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A Grand Wedding in India
|by Kamal (Kam) Joshi|
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.
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:
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 –
That was a message to Manasi and Vaibhav that they found each other because they wanted to and sincerely at that.
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.
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.
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04/24/2011 10:32 AM
04/24/2011 01:52 AM
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