Wedding Day 1
Still on my bed staring at the ceiling when my phone chimes. Gi sent me a message. I reply ‘I am great can’t wait to see you later. Love you.’
He replies, ‘you are lying I know what is going on in your pretty head and it’s ok. I am sure wherever dad is he is happy for you. I love you princess.’
I get off the bed and shower, the wedding is starting at 3pm giving everyone enough time to get ready. We spent the morning ensuring we had everything we needed for the ceremony. It was just after twelve I’m in my room I just finished scrubbing my skin to ensure all the yellow was washed off, I asked everyone to give me a few minutes to myself.
Not having my dad here is making me a bit sad, when it was time to get me ready mom, my grand mothers aunt Laila, Nish, Shreya, and Elena came in to help me. I donned my intricately woven embroidered silk lehenga in a stunning red-orange hue. It is adorned with gold indian embroidery work, gold sequins, pearls and ornate metallic thread work. It is paired with an embroidered silk blouse in beige with the same shade of red-orange hue bordering the sleeves, the scooped neckline and a two inch band at the edge of my top. Along with two embroidered net dupattas one in red is draped over my head and the other in green draped over my right shoulder crossing my chest and tucked to the side of my left hip. Normally brides wear very heavy intricate jewelry but I opt for more simple classy pieces in 22kt gold and matching bangles.
Securing the necklace Shreya says, "I can't believe uncle Harish and ajaa went back for it."
I pause looking at Shreya, "what do you mean?"
Shreya smiles, "when Nish was getting married Jeev, ajaa, grans, your dad and I went shopping for Nish's wedding. Your dad and ajaa wanted to buy this set for you but grans insisted they would come back when you were getting married because they might have even nicer designs. I remember it because it had a uniqe design."
Placing my hand on the necklace I close my eyes for a few seconds. I reopen my eyes giving myself one look over satisfied with how I look Martin takes mom, grans, naan and I to the hotel, the rest of the family arrives with the limo.
I woke up at 6am, today is the first day of the first wedding ceremony the Hindu part. I message Ambi to see how she is doing. I know she is missing her dad even if she did not say it, I see it in her eyes. She tells me she is great but I know my Ambi better than she thinks. I thoroughly scrub my skin to ensure all the yellow stain from the haldi comes off. We chill out until it was time to get dressed, I start to get dressed around 1pm. My mom, my aunt Gemma, sisters, sisters in law, Alexi and Samara help me get dressed. Once dressed Andi drives me in my SUV with dad, grandpa and Gino’s two boys to the hotel. Ambi got Gino’s two boys mini versions of their dad’s outfit they look so adorable.
I arrive at the hotel, to the sound of tassa drums, I am dressed in a sharp and sophisticated red-orange sherwani suit a traditional Indian outfit worn by grooms for a Hindu wedding ceremony. Made of fine silk with an all over ornate and intricate working in gold and white beading, metallic thread work, a plain beige coloured pants compliments my outfit. To complete the look I have a turban in the same red-orange and gold material with a gold coloured gem in the centre of the turban, an embroidered silk gold shawl draped over my shoulder and these funny looking gold shoes, I feel like a king in this outfit.
I am welcomed to the venue by aunt Laila, aunt Nina, aunt Tanu, Nish and Shreya. They place a mark on my forehead, waving a deya in front of me, handing me money welcoming me. Aki, Izzy and Brad take me out of the car escorting me to an area just outside the entrance of the wedding hall, where uncle Ish feeds me and washes my feet as a form of respect and honor.
I got to the hotel before Gi, after I performed part of the ritual I waited in the dressing room until Gi and his family arrived. The tassa drums signaled the groom’s arrival, men from both sides exchange garlands, they hug and greet each other before entering the venue. Gi is then welcomed firstly by five married women from my side performing Gi’s aarti the waving of a lit deya, giving him money. Brad, Aki and Izzy then take him out of the car and escorts Gi to an area at the entrance to the wedding venue to sit where he is then fed a drink of milk and honey before he is taken to the mandap (the wedding alter) my dad’s brother uncle Ish washes Gi’s feet, this is a form of respect. He will then enter the wedding venue lead by my uncles Ish, Vish and Vin.
