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Throughout history stories of romantic meetings are chronicled and passed down through the ages.

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So... How Did You Meet Anyway?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Photo Okayed

One day a proposal came to my father from the prospective suitable boy's maternal uncle.  Our family was known to them.  After the initial proposal, the uncle and the prospective boy's father came to discuss the proposal with my father one evening.  Maa made necessary preparations to receive the important guests.

During the meeting the suitability of the boy was discussed which included his education, which was pretty impressive, his profession and family.   The uncle then asked baba about me.  Both seemed to be satisfied and agreed to progress.  Photographs were exchanged.  The boy's photo was shown to me and my opinion was sought.  I saw the face of a reasonably personable young man and decided he would do. I guess the young man also thought the same, for it was rumored his telegram to his parents read 'Photo Okayed'. 
My older brother also made a little reconnaissance trip to Hyderabad, where Suvesh was working at the time to 'see the boy' and to make his acquaintance before the proposal was finalized.  Suvesh obviously came across fairly normal, as the negotiations progressed quickly thereafter, and It was quite a simple straight forward affair without any discordant note.  There was an air of excitement in the house.  The auspicious date was fixed for the first ceremony, call aashirbaad, meaning blessings from both the sides.

Ours was a very traditional arranged marriage with each other’s consent.   Arranged marriages usually conjure a picture of a practical, well planned affair, devoid of any romantic aspect.  In my experience, ours was far from it.  One constantly thinks of the distant person.  The element of surprise and anticipation of falling in love is incredibly romantic.
Finally the wedding day arrived.  In the morning my Baba performed a very beautiful ceremony to ask our ancestors for their blessings.  

The main part of the ceremony is the Yagna.  My father sat on one side of the fire and the groom on the other side with both the priests. All the necessary paraphernalia was arranged around the place where the fire was to be lit. It is a very elaborate and quite complex ceremony.  The priests chant Sanskrit mantras throughout different stages with both Baba and the groom repeating after them.  After the initial stage I was brought in and I sat next to the man who was soon to become my husband.   Suddenly the thought passed through my mind that this was the person I shall be closest to from now on.   

.  My hand was put on the grooms hand and covered with a cloth.  Through giving offerings to the fire and chanting of mantra s my father gave me away to the man who would be his son-in-law.  Then the aanchal of my sari was tied to the groom’s uttorio (silk shawl) and we walked seven steps together.  Each step symbolised different aspects of life together. It also means if we could get through these 7 steps together then we could face life together, loving, caring and respecting each other and be for each other for whatever life presents us with.  After that the sindur (vermillion) was put on the sinthi
 (part of the hair) accompanied by relevant sanskrit verses. We became man and wife.

Finally came the time I was dreading.  I left my beloved home, my parents, my brothers with tearful eyes.  I saw both Maa and Baba happy, but so very sad.  My father was a strong man.  This was the first time I saw tears in his eyes.  All said goodbye to me.  I left my life as I knew it, everything familiar and dear and a part of me was left behind.   I got into the car with my new husband and left for a new life.