This post can be classified as one written in the genre of commissioned posts. This time the lovely chandni of bohemian rhapsody has requested of her friends to participate in a wonderful contest (details at the end of the post) . Considering my wedding can be read as one of the Indian Weddings (Low Calorie Special) for one half of the parties involved in the wedding, I guess Chandni thinks I can send in an entry as well. Going through my post I would say it qualifies for the "
Once upon a time in a small town in Pakistan a mother had nightmares that she would lift the skirt of her daughter’s wedding lehenga to discover the bride wearing some hideous sneakers, so fond was her daughter of running shoes. Well, her daughter did kind of live up to this self fulfilling prophecy; strapping on as she did her running shoes every time a Prince became much too Charming.
And then one day the daughter discovered that she would rather walk into the sunset with someone rather than bolting away...of course before signing on the dotted line she had her own super private blessing ceremony where her eccentric group of friends; with their multiplicity of perspectives on God and being godless, on love and lust, the soul , the spirit, and sexuality, celebrated the commitment she was making and prayed in their many languages for the couple (And Thats All Im Telling). Yeh sab tau theek hai all this is OK as moms say, but the two families needed something that could give them pictures that go in the album and that could be framed on their walls. Im lucky that my sister had been kind enough to give my mother the Big Fat Pakistani Wedding Tamasha where everyone and their grandmother could be treated to the whole band, baja and bling. Sister's wedding had provided a number of occasions also for the much celebrated gift economy to flourish, so this time around my mother could somewhat overlook that the celebrations were a trifle less over the top.
However, we had to keep in mind that the two mothers had some expectations of the day that had to be respected so it could not be that the wedding day was as ‘unorthodox’ as I would have liked, there was as they say (and this is my rehashed Bollywood wisdom of the year) sex aur sanskar ki kashmakash. In short how could we celebrate our Veer met Zara moment without making it an Aman ki Asha special? How could I hold on to a vow I had made long ago of not allowing a maulvi as middleman, to mediate my relationship with my man and Maker and still invite God to my wedding? How could we make it a day that celebrated the culture and traditions of our respective families and still toed the line when it came to the bureaucracy of the city we lived in? Simply put how could it be the day I dreamt of when I closed my eyes but still be real enough for those who watched us with eyes wide open.
Of course only the guests that afternoon and later in the evening can tell you whether we got the balance between the ‘ real ‘ and the “ Oh my God this seems like out of this world' right. But I am very proud to say that I got through the days leading up to the ceremony without breaking into hives or having the tight constricted feeling in my chest that had marked other count downs. Let me though be very clear that the internal conflicts, the self doubts that plagued those other occasions, those other countdowns, had been all mine; and should not be a reflection on the merits or lack thereof of the other parties involved when I bolted away from signing on the dotted line.
Finally as the wedding day approached I could afford to take a very contented sigh that everything seemed in order. I had someone who had supported our love story From The Beginning reading us our vows, and the celebrant who was officiating the ceremony later in the evening had promised to stick to my script. (I have to apologize if I sound a bit like a drama queen but a couple of months before my wedding I had the misfortune of being in one where the cleric tore up a marriage certificate to show that marriage is more than a piece of paper. And where the person officiating spoke about the world wanting Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve. I also wanted to be proud of the commitment I was making that day in a way that did not exhibit that I had entered some exclusive club all set to totter about very smugly in my stilettos). However just as I was rubbing my hands quite happily for the chef had promised to accommodate the varied dietary requirements of all the guests invited, a casual remark by one of the managers at the restaurant burst my bubble. Alas, my lovely sunset ceremony by the sea was the same evening as the Grand Final. Oh to be a bride on the most important day in the sports calendar for a football crazy city. For someone who had wanted to escape the Caught in Camera Flashlights look that brides sport standing on a wedding stage, it was poetic justice that I was going to be the silly woman in her wedding finery surrounded by a crowd of rowdy football fans. But God was kind, the crowds were far far away in the distance, and people only honked their cars (in respect) as I crossed the street in my mother’s wedding gharara rather than Woh Dekho Dulhan. Yes, I wore the skirt of my mother’s gharara with a new shirt and dupatta, I also carried a zardozi poth silk batwa that was actually the sample for my sister’s wedding dress (so it was not just their prayers that were part of the ceremony). Earlier in the afternoon I wore the white and gold I favoured with a look demure enough that my mother could frame it for the walls.
Later in the evening as part of the civil ceremony Gman and I acknowledged that life as a couple will have happy days and dark. Kind of what our real lives are like to begin with? Though weddings should be a day when we can escape from the mundane of the every day, we didn’t want to be escapists. A blogger had asked of us once how we know a certain person is The One.In our case here were two people who had two very different upbringings. We didn’t share a language and spoke to God in very different ways. But Im hoping the events of the day kind of crossed that gap. There were some funny moments as well. My mother had borrowed our phone to speak to my sister once one lot of vows had been exchanged. For people who were experiencing their first “desi wedding” the instructions about keeping an eye on the plants seemed like part of the cultural traditions that the desi guests were explaining to them.
So with apologies to Kipling, Oh, East is East, and West is West but sometimes the North East and North West do meet.
And what happened to the mother earlier in the story who feared the sneakers under the skirt. Well though her daughter loved her enough to wear something with enough gold and bronze that a sister had picked out , the next week she went out to buy something in a Nayi Naveli Red. Albeit this.