I was definitely looking forward to the Wedding Banns in church today, but the excitement kicked in when I walked into the main church, and found most of my cousins waiting there, just to sit next to me. (Forgive me, I don’t have time to put up pictures, though I clicked ’em)
All of them showed up in blue, which was their code, and I was so touched to see them, before time. What added more thrill was the Christmas flavor in church – the whole church was decorated with red and silver stars, amazing lighting on stage (thanks to Mark who did a great job with his team), a huge glittering green Christmas tree, and to make it worse (I mean the good worse), they were singing carols! It was only then I realized that I’m getting married during Christmas season – a season of joy, love and hope.
It is the same season when angels appeared to shepherds and announced “Peace on earth, goodwill to men”. So now, they can just add “Peace on earth, goodwill to men – especially to Mark and Joy.” Same season when wise men found a miraculous star in the sky leading them to baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The highest sentiment-full season – really, I used to become very emotional during Christmas time. The fact that a baby was born for mankind, not born to live, but born to die for all our sins, would always melt my heart. And seems like during December, you can love more.
… and also cry more …
When I was a teenager, I would sing that famous song, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, the very next day you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special”. I never had a heart break during Christmas, still I used to think about all who would have had, and I would feel sad for them. I was like – “Lord, I’m happy I gave my heart to you” and sometimes, even if I took it back for selfish reasons, during December, I gave it back, cos I never wanted to sing that song over my life. Plus, with God, you know he won’t break your heart.
And Mark told me that the stars and the decoration in the church are gonna stay that way for our wedding. May be the tree will be removed. That’s super! Two of the best seasons collide – wedding and Christmas, producing a mix of intense emotions.
So Mark and me were sporting green (I told him before) and were asked to stand up in church after they announced the banns. I kept smiling from ear to ear – you could fit a banana sideways into my mouth. Soon after, both our families were asked to stand. I was still smiling, not even looking around. I was actually feeling shy. Shy happened (ha ha )
After the service was over, the hungama began – courtesy the Kanthamma family. We clicked group pictures and created a racket out there – with our cheering. Men only, men only with Joy, aunties only, aunties only with Joy, cousins and their little kids, and then same party with me, and it went on and on.
We were supposed to leave for my home immediately, and everyone left only to stop near the gate. Then they giggled a bit, and were reminded to move. Moved outside the gate and halted again. Uff, we moved in installments.
Biryani from Cafe Bahaar set the tone, and it looked like everyone got a high – you had to speak into a person’s ear if you wanted to be heard – that’s how loud we all were. The elders picked their Bollywood songs, leaving the youngsters with nothing but Mehndi laga ke rakhna, Ooo laala (which we bluntly refused), and Zoobie doobie (hello?), for Sangeet. Thankfully, the gangs split – men in one room, ladies in one, and we all in one, and got down to business.
Business, for just one hour, and then the thotti gang (garam khoon, jawan josh) got back into entertainment mode, with Chinnu (Abhinav) giving the most ridiculous suggestions for dance numbers – some teer maar Telugu beat singing “Joy akkoovu” (akka made rural). “Chinnu, do all your stunts in the Sangeet, but leave the reception clean,” I pleaded.
Every day, almost naturally, my mind keeps playing the video tape of the wedding day – walking down the aisle with my dad, exchange of vows (will my mascara ‘ll get smudged cos of the tears?), celebration at the reception, lamba table dinner with both families (you have to shout to speak to anyone at the other end, and waiters over-acting serving leg pieces just to get a good tip), and then … I stop and think about what will happen when it is time to go. I might go to Mark’s house for a welcoming tradition, I guess, and that’s the time when my parents might have to leave, and go back home. To a home, without me, without my cupboard stuffed with clothes falling off, without my moisturizer misplaced, without my purse thrown somewhere (with car keys in it), and without their Joy.
Every time, I replay this in my mind, I stop here and my heart skips a beat. I ask God to give them and me – strength.
But nothing beats what happened today morning. As we were driving to church, dad said he was reminded of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s song, “Dulhe Ka Sehra Suhaana Lagta Hai”. Since dad is a singer, he can’t mention a song without singing it out. He just sang the first two lines and could not sing further, as his eyes filled up …
The only time I saw pappa crying was during funerals, of very very close friends and his siblings. Otherwise he is the typical Indian man, in control of his emotions, bottling up everything inside, and never shedding a tear.
December 20th also happens to be mamma and pappa’s wedding anniversary.
I hope that the joy of Christmas will overtake their sorrow of letting me go … and I know I hope in a God who was a man of sorrows (can empathize with us), but is the Lord of joy. And in His hands I leave the hearts of my dear parents.
Dulhe Ka Sehra Suhaana Lagta Hai Dulhan Ka To Dil Deewana Lagta Hai Palbhar Mein Kaise Badalte Hain Rishte Ab To Har Apna Begaana Lagta Hai