Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vanga to Magadha: Part IV – The Marriage

Antony, Me, Vivek and Ankit
First time I was witnessing a north Indian marriage. Time to verify whether all those lengthy rituals shown in movies and described by many friends were indeed such long and colourful. Venue was located beside a narrow road. When we reached there, both bride and groom were there. We spent some time talking to Vivek, walking here and there. Then it was time for Baaraath. In older days, probably now also, in villages groom’s party will go to bride’s home for marriage as a group, known as baaraath. Now-a-days when marriage ceremonies shifted from home to auditoriums rituals also shifted accordingly.

However, we can’t avoid all the rituals. Hence groom will go out from venue in car (not on top of a horseJ), take a long circle and come back to the auditorium. So we walked along with Vivek, took a long round and came back to the venue. Baaraath was interesting, band group was playing romantic Bollywood songs – both old and new. Ankit and Antony was dancing along with other friends and relatives. I escaped from dancing and moved along with the baraath.

Suddenly, for a brief moment atmosphere was filled with sound and multi-coloured lights emitted by firecrackers. We came back to the venue and marriage ceremony started. Both exchanged garlands and marriage was solemnized. Then came versatile dinner.

In fact rituals started after that dinner only. One by one it was going on, for some time only groom was in the seat and then for some time it was bride only. One young priest was going through his set of rituals one by one. All of a sudden, one person sitting along with viewers started asking questions about some of the rituals. Needless to say, their arguments took considerable period of time and the rituals extended that much. Number of coffee cups were increasing rapidly in the dustbin.

We turned towards Antony, he was in sleeping mode. Next it was our turn, Ankit first and me next. When we reached inside a nearby room two middle aged people were already sleeping there. All of a sudden Antony woke up and started observing the ceremonies with such a keenness as if next is his turn. I think he was awake for rest of the night.

In the morning around 5.00, Antony woke us up and we came out. Ceremonies associated with marriage were going on. We said bye to Vivek - through sign language - and left for hotel room. It was very much dark outside. On the way we got a rickshaw; by the time we reached hotel room, sun rays were slowly tearing away the darkness.

One the way to hotel, I was thinking about the marriages in Kerala. Formalities hardly lasted 15 or 30 minutes. In Hindu marriages, an astrologer will find a good day for marriage (if and only if he is satisfied with both horoscopes). Now-a-days, there are a lot of constraints imposed on astrologer. For e.g. astrologer has to find a good day, but that day should be a Sunday :) Then there is something called muhooortham, most often it will be in between 10AM and 11.30AM. Couple can marry in this interval. At designated time bride, groom and their close friends and relatives will go to a temple (in case marriage is in a temple).

By the way there is something called Rahu kalam (Rahu time). One has to leave home for marriage before Rahu time starts or after Ruhu time ends.

In temple priest will give them garlands made of Tulsi, which the bride and groom will exchange later. Then they will exchange a bigger garland made of Jasmine. For completing the process they have to enter their names in marriage register as well.

After praying for a couple of minutes, newlywed couple will go to the auditorium. Depends on the amount of money spent by girl’s family, these auditoriums can accommodate 200 - 2000 people or more. Here, at the venue both bride and groom will exchange garlands once again to entertain the wider audience. Let me tell you that, by this time luncheon hall will be opened for guests.

Next item in the list is photo session and giving presents to bride and groom. Most often people sitting in the auditorium will see the backside of photographers only :) Then there will be a glass of milk (mixed with banana and sugar) which relatives and friends will ‘push’ inside their mouth. Milk and banana is a king of an old fashon arrangement, hence the so called v, x, and y generations hardly do these things. By this time, clock may stuck 12 :) and guests who had lunch in the first round may already reached home.


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