So it seems rather logical to begin at the beginning - from where it all started. For the uninitiated, or for those people who, like my husband, haven't seen a North Indian Hindu wedding in a significant amount of time, let me just remind you, this sort of wedding is a big event with lots of fanfare. It's generally not just a single ceremony either. In cities like Delhi, it's generally two or three major ceremonies interspersed with a ton of little ones. We had three of them.
I think what I'll always remember about my wedding is that, as everybody could see, unlike the usual, demure Indian brides, I was this bubbly girl who actually enjoyed her own wedding to the fullest.
At the venue of the ring ceremony, I was the first to arrive. Accompanied by a couple of my friends, I arrived before my family and my groom. That's apparently pretty unusual for an Indian bride. But once the panditji started off with the religious bits, for which I was not required to be present, I had a fair amount of time to spend with my friends in the bridal room.
Once we were done with the actual ring ceremony, Jatin and I were beginning to get a little restless and wanted to go to the dance floor. It took a while before all the relatives left us alone on the stage for a few minutes and we were actually able to go to the floor. My brother's friend Abhinav came to us at one point of time to invite us on to the dance floor. Once we were there, we completely forgot about the rest of the world and danced away like nobody was watching. Abhinav and the others were a little surprised, but happy. My friend Akash pointed out that we should be dancing like it is our own wedding, not as if we've come to dance at somebody's wedding. But we didn't really care for what people thought. We had a good time, and that's what mattered. That's when I actually got to see the true Punjabi that my husband is at heart. My mamaji, who'd flown in from Pennsylvania for my wedding, and who hadn't seen an Indian wedding since my parents', had a great time too.
At dinner that evening, when Jatin and I shared the first bite of food, my mom was so completely overcome with joy at the realization that the responsibility of looking after my meals was now off her shoulders. That was a beautiful moment.
On my wedding day, we had a few small rituals at home in the morning, and after a light brunch, I was off to get ready for the big evening. That day, I made it a point to check with my family and see that they arrived significantly before I did. Apparently I arrived just a little ahead of the baaraat. Tulika had already called me to tell me that the decorations were just great. The wedding venue was a farmhouse with a huge cottage in the middle of it. My wedding planner took me to the first floor of the cottage to see the decoration and the baaraat.
I was supposed to walk down a marble staircase leading out from the cottage and stop halfway down, on a landing, and Jatin was supposed to come halfway up, and we had our varmaala on the landing. I think it was all very beautiful.
We didn't get too much time on the stage, since the pheras were scheduled for eleven in the night. We were rushed off for dinner, where I managed to eat only two platefuls of watermelons (what with the heat, and the seventeen ton lehenga, and the open air venue!). We were both beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with all the adulation at this point of time. Jatin was rushed to the mandap for some sort of puja, and I had some free time on my hands. I wandered off on my own to spend some time with my friends. A few people were a little taken aback at the sight of a bride wandering about so comfortably all by herself at her own wedding, but I certainly enjoyed myself.
Abhinav came to check on me a couple of times. He wanted to know how I would get to know when I was supposed to go and join Jatin. Would there be a phone call, or an SMS, or would he be sent running to look for me? I guess everybody knows the answer, as both of us did then.
When the time came for the actual pheras, my mamaji and Abhinav came looking for me and Abhinav was amazed at the fact that I walked in step with my mamaji, who is a bit of an athletic guy and walks rather fast. I guess I was used to the weight of the lehenga by then.
The pheras proceeded uneventfully, except that the panditji and everybody else forgot all about the mangalsutra, which Jatin put around my neck later, at home, after I reminded him on the way. After a pretty emotional goodbye to my family members, I was on my way to what would be my home for the next few days. We were home by about half past two in the night, which meant that we got a fair amount of rest that very night, which is not seen too often in Indian weddings.
We also had a wedding reception on the day immediately after the wedding. By then I was a little too exhausted to get up and to get dressed for the evening. But I did somehow manage to get through that evening as well.
That evening, my mamaji pointed out that I was losing my mom and dad, but I was getting them. (I am now geographically so much closer to him and his family) That's not a bad deal at all, he said.
Well, things change, people change, situations change, and it's often for the better. I feel a lot happier now than I ever did in my life. Life after marriage is treating me well, as is my husband. More on that later.