Well well well. Hi ya folks! End of yet another season of exams and here I am all enthusiastic and back to writing my blog once again. This time I’m attempting to write something that I’ve never tried before. If this post is going to strike a vibe, you’ve probably seen things like this in your family as well.
To start off, I had the chance to attend a marriage of someone I knew well after a very long time. After I got into engineering, it’s only been attend-dinner/lunch type weddings that I’ve attended or seen. I met up with my cousins who were almost about the same age as me with few minor differences in ages. They were related to me from my father’s side and all of them were my second cousins if you put it that way. I was never really a part of their close knitted network but I was rather the fellow who did cameo appearances in few parts. I really enjoyed the wedding given the fact that I went out to relatively few weddings. We were chatting away the entire night since the wedding was to take place in the early morning. Such is the case with most Hindu marriages. The auspicious date, eight time out of ten is somewhere between midnight to wee hours of the night. Just to ensure that the people who are getting married feel special. How? They lose sleep; hence they remember the day they had to lose lovely sleep on a cold December night, to stay together for the rest of their life.
Coming back to me enjoying the wedding, we just chatted away the entire night talking about random stuff like college, people and stuff young people talk when they get the chance. Soon, it was time for the main ceremony. People, who slept, woke up rather unwillingly trying to steal few more minutes in the snugness of their blankets. We on the other hand looked tired and red eyed. Things didn’t help much when we were already sleep deprived from the tormenting exams that ended the very day.
But nothing deters the girls from their attempts to look good. Though we never bothered as much as to wash our faces, the girls were sitting with us all the time looking the same tired and red eyed way, were up in the flash as soon as the priest announced it was time. Soon, they were looking all fresh and beautiful in their new dresses reserved for occasions like these. We had no choice to admire them and take pictures. Sad man.
As the wedding progressed, people became more active and the sleep spell started to fade away, as our suppressed sleep spell started to surface itself. Soon, the starters were done with and it was time for the major ceremony. As the groom tired the Magala Sutra around the bride’s neck binding them together for the rest of their life, people rejoiced and blessed them all with luck and happiness throughout their life. I was standing there with the rest of the people holding a camera and clicking pictures. After the grim and emotional main ceremony there was the part that young people in the ceremony enjoyed.
Called the Talambralu ceremony, the bride and the groom showed each other with rice. Why? I do not know. But this much I can tell you. The people who get married love doing it for a reason, it’s the only part of the marriage that you don’t have to do what you are told. You just take handfuls of rice and shove it on the head of your better half. Cool, isn’t it?
I was standing on the side of the center stage where the proceedings took place. The first cousins of the girl who was getting married crowded around her, whistling and thoroughly enjoying their sister’s happiness. Of course, they were born and brought up together. They played together throughout their childhood and shared their worlds. One person’s happiness or sadness was shared with everyone. They went to movies together and made fun of each other. The girl cousin helped her male cousin to talk with the girl he fancied and the male cousin made sure that the female cousin was not stopped from going to the movies she wanted because she was alone and it was not safe to let her go out alone. They helped each other on tough college assignments and the male cousin was able to pass the exam successfully with a little bit of copying from his female cousin’s paper.
As the Talambralu ceremony continued, I saw the female cousins shed a few tears as they were going to miss a beloved member of their family, a person who grew up with them, a person who was the part of their life till that day. I felt sad and jealous. Why? I was more like a friend to them. A friend with whom you shared jokes and hi-fi’s whenever you met. I felt sad because I missed that part of growing up. I was jealous because, I was not sure if that joy would come in my life.
All three of my dad’s brothers immigrated to US when my own cousins were little kids. Though they visited us once in every two or three years; though we frequently chatted online, text couldn’t replace smiles and cell phones couldn’t replace comforting embraces. All my life I’ve grown up with friends as my world. So, is the case with anyone who has their direct relatives living far off. It is easy when they are accessible at least in summer vacations or in winter holidays. But it’s hard to meet up when they are living a thousand miles on the other side of the ocean.
I knew the joy of celebrating a birthday with ten of my friends whooping my ass after I fed them with food. I knew the joy of riding on a friend’s bike as we went to college. I knew the joy of going to the beach after a late night’s sleepover. I knew the joy of bunking college and going to movies with them.
But I only knew about sitting in restaurants and talking about people we knew when my own cousins met me. I never had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday with my cousins spraying party foam all over the place. I never had the chance to sneak out with them for late night movies. I never had the chance to console them when they were sad and I never had the chance to hug them when I was overjoyed. All I knew was using smiles on yahoo messenger and facebook to express what I really felt.
People say that, you only realize what you lost until you find the joy in having it. I’ve lost the chance to share my childhood and teens with my cousins. I’ve lost the chance to live with them. So, is the case with many people in our Indian societies. When this will stop? I don’t have an answer. Do you? Will the need for making money ever overpower the need for family? I still don’t know. . .