Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sister's wedding and all that jazz

It was one of my first cousins' wedding this past weekend. It would only be fair to call her a sister though, since we've lived together in the same joint family for 20 years and shared so many important moments in each others' lives. She is the first out of the six of us (cousins on my father's side) to enter holy(?) matrimony, and naturally, we were all super psyched and anxious for it to all go well.

Several weeks of preparation on our side, and of course several months of it on the couple's respective families' sides, went into making this wedding the great affair it ended up as. The proceedings weren't, of course, without their share of minor and major hiccups, but as the cliche goes, all's well that ends well. And this one ended at the crack of the dawn of my sister's brand new life with her husband and partner in all crimes. So no one should ideally be complaining (though that's a Utopian idea to harbour - but I digress).

It is world renowned that if there is one place where there's a riot of colours, festivity, loud music, dancing, endless drama and lots of hoopla, it has to be at a Punjabi wedding. It would not just suffice to say we had it all, and more. So I'll stop writing and share some of my shots from the Mehendi, Chooda and wedding functions to illustrate how beautiful the whole affair really was and how much fun we had.

The happy bride getting the traditional mehendi (henna) applied on her hands...

...and feet.

It's my sister's shadi. Of course I won't miss getting clicked in all that wedding finery and mehendi!

(L-R) Dad's sister, her daughter (second eldest of us all), brother (my age), my mother, my sister, and our grandmother. again. You can tell me I look nice (but with better use of vocabulary, of course).

Chooda ceremony: Bride's mother's brother (descended from the US) helping her wear the traditional chooda, a set of bangles she will be wearing 24x7 during the first year of her marriage. Sounds archaic, but most Indian brides love this tradition (though they wear it for varying periods of time).

Bride's mother's sister tying on the 'kaleere' to a bangle on her wrist. Female friends and family members lovingly tie different kaleere (bejewelled hangings) to her wrist as part of another tradition followed in most North Indian weddings.

And finally, the stunning bride, sitting in the wedding mandap with her characteristic happy smile.

And the groom, always jovial (even when relatives are forcing laddoos down his throat) and clearly in love with my sister.

The bride's younger brother - all possessive and supportive of her on this one most special day of her life.

The sacred fire, in front of which all couples take their marriage vows and around which they walk seven times.

Flowers, the holy 'kalash', and sundry items used in the offerings (that only the priest knows the significance of!)

The proud parents giving away their daughter in marriage - doing what is called 'Kanyaadaan'.

The newly-wedded couple.

The groom applying sindhoor (vermilllion) to the bride's hair - a mark of her being married. Sort of like a red signal telling other men to not even think about it. Hindu traditions, I tell you!

The mothers hugging with joy at the completion of the wedding ceremonies...

...and then the bride's mother weeping at her vidaai (departure) to her new home. Full on melodrama ensued.

I'm getting better and better as a wedding photographer. Wonder if I should take it up seriously as another freelance job. Or, or, or... become a hobbyist birdwatcher. Such dilemmas in life, I tell you. 

Anyhow, here's wishing my gorgeous sister and my charming new jiju a fun-filled, adventurous, prosperous, loving, balanced, and everlasting togetherness. When in confusion or frustration, always remember that to keep up a successful marriage, you have to fall in love every day - but with the same person. All the best with that! May the force be with you. And may you have a whole battalion of little munchkins that get so hard to handle that you actually consider giving them out to people for free, to bring up as their own. No kidding.

Break a leg, you two! :)

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