My mom, naan, grans, my brothers, Nish, Brad, Samara. Elena, Jeev, Shreya, my uncle Ish and aunt Laila then escort me to the mandap. Making my way to the mandap, I admire the décor the gold coloured elephant statues at the entrance, the white, red and gold colour combination is class redefined. White chairs with red cushions on the burgundy carpeted floor. The mandap looks royal with, a gold and crystal chandelier, satin drapes in simple white adding a modern look with fresh flowers hanging throughout the mandap in red, white and green with a few strategic floral arrangements placed around the mandap and the seating area in the same colours completing the look.
My eyes are now fixed on Gi even though I have a veil over my face and he has the sehra covering his, I can’t see his face but everything looks so splendid his sherwani suit is everything I envisioned. The red-orange shade complements his skin tone perfectly, the intricate embroidered working on the suit in gold with some pearls paired with his red- orange and gold coloured turban giving Gi a regal finish. Reaching the mandap I glance up at my Gi he is before me, in all his splendor. The hindu priest pokes fun at Gi, “your bride has reached you can relax now. Smile.”
I am standing at the mandap where the ceremony will be taking place waiting to see my princess. A song Ambi listens to every morning Tujhe kitna Chahne Lage starts to play I googled the translation for the song. It is a perfect expression of my feelings for Ambi.
The river of my heart has finally broken free
My love for you has turned into devotion
Surrender yourself to me
You’ve become my necessity
My eyes are saying what is in my heart
I swear that I’m saying the truth
I won’t take a single breath without you
With the song playing in the background my eyes is focused on the entryway even though my face is covered with dangling beads I can still see, finally I spot Ambi she is being escorted to the mandap with her family. Her face is covered but her dress she looks like royalty in an outfit same bright red-orange hue as mines, the skirt and bodice with intricate thread and beading work, the red veil draped over her head and a green draped over her right shoulder adding a wonderful compliment. Her braided hair resting on her right shoulder giving her this look for pure royalty. Gold coloured jewelry subtly adorns her head and neck with red and gold bangles on her wrists. The brightly coloured henna stain on her hands a true testament that my love for her is deeper than the ocean, the stain is a deep burgundy hue. I can’t help but smile when Andi whispers “you did good my brother. She is perfect.” as Ambi nears me. The pundit takes the opportunity to joke with me.
Entering the mandap the officiant has Gi and I remove our covering to look at each other asking if we are sure it’s the correct person we are getting married to before we are garland. This is a fun ritual, Gi is not supposed to lower his head for me to reach him. With the help of my brothers they lift me so I could garland him. Now it’s Gi’s turn Veer and Jeev lifts me up so Gi can’t reach me. Andi and Gino takes the opportunity to lift Gi so he can reach me placing the garland around me. After this fun bit uncle Ish gives me away to Gi, placing my left hand in Gi’s right hand joining our hands in marriage, I can’t help but think of my dad, a single tear starts to roll down my cheek, Gi notices and takes his left hand and catches the tear. Gi accepts my hand affirming to each other that while pursuing a life of righteousness, moral values, prosperity, economic values, pleasure, love, psychological values we will remain faithful to each other.
The sacred fire is then lit at the center of the wedding mandap, it is considered to be the prime witness of the marriage rituals. We feed ghee (clarified butter) to the fire, offerings and prayers to the Gods for children, long and healthy lives, wealth and prosperity. The ends of our garments are tied in a knot then we perform a ritual where we make seven circles around the sacred fire giving each other our word to be eternal partners and complement each other in our life’s journey after each round Aki, Izzy, Yash, Veer and Jeev taking turns placing puffed rice in my palms that Gi and I offer to the sacred fire together.