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Sandeep's wedding (day 2)

(continued from here - day 1)

As usual, I woke up early in the morning after a comfortable sleep and learned that Aman and Rajesh (our two friends who were Sandeep's roommates in Bangalore) had arrived there. They also came to the room to rest after a long drive from Delhi to Solan. We had a good chit-chat and laugh about Sandeep getting married. It was nice to see college friends after such a long time.

After Aman and Rajesh slept to take some rest, we got ready for the day ahead. The local relatives had already started arriving and it was a pleasure meeting them although we were total strangers for them. The major ceremony of the day was the welcome of the maternal uncles and other relatives from the mother side. In north Indian weddings, the mother side relatives have a major role to play as they sponsor the Sehra (the bridegroom's veil), the clothes and other gifts to the bridegroom.

We got ready and after 2-3 hours Aman and Rajesh woke up after a refreshing sleep. We were seated for breakfast and I noticed that the relatives were preparing the breakfast for all the guests in the house. We relished eating chhole poori and ate to our fill. Sandeep was as usual busy in his puja and other religious rites before the arrival of the maternal uncles.

Meanwhile, I got a call from my mom that she would reach there anytime. I went to the bus stop to pick her up. After picking her up, we reached the main venue of the day's function, at hotel paragon palace. The relatives who were at the house started moving towards the venue and Sandeep's brother Rajan was given the duty to ferry them to the venue.

I noticed that Sandeep's family was quite punctual and because of their strong belief in religious rituals, they accomplished and tried to accomplish every ceremony on the appropriate muhurat (auspicious time) prescribed by Purohit ji. I liked this a lot as I personally am quite punctual which creates a bit of trouble for others who deal with me.

After everyone arrived in the reserved hall, the ceremony started. I was accompanying my mom and we were discussing the rituals and ceremonies being held and the differences in the same in our household marriages. Now the bridegroom was seated for a puja and the family members had to apply the haldi (turmeric) paste on his face and body. This is quite an important ritual in every north Indian wedding. Even the bride has to undergo this ritual.

The relatives came one by one and as instructed by Purohit ji, applied mustard oil in his hair and haldi paste on his face. Meanwhile, I and mom had a satisfying lunch along with the introductions and chit chats with his relatives at the venue. Aman had brought his SLR and was busy clicking photographs of the ceremony. After the ceremony was over, the relatives (except the bridegroom) gathered outside the venue to welcome the mother side relatives.

Meanwhile, Saurabh and his mom arrived and we were given a room in the hotel to get fresh for the next ceremony. After getting ready, we moved outside to see a complete welcome with accompanying band and garlands. A huge gathering was in the making. After welcoming everyone from the maternal relatives, Saurabh started dancing and pulled us and all the relatives in the dance. It was an enjoyable moment as the otherwise shy relatives (including me) were made to dance on the conventional wedding tunes.

After some dance and merry-making, all gathered in the puja hall for the major ceremony of the day. This was called 'sainth' where the maternal uncles would gift Sandeep the sehra and new clothes after applying haldi and mustard oil as earlier. This time, non-family members could also accompany for the ceremony, as did my mom. After the ceremony, the old clothes worn by the bridegroom are given to someone (here, his barbers) as charity.

As the ceremony was going on, I took my mom and Saurabh's mom to a stroll on the mall road. We did some window shopping and enjoyed the walk through the mall. We came back in an hour or so and found that our common friend Manoj, who resides in Nalagarh and is Sandeep’s school friend, had arrived. I met him after 3-4 years. Sandeep’s ceremony was near closing and we were invited for dinner now.

We enjoyed dinner with family members and cousins. It was a good chit chat and we took almost 2 hours to complete the dinner. After that, the bridegroom's sisters would apply mehendi (henna) to his hands. After seeing off my mom and Saurabh's mom to the hotel room, we accompanied Sandeep for the mehendi ceremony. Each sister (real and cousin) would apply mehendi on his hands and ready him for the next day's baarat. The last thing I remember before dozing off to sleep was that Sandeep was having a good joke with his sisters who had made exquisite mehendi patterns on his hands. After a day's activity, I was so tired that I couldn't resist myself from sleeping in the very hall where mehendi ceremony was going on.

Continued here :-
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