The wedding hall was decorated with Marygold and Rose garlands everywhere and the aroma was distinctively of these flowers plus tadka dall, shahi paneer and moong daal halwa. The barat had come with a bang with groom dancing with his brothers at the gate. This was a rare visual as mostly we would see groom sitting on his Horse Back where all other relatives dance their hearts out in a baraat but this groom was not like any other groom. He had made it clear at the very beginning that he will not sit on any horse and will enjoy his baraat with all of his relatives but now it seemed like a bad idea as his heavy sherwani was all wet in dance sweat and his face looked red like all other baraatis.. not groom kinda at all.
I certainly enjoyed the view of my best friends life partner all dripping in sweat and at that time my heart was pounding with joy that ‘oh man, Kiran is going to have so much fun with this rookie kind of man’.
There is something I really love about Indian weddings and I seldom ask myself what is that? Is it the band baja baraat, the tasty delicacies or rather I should refer to that smell as the famous smell of carbs, the happy smiles or maybe some frowns here and there or its the excitement of family members. I guess all these things are right but there one thing which is more precious and sacred to the wedding custom and that is the only reason I feel a lot of people relish weddings: The promise.
Yes its the promise that we feel the bride and groom are giving to each other that night. A promise to stand by each other no matter what and to not look beyond one another in life. Its a very big promise indeed which most people fail to keep as I guess it fades away and someone is yet to discover a way for couples to remember these vows for life.
Anyways, it was soon time for the jaimala and Kiran’s mom asked me to bring Kiran from her dressing room. I have known this crazy girl Kiran since I was a child and hence practically I was her soul sister and had all rights to behave like one since Kiran was the only child and her mom always looked at me as someone who could be Kiran’s comforter. I always called Kiran’s mom Mumu and I knew that Mumu always felt guilty for not being able to give Kiran a normal life as she was very small when her father deserted both her and her mother and Mumu decided to cut all cords with her abusive in laws. But to her surprise they were more in hurry to break the cords but sadly a lot of her own relatives stopped contacting them as somehow Kiran had become an obligation on a lot of relatives. This left Kiran with only couple of close relatives which were her mother’s sister and her Irish husband and their 2 handsome son; Jermy and Jared who lived in Ireland with their parents and were here to attend the wedding. So apart from them I was the only close person for her at the wedding.
It was all on me to invite her friends etc and hence I decided to call Maria, Dheeraj and Sujoy to be a part of this custom where you bring the bride to wedding area. It was a picture perfect moment when Kiran was brought to the wedding hall with me and Maria on her two sides under phulo ki chdar (flower bedsheet) which was held from four corners by Dheeraj, Sujoy, Jared and Jermy. The moment I saw Anurag I felt that happiness which I call “promise”. Anurag looks very happy looking at his ‘to be’ wife.
* Somewhere between the wedding Jaimala Ceremony*
The wedding was in its full bloom when Jermy came to me asking for help in shifting the gifts to a room nearby. We both picked boxes and I was blindly following Jermy to the store room as I had no clue where the heck that was and I heard someone call my name. BOOM; I dropped the box and Kiran will kill me if it is some expensive breakable kind of item. “shit..shit..shit” I sat to pick the box and some one who had called my name came running to help me. “I am so sorry Meera. I didn’t think this could happen. Are you alright?” he asked.
“yes I am” and I looked at him and I was not that horrified from the accident then I was after looking at the person standing in front of me. It was Siddharth (Sid).
“Hi! How are you Meera?”, Sid asked.
“I am good. What are you doing here?”
“I am a friend of Anurag and actually his business partner before he left for USA.”
“Oh! well that’s great. what a small world”, I said hiding my nervousness.
“Yes! Indeed its a small world”, Sid looked nervous now. “Well you look beautiful Meera.”
” Oh well Thanks and if you dont mind I will excuse myself, I just need to finish some work”, I rushed to the store room and it was an excuse to hide my anxiety.
The wedding progressed beautifully and everyone looked happy. Thats the thing about traditions, you like it or not, it sinks in you and brings out happiness and joy although I could not enjoy it with same amount of happiness like earlier as now I knew he was here, in the same hall, somewhere.
Time came where Kiran bid good bye to everyone and sat in the car with Anurag. I knew that after 2 days of staying with her in laws she will be moving back to USA. There were tears in Mumu’s eyes but she was a strong lady and she always knew that one day this day would come. Kiran hugged me for a longer time and whispered in my ear “its your turn” and hugged Maria, Sujoy and Dheeraj and thanked them for being there with her on this important day of hers.
Right at that moment, I felt some shift in my life. Something changed and nothing was going to be same again. I don’t usually cry at public settings but at this moment I felt alone as ever and without my permission the tears found an escape route. My heart was in pain and said to me that ‘I am alone and will die alone as all the people I love somehow leave me’. What made the moment even worse was when I noticed Sid standing right next to me and graciously offering me his handkerchief but now I had no reason to behave politely to him since the wedding was over so I just moved away from him and went and sat in Dheeraj’s car.
Sid was left to stand alone and wonder and this is exactly what I had planned earlier; to make him hang- in there like he did to me 2 months back.