November 25, 2001

just married

i fought, i cajoled, i pleaded, even threw tantrums, but nothing would stop my parents from making my marriage a purely ‘traditional’ south-indian one…

awake at 5:00 am

unending phone calls

panicky relatives

picky, sometimes

what, you haven’t had coffee yet!?

haldi session

blessings from everybody

waiting for someone

or for someone else

grannies want their stern say

don’t you forget a word of what i just said

already 7:00 am

who’s got the flowers?

(no confusion, no marriage)

giggly cousins

concerned friends

gulnar, mahesh, malini, prakash

even sanjeev, and deepak and saroj

experienced chittis

amma, composed and calm

ok, she’s ready!

flash, click, photographer’s here

tilt-a-little, smile, 1-2-3



happy nods

approving smiles

dakshina time!

relatives in queue

tear-choked blessings

you’ll be going so far…

light-hearted achchan

relieved, i think

of course, everyone’s happy



the bridegroom is waiting! leave quick!!

vehicle co-ordination

esteem, maruti or sumo?

careful! don’t mess your hair

at the temple hall

congratulations, congratulations!

the bride’s waiting room

brimming with do’s and dont’s

kashi yatra‘s over

bring her out now

the marriage begins…

endless chants

ponytailed pujaris

do loud voices

compensate lack of comprehension?

shh, that’s how marriages are

helpful chittappa

pours meaning into mantras

aha, that’s what it’s for

jhula-time…i’ve waited for the swing

they raise the groom

the mamas, four

my mama‘s strong too

i’m lifted high

garlands are exchanged

so are looks and laughter

they do this thrice

bride and groom

take place on the swing

marriage song sita-kalyanam…

fills the air

i see more tears

but not on my cheeks

aha, milk-and-banana

for the ‘would-be’ couple


more songs, a little light swing

back to the stage now

more chants and symbolic threads

nine-yard saree

five to drape, twenty to advise

giggly bride

nervous about the saree

and won’t i be?

will it come off? is it tight?

five minutes are up

the door opens

here comes the bride…

the marriage (act II) begins anew

more chants and mantras

the toe-ring slipped in

i take my place

on achchan’s lap



the bride looks sweet

i learn to be shy

the moment is here, auspicious

the yellow tali is around my neck

garlands, flowers

yellow rice grains

hands turn into temporary showers

people give way

smile, laugh, cry and hug

congratulations, congratulations!



we are now husband and wife.

looking back, i guess i’m glad they won. just don’t ask me why.

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