- 21st February 1998 Afternoon
The henna is being applied in the street by the mehndiwalas. Since I did not have much time, there are two guys working on my feet. They have finished the hands. For a bride, both sides of the hand halfway up the arm is normally applied. For other festivals it is customary only to stain the palms. Also traditional is to have a Mehndi ceremony at home, where the bride's friends and female relatives usually sing and dance and get Mehndi applied. As usual I had no time so I had it done by the roadside where "Munna" the specialist has his kiosk. Ravi had escorted me to the market and took the photo. Which is not the done thing. I am certainly not supposed to be with him!!! Its supposed to be women only *grin* but we sneaked out separately to get some time together.
Waiting for the Mehndi to dry - 21st February 1998 -later that afternoon
Mehndi is used to cool the body down during summer. It leaches the heat from the body. But in winter, my hands and fingers were freezing.
The complex designs are made with a paste of henna leaves powdered and mixed with water, lime juice and sugar. Sometimes coffee or tea powder is added for color. Traditionally my fiancé's name will be written into my right palm, which he then later looks for after the marriage. The design continues on the back of the hand. The feet are patterned up to the ankles.
The Engagement Ceremony 21st February 1998 - 6.30 p.m.
Ravi is placing the engagement ring on my finger. The engagement ceremony can be anytime before the marriage but because of our time constraints we got "engaged" the day before!
You can see the Priest in the left corner of the other picture, my dad's head, my mom in yellow, Ravi admiring his ring, me, my father in law and mother in law in the red sari on the right.
After the engagement we had music and dancing. My aunts prepared parodies of popular Hindi songs with their own words that teased Ravi and me about our Internet romance. In the picture is my sister in red and her husband, with my mom's sister behind them. To the left is my aunt and her daughter.
The Wedding Ceremony
- 22nd February 1998 - 10.30 am
The wedding ceremony begins with the arrival of the groom. I am in a room towards the right of this picture..you cant see me but I was peering out at Ravi walking in looking like some warrior prince ( he normally looks like a geek grin) along with his mom, sister, aunt and uncles. The background is the temple courtyard.
We start the ceremony with garlanding each
other with flowers. And with a "Namaste" to the priest, our parents and
all the family and friends who are attending our wedding.
Clasping hands to take our vows to begin our marriage and the ceremony.
We start a fire (the hearth of the new home) together. Fire or Agni is the witness to a Hindu marriage. On the right are Ravi's parents adding their blessings.
Taking the "pheras" at the end of the ceremony. These are circles around the fire tied together. I go first for three of them symbolizing the mental, physical and emotional bonds. Then Ravi goes first for the fourth and final circle symbolizing the spiritual bonding.
My parents are blessing us with flowers at
the end of the wedding. (Phew) See how tired I look. I had been up since
6 am getting dressed by a professional lady to put that outfit together.
Also my makeup and stuff. I had red yellow and white dots in a design over
my eyebrows! Anyway we were then "showered" with flowers by everyone and
their uncle. Or was this the beginning..I notice the fire is out. Ho hum
does it matter? Grin this has been a long day. I am wearing a sari
with a matching veil. Ravi is wearing a kurta and pajama with a red sash.
This sash is tied to my sari ends when we took the circles around the fire.
The veil and sash are still tied and kept at home to symbolize the "marriage
The Reception - 22nd February 1998 - 8pm onwards
The wedding ended with a big lunch and after that we went to Ravi's house ( the part of the temple where his family was staying) there we had a special function before I could enter his home. His mother and sister touched my feet and blessed us then they broke a coconut for the spirits ( this is traditional in his community). I was then invited to enter my new home. The bride is considered a personification of Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth. J
I then rushed off to be decorated again grin my mother wanted me to look good. The wedding had only been for family and close friends. We had invited 400 for the reception.
Well there we are..married and looking goofy! Any comments?
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