And finally the day of the marriage of my dear sister-in-law arrives.
And its a riot of yellow this morning, the ladies of the household are all dressed in their finest yellow. In diverse shades. From the alluring canary yellow to the muted ochre. In different weaves. From gorgeous kanjeevarams to stunning Banarasis. Pompous pochampallys contest for attention with entrancing dhakais.
It’s Gayeholud or the haldi ceremony of the pretty bride. Conches blow. Ululations pierce the morning calm. Incense perfumes the balmy air. The diyas are lit. Turmeric and sandalwood are ground to a paste. The married ladies of the family smear the paste on the bride wishing her and the groom happiness and health. She is glowing today. Father-in-law does a puja. Some more rituals follow. The ladies circumambulate the bride as she stands on a sheel (grinding stone) flanked by four banana plants arranged neatly in a rectangle. Aunt helps her wear her shankha (white bangles made of conchshell) and pola (red bangles made of coral). And the final act where she is deluged with water that the ladies pour on her head. And it’s curtains for the morning.
Time to dash for the final preparations for the marriage in the evening.
My sister-in-law wears a Bengal taant. A saree that has to be given away once the ceremonies are over. I wear a pale yellow tussar Banarasi with a purple and green border. Another one from my wedding trousseau.