A Grand Wedding in India

“Manasi Badnaam Hui - Vaibhav Tere Liye
Main Pande se Gupta Banee - Vaibhav Tere Liye
Mummy Papa Ko Chod Ayee - Vaibhav Tere Liye
Bahiyya Bhabhi ko ki Bye Bye - Vaibhav Tere Liye
Manasi Badnaam Hui - Vaibhav Tere Liye”

What a grand “Kawwali” amongst many many, they sang to celebrate Vaibhav (Groom’s name) and Mansi’s (Bride’s name) wedding. Gracefully dancing and singing in gorgeous costumes, bedecked with jewelry like of which is rarely seen and displaying costumes in colors ranging from red and green to cyan and magenta, smiling with million dollar smiles captivating all, even the serving staff.

The locale was the magnificently decorated grand hall in the Great Ashoka Hotel in New Delhi and WOW was the only thought and wet eyes were the only expression to say—it was wonderful, excellent and yes WOW. There was not a single one whose heart did not bless Manasi and Vaibhav for a long and happy and healthy married life. No, not a single singer or dancer was a trained professional performer, but, all were just family members who were ecstatic with joy and found time in their very busy lives to prepare for singing and dancing in Manasi’s wedding – because they love her and are family!  And they sang better and danced better that any trained professional would have because they did it with love in their hearts.
Weddings in India - all of them - are grand affairs. This was our Manasi’s and so I will say this was the best of the best.    She is pretty, but that evening she looked so pretty and beautiful that the entire universe had come to see her beauty, even the beautiful moon had surrendered to her gracefully and the sparkling stars of the sky were the witness. After all she was wearing the most gorgeous silk Lahnga (gown), laced with jewels and artwork, flowing like a breezy golden work of art - red and orange and green and pink and lavender. It was the same gown that her Grand Mother and then her Mother wore during their Weddings.

Wedding Gowns in India are not a “Wal-Mart” thing they are family heirlooms preserved with great effort for generational celebration of marriage – and have a spiritual significance of the bond of marriage, which is forever. Weddings in India - all of them - are family and grand and traditional affairs. This was our Manasi’s and so I will say as part of the most loving and gracious family we drowned ourselves in the nectar of love and added at least ten years to our lives that evening. After all without marriage there is no family and without a family there is simply nothing. Weddings in India– all of them- are to appreciate relationships. This was our Manasi’s so I will say we cemented our relations with fresh memories and gracious love and added a whole lot to the joy of living.

Not only that, but also,  a wedding celebration  in India lasts at least seven days not counting the months it takes to plan and prepare for it. Every detail is carefully and thoughtfully planned, crafted and carried out.  The first event we attended was a family get together and a grand dinner. It took place at Manasi’s brother’s home -where all near and dear ones were present. We had just arrived from San Francisco and met many after years and some for the first time. They were all family. There we found out that the next day was a celebration in Vaibhav’s parent’s home, and we were invited. It was going to be a recital of the Holy “Sunderkand” from the Holy book of Shree Ram Charit Manas.  Sunderkand describes Bhakti (Devotion) and Values with which life should be lived. It is recited by singing, with total devotion, by a professional troupe of hymn singers. My Mom was also graciously invited by Manasi’s parents, she is eighty seven and although hard of hearing she came with joy, thanks to Manasi’s parents who invited her.

The Holy Sunderkand was recited with a spiritual ecstasy singing in varying tunes of Indian Ragas with one constant theme – known as the “Samput” (the message). The Samput was:

Jehee Ke Jehhe Par Satya Sanehu
So Thehe Milahee Na Kachu Snadehu

(One who wants something truly and sincerely
always gets it without a shadow of a doubt.)

The singers were singing the entire story of the Sunderkand repeating the message they wanted to convey, the Samput, which meant--one who wants something truly and sincerely always gets it without a shadow of a doubt. They conveyed their message from the Holy Book in their own simplicity but with a gravity of tremendous proportions. Singing again and again, softly and loudly fast and slow, but repeatedly – 

Jehee Ke Jehhe Par Satya Sanehu
So Thehe Milahee Na Kchu Snadehu

“Seek and thou shall find”.

