You already know how I got to my miserable spot in bed. I tossed and turned all night!
We had an early wedding. I was expected to be ready by 6:00 am for a simple ceremony that was going to start at 6:45. I jumped out of bed at 4:45, woke my mom and brother up, and practically went cartwheeling into the washroom. By 5:45 am, I had bumped into every piece of furniture in the room, and had worn my red-gold saree, waiting for the Mister and the ladies from his family to arrive.
I had no idea what Mister was going to wear to the wedding, so you can imagine my state of mind. I found myself hoping he’d wear something that would look nice in the photographs. And in that moment I realized how shallow I am.
We still had some time, so my brother and I took some really silly selfies.
The groom’s party reached at 5:45 am, just in time for the alta ceremony.
His mom gave me jewellery to wear. I had to literally wipe the drool off my face after I looked in the mirror after I had worn the solid-gold-heavy-as- rocks armlets and bangles.
Seriously. They’re beautiful. Take a look!
We reached the mandir (Gour baba’s temple) at 6:20 am. As soon as we reached, we saw little children scurrying across the terrace holding flowers and sweets and other sundry items for the ceremony. It was like I was at a fair enjoying the ambience, blissfully unaware of the behind the scenes action.
We started by offering our respects and flowers and bel leaves (the ones we had set aside the night before) to each deity in the temple. We adorned Gour baba with a beautiful jasmine garland.
After this, the Mister and I exchanged garlands three times as our loved ones showered us with rose petals and their blessings. Next, we exchanged rings.
We wanted silver rings because none of us really likes gold that much. Also, Mister’s name means silver, so this choice was also kinda intuitive. Mine has Mister’s fingerprint on it, doesn’t get more personal than that! Mister has the eye of Horus on his. I have that symbol tattooed on my arm. Each of us has something that’s on the other’s body.
Anyway, back to the wedding.
The Jaimala (exchange of garlands) and ring ceremony took about 10 minutes. After this, we spent some time clicking pictures with family. At 7:45 am, we all went down to my Guru’s house for the yagna.
In a yagna, special symbols are drawn on sand in a square vedi, upon which a formation of wooden logs is set, and along with the chanting of mantras, fire is set to the wood and ghee and other spices act as incendiary.
The vedi was set with all the different types of wood, ghee, honey, yogurt, flowers, fruits, special spices, sweets, etc. We sat down, hands folded and heads bent low as my Guru ma kept chanting holy mantras, stoking the yagna fire and offering spices, sweets, five types of fruit and sweets to the deities.
We were uncomfortable and sweating profusely but were too awestruck to bother. The divinity of the occasion had surpassed my romantic aspirations. The sheer grandeur of what was transpiring made my eyes well up.
My mom was called upon to give me away to Mister (since my father wasn’t there). Mister and I then read out through our traditional Hindu wedding vows, which our Guru ma’s daughter had graciously translated from Sanskrit into English. These vows are free of time and demographics and are relevant to any couple in a long term relationship.
In my head I had rehearsed this a thousand times, yet my mind did not seem ready to process the moment. As the moment arrived to read aloud my vows, I had a red nose, teary eyes, quivering lips and a thudding heart. I choked with emotion as soon as I read the first line, pursed my lips tight to hold back the tears in vain as soon as I said the word “ardhangini” – ardh meaning half and angini meaning of the body.
I stammered and stuttered through the rest of the vows, tears streaming down my eyes, looking only at Mister, shutting out the rest of the world, and unmindful of how I might be appearing to others.
He kept his steady hand on mine and smiled reassuringly. Then, he put sindoor (vermillion) in the parting in my hair, claiming me for his own.
I knew, in that moment, that I belonged to him more than I have ever belonged to anyone.
I became his ardhangini at 9:30 am on 16th of May, 2014.
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