Chance presents itself!
I have attended quite a many weddings since I gained cognition, but all of them have been those of our own culture or at least in our own state. It was my hearty wish for a very long time to attend a wedding of one of the other cultures of the kaleidoscopic India. So, when my friend (a “He”) invited me (although he didn’t expect me to come!!) to attend his wedding in Satara,Maharashtra, I jumped at the chance!
The Dancing Horse!
I became a bit apprehensive when the groom told me that we would be staying in his village (Shivajinagar) which was quite obvious on my part as all my previous experience of villages haven’t been real good. Upon reaching the village around midnight, with all the apprehensions and imaginations in our heads, we simply weren’t prepared for the spectacle that greeted us. The scene was simply hilarious. The groom was riding a dancing horse! and surely it danced a lot better than the intoxicated men gyrating all around him. Oh and one more thing was new : live singer in a specialised band-bus (Sadly I forgot to click a pic of the bus!)
Who’s riding whom?
Now let me describe the village in detail . It was a village in true sense but lacked nothing in terms of urban facilities; be it good sanitation or electricity or running water supply or a Tata Sky connection, the place had it all. But, the beauty of the place was rugged yet breathtaking with so much of open space available that you won’t know what to do with it!! And yes the air, the breeze, the cool and clean and refreshing breeze that blew almost all through the day, was perhaps the single most awesome thing that I’ll remember about the place.
All said and done, a place is only as good as the people of the place and make no mistake the people were awesome too. No one understood a word of Hindi (except the Groom’s immediate family) and we didn’t understand a word of Marathi, but we seldom faced any difficulty in getting our thoughts across or understanding the point the villagers were making(Yes it was very very very tough). My friend’s immediate family (i.e. his father, mother and sister hereafter called uncle, aunty and sis respectively) were understandably very busy but didn’t ever let us feel out of home.
The Big Fat Marathi Wedding
Well this was what I went to witness. And literally we were the only people who witnessed the whole wedding!! Jokes apart, it was a wedding quite different from those that I have seen as yet but the essence was the same. Yes, the little nitty-gritties were different, e.g. the bride and groom attended the rasma of Halad Chadavane together unlike the individual haldis in Bihari weddings etc. The Akshataropan rasma was again a spectacle. More than 1000 people were gathered in the hall to bless the couple with akshata (sacred rice). The rasma lasted for only 15 minutes and when the final mantras were chanted and the final grains of akshata were sprinkled as blessings, suddenly there was a huge commotion. Within 5 minutes the hall was empty and only 15-20 people remained. People were in such a rush to get out that they literally jammed the doorway. It was hilarious and we couldn’t stop laughing! Finally, the sacred fire was kindled and the seven vows were taken, the seven circumambulations of the sacred fire were completed, and the bride and the groom were declared Man and wife in the eyes of God and society!
The Vidai was pretty much the same: full of tears and laughter, fear mingled with hope and grief mixed with joy! Then began the tour of Temples and courtesy visits to the homes of our numerous Gods. Wherever we went, we were welcomed in the same spirit as the bride and the groom, which raised my respect and love for the local people many notches higher. Finally, Goddess Lakshmi (read the Bride) entered the house to make it a home for the groom! The entire setup was so beautifully managed and done that it seemed almost flawless and no one was complaining; this in itself is no mean achievement when it comes to Indian weddings!
The Hilarious Bathing Ceremony
We were scheduled to leave early morning the next day of the wedding but aunty would hear nothing of it and ordered us to stay at least until lunch so that we could witness the bathing ceremony of the bride and the groom (we didn’t feel like going anyway). The halad utaravane ceremony was, as I’ve already mentioned, hilarious. All the ladies of the village were gathered and amongst a lot of chatter, jokes and singsong competitions, the ceremony was concluded in all pomp. The ladies played wet holi (minus the colours of-course) and even I got to drench my friend in water; there’s nothing sweeter than to increase the embarrassment of an already embarrassed friend!! This was followed by another tour of temples of the village and those of the adjoining villages. The thing that I loved the most about these temples was their location. Each of them : Amazing!!
Amazing Isn’t it?
All in all it was an awesome treat, the wedding. If I hadn’t gone (like all my other friends) I would have missed an opportunity of a life-time. God bless the Bride and the Groom and may they have a wonderful and blissful married life!