That was a message to Manasi and Vaibhav that they found each other because they wanted to and sincerely at that.
The Bride and the Groom were the main audience that included at least hundred others – including my beloved Mom. I was moved by the love and affection with which she was received --and she was ecstatic to meet her son, after almost one year, in such a spiritual environment. After all appropriately for me too:

Jehee Ke Jehhe Par Satya Sanehu
So Thehe Milahee Na Kchu Snadehu

Only vegetarian food was served on that day of the joyous spiritual celebration. Vegetarianism is a traditional way of celebrating non violence in relationships, specially human relation to God. On spiritual celebrations the food served is always “Satvik” (spiritually pure) non intoxicating food. Delicious dishes at least twenty different kind and many deserts were served. Many had fasted for the occasion breaking the fast only after the recital.

I am always highly appreciative of the art of the amazing beauty of the Indian women. She is simply gracious in her beautifully colorful sari whether she has any makeup or jewels or whether she is professionally decorated with the gorgeous jewelry or make up of India. Women of India know the art of being feminine. They embody – beauty, strength, love, humility, resolve and grace all in a package that they have learned to put together from their Moms. And they really show their femininity displaying their beauty on weddings. It is really a joy to see the beauty and love that “India” is on any Indian wedding anywhere—all of them. But, this was our Manasi’s wedding so I lovingly say I have never seen an ensemble of beauty and grace and dignity and culture and love anywhere ever—neither in Bollywood  nor in Hollywood.

The wedding itself took place in the most beautiful Subroto Mukerjee park in New Delhi. A grand exquisitely decorated exclusive and gorgeously splendorous, elegant yet delightfully pleasing park. With columns of  flower and red carpeted for receiving the Groom and the guests, vibrant with music specially the Shenai played by a professional group elegantly dressed and playing the melodious Ragas of romance such as  ‘Bageshri , Yaman, Bhupali, Hamsadhwani’ that are played specially on  weddings. I could have listened to the Sehnai all night and some more. There was also a full course, elegantly dressed, immaculately disciplined Bag Pipe Band of the Great Indian Army playing “Pahari” folk songs, from Uttaranchal Pradesh, amongst many other loving melodies. That too I could have listened all night. 

And then came the most memorable part – the arrival of the Groom, the handsome groom, in grand style. He was received by the Bride’s family with garlands of the beautiful Marigolds with Sehnais playing in the background. He looked like a Prince ready to meet his Princess, who was eagerly waiting for the moment. It was like a story being narrated live.
And then the ceremonies began –ceremonies that were ritualistic at the same time enchanting. What a traditional ceremony it was – starting with Dhuliargh worship of the Groom and His Guru, and continuing with Jaymala exchanging of the garlands of love and surrender to love, and Kanyadaan – giving away of the bride and then the Agni Phere –the exchanges of vows, promises the groom and the bride make to last forever and ever. I was witnessing all these as my dear friend Pant ji was so very lovingly explaining all the nuances. It was for me, emotional and education and joyful.

After that we had dinner. What can I say it was a feast fit for royalty!  And why not every wedding everywhere is a celebration – and every celebration has a feast befitting a King. But, there is always a spiritual element in wedding celebrations—after all marriage is all about propagation of the family its values and that of humanity.

And that was the Grand Wedding in India we attended on our last trip. 
Image (c)


More by :  Kamal (Kam) Joshi

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Views: 3375      Comments: 2

Comment It is so nice that you liked it. All weddings are very special - the whole World will be wathching the coming wedding on Friday April 29th of Kate and Prince Wiliams.
It too will have Show and Substance, Pleasantory and Ceremony, Color and Grandure.

Just like the one I wrote about it too will be a family affair, with heirlooms and traditions and music and bands and worship and just grand memories. Hope you too will watch, I will.

24-Apr-2011 10:32 AM

Comment Joshi ji your description is so beautiful and vivid that I shut my eyes and reached the venue. You have almost photographed the whole event with your pen. Keep it up.

Vijay Joshi
24-Apr-2011 01:52 AM

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