It was That One Corbett Wedding where the bride danced with all the guests (wearing a kala chashma of course), and her mother sang a graceful Hindi rendition, and the bridesmaid danced to the delight of everyone and the groom sat atop an elephant for the first and only time in his life and even managed to stand up and smile.
I saw it all and I put it in words so that no one forgets:
Day 1:As I walked towards a dark and silent corner of the resort, I could hear a woman sing a love song. Her voice was uninhibited and melodious. She was alone, but the song was meant for someone. It had to be. She sang from her soul.
A speck of river water shines under the moonlight. Moon is benign on the river tonight so the water shines. I hope Pakhi and Sahil are benign to each other so both shine.
Day 2: Sangeet and EngagementThe bride (Pakhi) she wasn’t okay with sitting quietly and posing during the sangeet ceremony, instead she danced with all the guests. We even did burpees together. The only thing close to dance that I know. She calls me her workout partner. I wish her health and happiness and a few burpees every now and then.
Pakhi is not my sister, at least not by blood. But that is irrelevant. It is these bonds with no name that define us, that connect us, that make life meaningful.
If there was one moment of the wedding it was this: The pets (Smokey and Frodo) had an engagement ring attached to their collars. Pakhi accepted the ring from Saahil’s pet, while he did the same from Pakhi’s.
They exchanged more than rings, they exchanged promises. She was in tears but she looked happy. He played it calm. His role for a lifetime. Something tells me they will make this work. The river below will continue to flow and life will take its own course. For now, it is time to celebrate.
Someday, somewhere I will make the same vows to a woman. We will have our promises to keep. I hope she cries, from happiness.
What is the significance of dogs wearing an engagement ring around their collar? Not much. Except it makes for a good story and we all love good stories.
Sahil seems to know who he is not and what he doesn’t want. I like those qualities in people, whereas I am always suspicious of those who are too sure of themselves.
Day 3: Haldi and WeddingTheir face, hair, clothes, everything is covered by a yellow paste. Yellow and music and laughter and everyone jumping into the pool filled with freezing water. A friend asked me the significance of Haldi ceremony. I didn’t know. But I do know this: By the time the colours come off they would have become life partners with nothing left to hide.
Weddings, they are indeed beautiful. A celebration of love, life and togetherness. They make you want to believe in a bright future. It’s good to be hopeful at the start of a long journey.
With a glass of whiskey in their hands, my friends are discussing how marriage and love is about “compromise”. I think that’s a terrible idea. Toothpaste and soaps are about compromise. Marriage and love is about togetherness. Grief together, failure together, moments of laughter (in between) together. I raise of glass of togetherness to Pakhi and Sahil.
Each of their seven vows will be questioned at some point. Their faith will come to a test. Will they prevail? I don’t know the answer, but they can always look back at That One Corbett Wedding for strength and hope.
Day 4: FarewellIt is peaceful. Sunshine wading through leaves, sound of the flowing river underneath, a cup of warm tea in hand. Sometimes we ask too much from life when we need so little.
It’s a funny institution, marriage. Unlike any other venture, where we celebrate accomplishments, here we celebrate its very inception. May be what we are celebrating is the best of humanity. Coming together of two people in search of joy, love and fulfillment.
The shenanigans, the ceremonies are now over. Guests have left. The music lingers on. Moon and stars continue their watch. The river takes its course. What’s left? A lifetime together.
Pakhi and Sahil, here is my wedding gift to you. A gift of words and memories.