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Sikar - Dagri. The bride and groom come home

The last full day of wedding celebrations.

sunny 44 °C
View A Big Fat Indian Wedding - India 2014 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I slept all the way back from Sikar this morning, and apparently we narrowly missed a very nasty accident. Naryan's son, who was in one of the later cars, was telling us that a truck had hit a motorcycle and there was blood everywhere. The cyclist was dead and the truck driver had run off. At 14, Naryan's son was pretty shaken up and rather traumatised by it all, which I can fully understand having myself witnessed a fatal accident at that age.

It's good to be back “home”, but yet again someone has been in to the tent and taken our cots. We go on a bed-hunt and find the cots not far away and bring them back into our little home-from-home ready for tonight. With today being the last day of the festivities, there shouldn't be so many people sleeping here tonight, so maybe, just maybe we can keep our beds this evening.


The main wedding gazebo where the reception took place had been taken down while we were in Sikar, with just the awning over the cooking area left. Not long after we got back, there was an almighty bang as one of these cloths “escaped” and blew up to touch the electricity cable, causing an explosion and tripping out the power! Luckily no-one was hurt, but it sent people and animals scampering in all directions. The electrics were later restored and all was well, but it sure spooked a few people.

It looks so large and "naked" without the huge red tents!


Homecoming ceremony - Grihapravesa
The arrival of the wedding car created much excitement with lots of people suddenly springing into action to greet the new couple in a ritual known as Grihapravesa (home coming/entry).


A (very grubby) red carpet was brought out for the bride to step onto as she exited the car.


By now Reena had her face covered with a red veil, so when she appeared she looked just like a bundle of cloth.


Along with Sabu's mum – who was looking very glamorous in a stunning red and green lehenga – the newly married couple made their way towards the house.


With her short stature, bowed head, veil covering her face, and an almost slumped posture, Reena cut a humble and submissive figure.


Reena and Sabu were still tied together with the traditional scarf as part of the wedding ceremony and although theirs is a modern love marriage and the scarf is purely symbolic; I could not get the resemblance to a master walking his dog out of my mind. I found this scene rather oppressive and sad.


It also struck me how overwhelming this must be for Reena – all these people she doesn't know, a new place, a new home and a different way of life (although this is not to be their residence after the marriage, they are going to be living at Sabu's house in Jaipur), all the rituals, the expectations, doing the correct thing. All this while not having slept for 24 hours. Poor girl.


At the door, they were invariable greeted and blessed with a red mark on the forehead.


The same leather strap as I saw – and didn't understand the significance of - yesterday came out again, and Sabu's mum held it taut along with her veil across his chest, first one way, then the other.


A red and yellow thread was held up against Sabu's turban.


And later the same is repeated with Reena.


The crowds throng to see Reena and Sabu stepping over the threshold.


Dwar-Rokai – entering the home

Another important ceremony out of the many Indian Post Wedding Ceremonies, is performed when the newly wed couple enters the groom's home. Someone stops the couple at the entrance of the house and they can enter only after giving some gifts.


Toppling a pot of rice – Alta
The groom's mother has placed a vessel filled with rice at the entrance of the home.


The bride has to spill the rice by touching it with her right foot to signify wealth and that she accepts her new responsibilities.


Following this, the couple enters the house, taking the first step with the right leg.

The right foot is considered sacred and auspicious and the act in itself symbolizes the abundance and prosperity the bride is getting to the home she is entering. Once inside, the bride steps into a tray filled with vermilion, leaving a trail of red footprints as she walks across the floor. This symbolises the Gooddess Lakskhmi, in the form of the bride, has entered the home and is bringing with her wealth, health and good luck.


Next a series of trays of different sizes were placed on the floor in front of the bride who had to pick each one up in turn as she made her way across the room, with Sabu pointing his sword into each and every one of them.


Each of the containers were decorated with a swastika and contained a coin and maybe some nuts or other foods. Here in India the swastika is a Hindu symbol of peace and its use far precedes Hitler!


