When families grow big and busy, they meet only in Sukh-Dukh. I saw this for real, at the wedding of our son. I was touched to see our cousins meeting up joyfully, after years. Though I could not spend time personally with any of them, it was a treat to see them all. And they thanked me profusely for providing them the opportunity to revive old memories and catch up with what was happening in each other’s lives.
As kids we played Stapoo, Chupan-chupaayi and Antakshari together and have fought over trivia like combs, crayons etc. For us, who have grown up in an era where nothing was digital, the connect with our cousins is real!
The wedding traditions of doing jaago, gharoli, vatna, sainth are times when everyone gets together to sing and dance, play games, pull each other’s leg etc. My father would often say that these traditions are designed to keep the guests occupied.
We Indians, start dreaming of the wedding of our child, from his/her birth! Marriage is a landmark event not only in the lives of the bride and groom but also in the lives of their parents. A huge amount of planning marks the run up to the big event. Despite it being a lot of work, it is a lot of fun too.
As the groom’s mother, when I put the Chunni over the bride’s head, my heart welled up and I was thankful to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to welcome this child into our home and into our hearts. Bringing a girl from another family and accepting her as your own, doesn’t come easy. One has to expand your heart … it is a responsibility of a lifetime. For the bride, it is like a new birth. In the song, ‘Saeeyan ched deve, Nanand chutki leve, Sasural genda phool. Saas gaali deve, Devar saamjha deve, Sasural genda phool …’ Sasuraal is compared to a beautiful marigold flower. It has its bitter-sweet moments; but then, it’s home now!
The parents of a girl, bring her up with many a dream. When they do the Bidaai, there is always an element of uncertainty about how she would fare. With tear-filled eyes the parents of a bride bless the groom who is taking away a part of their flesh and blood!
In Kanya-daan, the bride traverses to the gotra of the groom. Both promise to stand by each other, through thick and thin. They stand together as one and one to make eleven, not just two. They become each other’s strength, not weakness. Like Shiva and Shakti are conjoined as Ardhnarishwar, the couple are the inseparable half of each other. Together they constitute the whole!
Childhood, youth … all stages of life have their own flavour. My heart skips a beat as I look back to thank God, and move forward with faith that the future shall be better than the best!
(Do share your thoughts friends! A slightly concise version of this piece has been published in The Tribune as the Middle piece on 12.12.2023. It can be viewed here