamp of my palms on the walls of his house. I was given a new name too – symbolic of a new life. Finally everything was done and we were escorted to our room with a glassful of milk and some dry fruits.
We had lived together for some years, and sharing the same bed wasn’t new to us. It was just legitimate now. So we turned off the lights and promptly fell asleep. I think I snored…