When she has gathered up all the plates, she hands them to her mother-in-law.


Sabu's mum produces a ring, but in the confusion that followed, I never discovered who was given the ring. It was so hard to see what was going on and it was a photographer's nightmare: crowded, dark and cramped, with people pushing and shoving to get a better view.


The professional photographer saw I was struggling, and very kindly grabbed my camera to take some shots from his (better) vantage point.


I have to say that Sabu was always very good at looking after me in that respect, making sure I was in the right place at the right time to take photos (as far as he could of course); and now he beckoned me into the prayer room to be inside to capture them entering.


I have no idea about the significance of anything that went on inside the shrine on this occasion, so I will just share some photos.


I also have no idea why Sabu is wearing two watches....


Blessing by the elders - Ashirvada
The next ritual involves seeking blessings from parents, and elderly relatives by touching their feet. In return the relatives bestow the couple with money.


When it came to the turn of Sabu's brother Ganpat, not only money changed hands, but also jewellery.


Then of course it was our turn. I was worried about getting up from those low stools but two chairs magically appeared, out of nowhere. Sabu's comment that he was “Leaving the most generous until last” put some pressure on us in terms of the monetary gift. You hide the money while the bride and groom touch your feet, then show it for all to see – and photograph. As you get up, you touch the head or shoulders of the couple to reciprocate the blessing and respect.


The ceremony finishes with Reena and Sabu going outside to ask for a blessing from Sabu's dad. Once a proud and powerful man, it is very sad to see him now, just skin and bones. When I first saw him a few days ago, we both cried.


The women inside. See the huge metal chest on the right? That went with us to Sikar, full of the trousseau and other stuff for the wedding.


With the last of the homecoming ceremonies over, many of the guests that had stayed for the duration began to leave on foot, and in cars and buses.


We go back to the tent to try and catch up on some much needed sleep. We both feel absolutely exhausted, and I really feel for the wedding couple – Reena in particular with all the heavy wedding dress on. She was really suffering towards the end of that last ceremony, I could see she could barely keep her eyes open. I hope she is also able to get some rest.


We grabbed a couple of cots and placed them in the shade under the tree behind the tent, but discovered the area was Poop Central. The tree was full of parakeets, myna birds (including a nest) and crows, and after several direct hits we ended up moving inside the tent. Seeing what the roof of the tent looked like, I think we made a wise decision....


I woke up to find I had the runs. Great! I make my trek from the tent to the main building, trying not to trip over the goats or scare the buffalo; picking up a bucket on the way and filling it from the well for flushing the toilet.

For our pre-dinner drinks we were joined by Jo and a spotted owlet in the tree above. That is, the owl was in the tree, not Jo.

After dark we went up to join the remaining guests (there are now probably only about 50 people still here) in the main area for some dinner and a last night with the family. By sheer coincident, both Jo and I had brought with us glow stick, and the little children (and the bigger ones!) loved them!


This is our last night sleeping out under the stars, and it is much quieter tonight. But this is also the hottest evening so far at 42 °C with no breeze whatsoever. Much as it was unpleasant the last few nights with the fine sand the wind brought with it, at least it did cool the temperatures some at night. But not this evening. It was like trying to sleep in a sauna. I have never liked saunas and I still don't.

I was just dozing off when I need the toilet. I still have the runs.

Again I was just drifting off to sleep when the jungle babblers in the tree above us started. They are not known as “the seven sisters” for nothing: one starts "babbling" and six more reply. What a racket! Time and time again they repeated this scenario, going on for what seemed like hours.

Eventually, after removing some clothes (People sleep fully clothed here, so being part-naked was very risqué, but with so few people staying we were hoping that no-one would join us this evening) I finally managed to drift off to sleep.

Posted by Grete Howard 11:25 Archived in India

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hahaha..."leaving the most generous until last" does indeed put pressure on one.
Not exactly the time to pull out a 1 pound note eh?

by Homer

Gosh, it is the colours which overtake everything but in some photos the bride does look so young and sad.
What an experience !

by Penny

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