And it’s the evening of the fairytale wedding.
The venue, radiant and gorgeous, dressed up to welcome the bride and the groom.
Marigolds in flamboyant yellow and ostentatious orange. The fragrance of the tuberose and the intoxication of the jasmine. The shimmer of the floating candles and the trance of the blue lights. The sonority of the chants and the melancholy of the shehnai. Vintage banarasis and heirloom jewellery. Kohl-lined eyes and Mehndi-adorned hands. Resplendent kurtas and crisply starched dhotis. The conscientiously assembled borondala and the perfection of the shree lovingly sculpted of rice flour and mustard oil.
And then the events. Fleet past in a fast forward mode. The arrival of the groom and circumambulation by seven married ladies. The symphony of conches and the shrill of ululations. Pleasantries and banter. The fastidious priests and the zealous shutterbugs. The entry of the bride. A princess in red and gold. Time stops still. Heads turn. Cameras click. Droplets of rain. Elders claim it’s the blessings of the heavens above. The innocence of that coy smile during shubhodrishti (traditionally the first time the bride sees the groom) and that sweet-shy vacillation (or was it not ?) before malabadal (the ceremonial exchange of garlands). The shomprodaan by father-in-law (giving away the bride to the groom) and those confident seven pheras around the holy fire. Incense and smoke. A burst of vermillion. A flight of puffed rice to the leaping flames. Smiles and tears. Prayers and blessings. Someone ties a firm knot of the pallu of the brides saree with the jor (dupatta) of the groom. The rituals are complete, it’s time to get the bride and the groom fasting since daybreak something to eat.
The princess is in a red and gold Banarasi. I wear a maroon Banarasi with intricate meena work. One that I wore for my marriage reception years back.