Wedding Chronicles – Day 1

My mom, my brother and I left for Kolkata on the 14th of May. The train journey was fun but painfully long (about 18 hours) and slow, because:

  1. Mom can be a real pain when you’re traveling. She is a supremely fussy vegetarian. She will:
    • Not eat at a restaurant if they also serve non-veg food, even if it is prepared separately.
    • Not eat at a pure veg restaurant unless it smells good.
    • Not eat at a pure veg restaurant unless they serve north Indian (Punjabi) cuisine.
    • Not eat on trains even if you tell her a thousand times that they do not cook in-house and have caterers.
    • Make faces when you eat food on a train or on the street or anywhere else that she wouldn’t eat.
  2. My brother A is constantly on the phone and will not listen to anything you say.
  3. My mom rolls her eyes a LOT. She complains even more.
  4. When mom complains, I start giving her a lecture about patience and we end up fighting.
  5. When #2 happens, #3 happens and subsequently, #4 happens.

You get the picture. So a whole lot of #4 happened. We finally reached Kolkata and then everyone just shut up. I was dying of anticipation because Mister and his mom were going to pick us up at the station. I hadn’t seen him in three days, and was missing him a lot.

I hugged him in front of a thousand people, including my mom who was predictably rolling her eyes. I didn’t care. And then before mom could recover, Mister planted a kiss on my cheek. My mom blushed and looked away. I’m assuming she was rolling her eyes some more at this point, but I couldn’t see her so I can’t be sure.

We reached the guesthouse in about 45 minutes, got dressed and stepped out because we had to shop for last minute essentials, such as alta and shankha-pola. Alta is a red fluid applied to the hands and feet of Bengali brides. Shankha-pola are basically conch shell bangles that are considered auspicious. Bengali brides put them on and never take them off. They also wear an iron bangle, again, never to take them off.

Getting dressed

The alta (see the first picture above) was applied by one of Mister’s paternal aunts on the 16th, the day of the wedding, but I wore the red and white bangles as soon as I bought them. The iron bangle had to wait until we were married.

Here are some pictures of where we were married the next day. I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but my Guru, runs an ashram in Kolkata where she and her daughter  home school several children from the slums. Mister and I wanted to be married with her blessing in the temple on her rooftop.

the ashram where we got married
the ashram where we got married

This temple, as you can see, houses an idol of Gour baba, the founder of Bibek Anader Satsang. He was my Guru’s Guru. I never really got to meet him, but consider his principles my guiding force in life.

The children in the Ashram were running around decorating the place for our big day with flowers, rangolis and lights. Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and soon, we joined in, hanging a few garlands and picking perfect bel leaves (in sets of three) for the wedding yagna the next day.

Later, we ate authentic home-cooked vegetarian cuisine at my Guru’s home.

And no, my mom did not make faces this time. She ate a little.

We managed to crash by midnight, but I didn’t sleep a wink in anticipation.

Coming up next: The Wedding Day


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12 thoughts on “Wedding Chronicles – Day 1”

  1. So neat. What is the symbolism of the iron bangle and why can’t it be worn until the wedding? And when you say the bangles are never removed do you mean day, night, bathing, and at all times? What happens if say you have to have a medical test – like an MRI- where iron is not permitted? Is your Gour baba still alive? Why is your Guru so far from your home (18 hours travel)?

    The pictures are very beautiful. Thanks for sharing and i hopoe I haven’t asked too many questions.


    1. Thank Paul! Glad you asked, coz I’m sure others would have the same questions.

      Traditionally, the iron bangle were supposed to ward off the evil eye and protect the couple. Also, they provide a sense of belonging and remind people of the vows they took when they married. this is especially true for me, because I wake up, see the bangles and suddenly remember that our lives are threaded together by a bond greater than life itself. Of course this is just an emotional and philosophical perspective! 🙂

      Married Bengali women keep the bangles on 24 X 7, but in exceptional circumstances (such as medical tests), one can take the iron bangle off and then put it back on later.

      Gour baba left his physical form in 2003. I heard about him and his philosophy in 2009 when Mister and I used to work together. I was obviously impressed. When I heard that my Guru was on her way to Delhi, I asked Mister’s mom to introduce me. I was then formally initiated into the ideology.

      I hope I covered everything!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey. Really like how you described your family all along the tiresome train ride. I got a sense that you really love each other and care about what the others think while still going about doing it your way.


  3. This is so fascinating and it looked like a beautiful and meaningful venue. It was great to hear about the traditions and what they mean. Looking forward to more pictures. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really sorry Pavanneh! Don’t know why your message ended up in my spam! Was just clearing things out and realized you had posted this!
      I take it you saw the next few posts with the pictures! I’m working on the honeymoon ones right now. Should be up soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is okay. I am finding a lot of messages in my spam box and yet I get messages in my inbox from the same people. Not sure why that is. I did get to see the pictures. They looked great and you looked so happy. So happy for you.


  4. It’s amazing how, across countries and cultures, mothers are the same. Aside from that, your photos are stunning and I really enjoy reading about your journey to marriage. Mazel tov!


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