Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility. And planning a travel around one such event – that was something new. Thank You Shruti, I met wonderful people once again!
So I say, when in India, definitely attend a wedding, because Indian Weddings are never disappointing.
Long before year 2015 had started, the long weekend lists of the year were already floating on social media.
January 2015 had been quite promising in this respect and I personally had planned the first long weekend of 2015 in 2014 itself.
26th January, 2015, Monday, a national holiday in India on account of Republic Day is when Shruti decided to get wed. Shruti – my roommate in hostel and my favorite companion from my post-graduation days. We were a perfect Marathi-Punjabi friendship who practically shared everything from bed to bathroom. Our moments of bitching, gossiping & high end philosophy are so dearly attached to us.
When she told me that her relationship with her boyfriend is moving one step ahead in the coming year I was extremely happy for her and since then the travel plan to Jabalpur has been on.
So finally it was the first long weekend of 2015, and I sat in the train to the central point of India. While sitting in the train, a lot of thoughts ran through my mind.
A Marathi wedding; a non-Punjabi wedding, what is it going to be like? The last Marathi wedding I attended in Pune was somehow boring and now for 3 days I am going to stay with a Marathi family, Oh my God! And Shruti is going to be busy because it’s her wedding.
With all these thoughts, I deboarded the NZM-JB-SF express where a Punjabi Barat which stepped out of the same bogie as mine was being welcomed with a great pomp and show on the Station.
In the far sight I saw Shruti smiling and waving towards me. We hugged each other as long forgotten sisters who just could not contain their happiness.
With butterflies in my stomach we discussed almost everything about the wedding in that auto ride.
On reaching home I greeted the family and extended family. Somesh, Shruti, Kirti and Sagar, the kind hearted naughty souls, the charming and the shining faces around the place.
The celebrations were on and Shruti’s parents were quite busy with the preparations. While they were running here & there for making all the arrangements, all the youngsters were busy worrying about the dance performances that were to be prepared for the evening.
Soon the customary traditions of an Indian wedding started and there sat Shruti, all set to apply Mehendi on her hands and feet. All of us followed the trail and almost everyone became numb after applying Mehendi in the chilly winter evening.
Hence, it was perfectly apt to move a little on some groovy numbers. It is in these moments that you realize that the million dollar Indian wedding industry is practically owned by the Punjabis. No matter where in India the wedding happens, Yo Yo Honey Singh numbers have become a must. It is that culture which started in Punjab but now belongs to everyone – just what you need to set the tone for a party!
And just after everyone had done their bit of foot tapping on some Punjabi numbers appeared the super talented Shruti Khanwalker with a pinch of Marathi culture. ‘Lavani’ one of the most popular dance forms in Maharashtra; Shruti performed it in front of an audience without haste leaving everyone sitting in the room awestruck. As the first day celebration came to its closure, I was pretty sure this weekend is going to be anything but boring.
There were Shruti D, Shruti K, Sagar, Kirti, Somesh, Suruchi and a few more surprises expected on the next day. By the middle of the night we had all become best friends and were ready to knock out some adventures that would become the memories of this trip.
One such adventure was the haunted man who we met on a road while going home. A headless man standing motionlessly on the corner of the road – he perfectly managed to excite some and scare the rest of us. Sagar wanted to capture him in his camera and Shruti K on the other hand wanted to drive past as fast as she could. Adrenaline shot up in a moment for everyone sitting in that car.
The next day, the morning of 25th; Sunday was booked for yet another fun filled tradition – ‘Haldi’ as we fondly call it. The bride is supposed to be cleansed with the purity of turmeric and blessed by all the elders of family. Soon it becomes blessings for everyone and everyone becomes a part of this celebration. There is haldi everywhere and they play it almost like holi. But the game becomes super interesting when all the bride maids go to the groom’s house and apply haldi on him. And that too inside out. It’s quite a sight. He sitting innocently surrounded by pretty girls who leave no chance of touching & squeaking him.
Very soon some serious wedding business starts and the bride groom start sitting for a series of Pooja. Almost all Hindu traditional weddings have a similar design, only the pattern changes. The priest carries on with most rituals, the language tweaks a bit, the material used also changes with cultures but the blessings of course remain the same.
While Shruti was busy with the rituals, all of us were busy capturing the moments. Selfie mode was put on and a flood of selfies splashed into the wedding.
Lone selfies, Group selfies, beauty mode portrait mode everything happened for the next few hours until everyone become hungry & binged on a lot of food.
For the evening party, everyone dispersed for a short while and came out in their new avatars. All Indian weddings are a lot about dressing up too. It is almost a talent to display your grooming skills. Men are becoming & women are a bling . Suddenly there is a lot of sophistication in the air.
The inexplicable desire to check out the girls at the party which even allows the women to stare at the girls becomes a common phenomenon. Girls too cannot really help it but enjoy these moments of attention.
Finally, the most awaited moment arrived. Dhol wale bhaiya entered the party hall. Not even an iota of a second was wasted once he started beating the drum. The foot tapping and leg grooving, the jhatkas and matkas, the uncles and the anties, the dance floor caught the much deserved attention. For the next hour everyone enjoyed the beats. With the grandeur of the show, sometimes, it seems that the whole purpose of a wedding is to enjoy these idiosyncrasies, to display those crazy movements of your body which were hidden from this world till now.
Wedding is one of the most significant bites of Indian culture and expresses the happiest state of mind in ways more than one. It is a showcase of good clothes, good food and a reunion of all the beloved.
Finally came the night when none of us slept. We couldn’t KEEP CALM because it was Shruti’s wedding day. By the time, I reached back to my room; the drinking session was already on.
A table was made of the cupboard drawer “Daru & Chakhna” as they fondly call it was set on the table. Zeeshan & Jayesh were already drunk by the time I entered their room. Somesh was on the verge of it. Arihant does not drink but was still happy high. Sagar, Kriti & Shruti entered only to witness the epic state of drunk boys. Zee gets loud and laughs a lot after sipping his vodka. He is kind of cute. While Zee got cute, Somesh got nasty and Jayesh got hasty. Arihant and me were the only two sober people in the room and took every case in point.
From philosophy to girls, everything under the sun was discussed. At four in the morning, when the chill was on its peak, I, Ary and Zee decided to go for a drive in the city. We stopped over around a tiny lake in the city and the story of our lives started again.
26th January was the wedding day. By the 10 in the morning , everyone dressed up again and very soon the rituals of the day started. It was practically a sari day for all the women of the house, especially the bride who had to change over four saris over the course of the day.
A typically Marathi style of wedding; the band however left no stone unturned to make the republic day celebrations a part of wedding celebrations. It did not feel weird at all to be standing in attention position while the bride & groom were ready to hold hands forever.
The selfie gang was again busy capturing themselves. Few of the last moments of being together slowly and gradually everyone started leaving as the celebrations were coming to an end.
Friends, Fun, Food, Frolic, – a new set of memories was created in just two days. While Aniket & Shruti were busy tying the knots, I was lost looking at them as to how special this moment would be. There was a constant smile on their faces but it is a hard to imagine moment until you feel it for yourself. I had seen them grew together in relationship and now the families became a part of it or should I say they became the part of each other’s families. A beautiful life waits as I write this piece. A travel that witnessed union of two souls and for the rest it was all meant to be a beautiful love filled weekend.