Sunday, April 26, 2009

Haldi ,Mehndi

The Haldi and Mehndi ceremony is a big event . The Mehndi program is also called Sangeet program in some families .The intensity of these functions varies in families .

Haldi program is something many look forward to as there is a flow of liquor as well as a variety of food . I remember the description of one such function in Agri or Koli community narrated by a free lance cook , Mr. Sawant , who used to be called by us for our get togethers. I had asked him how to calculate the quantity of mutton to be bought for a party . He said that for our party a rough estimate of 250 gm per person is the norm , but in those communities especially for Haldi he calculated about 1 to 1.5 kg per person as they are big drinkers and eaters. He had cooked 100 - 150 kg mutton in some functions

We had a simple function and had no drinks and a vegetarian menu as the Devkarya was in the morning . The ladies apply turmeric paste in coconut oil with leaves of mango trees .

The bridegroom is made to sit on a wooden ' paat ' decorated around by ' rangoli '. Turmeric is applied to the feet , knees , elbows and face . Once everyone has applied in this manner , a few enthusiastic ladies then literally manhandle him by applying the turmeric paste by hand , [ traditionally it was meant to be applied in such a way that the yellow color remains till the wedding and till another ceremony after the wedding called ' Haldi utravne ' which means removing the Haldi ] . After this 5 ladies give him a token ceremonial bath and then he can get ready after a wash . That is the end of this ceremony after which he is not supposed to leave the house .

We also had a function called ' Chura Bharne ' that means putting on the bangles especially the auspicious green ones . This is normally held at the brides house by their family members , but we were fortunate to host it for Jean and this gave us immense satisfaction and a rehearsal for Supriya's function in future . Jean was very cooperative and enthusiastic throughout even though they all were tired after a long journey from Hyderabad . June was very interested in knowing all the goings on and was very much involved in the proceedings . I do not have any good snaps as I had taken a lot of video clips .

Mehndi or sangeet is some families is a program of singing and dancing when a professional team of mehndi artist is hired for applying the bridal mehndi , which takes quite some time ,

as well as other ladies get beautiful designs of mehndi applied .

Anandita too wanted it -----Men folk also join in the singing and merriment and all enjoy the cocktails and good food.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Devkarya , Haldi , Mehndi

First is the ceremony called Devkarya .The traditional Hindu wedding ceremonies are spread over a few days. The previous day is known as the day of Devkarya meaning a service to God .

A photo of the preparations under way, Mr Avinash Bapat the main Purohit in the picture.

A pooja with a ' Homa-havan ' is held and involves close relatives . In Rahul's wedding ,we had a few adaptations done to the ceremonies to accomodate the timings of the next day muhurt. It was also a great opportunity to perform some ceremonies from the girl's --Jean's --side , it turned out to be a good orientation programme for Supriya's wedding in future .

As the muhurt was in the late afternoon , the priest suggested to hold most of the ceremonies that did not involve Jean's family on the previous day. On the wedding day also 'he planned to finish most of the steps before the muhurt so that we all had sufficient time to get ready for the reception.

Devkarya pooja involves Ganesh poojan , next is Varun poojan , followed by Matruka pojan .

A photo of Rahul fully concentrating on the sanskrit slokas that he had to repeat after the Purohit.After the initial ceremonies we all had to go in to place the items seen in this photo , in the Pooja ghar [ Devara ] . Supriya is also seen collecting the all important ' karaa ', which she is supposed to carry the next day to the wedding venue--she has a very important role after the muhurta.

After this is Gruha poojan and Havan , as seen in this picture ,

and finally is Nandi-shraadha --that is remembering the ancestors and a service in their honour.

After this , the assembled relatives gave gifts to Rahul ,to us and Supriya and the ceremony was over.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wow !!!! Three Weddings ?????

Wow !!! Three weddings ???

That's the reaction of my acquaintances when I describe the wedding ceremonies of Rahul and Jean .It was really an enjoyable experience to undergo three ceremonies in a span of ten days.

Rahul and Jean had their civil wedding on the 20th February at Hyderabad .

Here is the snap of Rahul and Jean at the entrance of the Registrar with documents got prepared from an agent across the road . They had planned to go through this function in these IIMK clothes , to act as a remembrance of their romantic introduction to each other at the IIMK campus.

The formalities went on smoothly in the hot afternoon at about 3.00 pm . A lot of signatures and paper work to go through , the authorities were very pleasant and conducted the proceedings very professionally . After the signing was over , the couple garlanded each other in the presence of her parents June and Edward , her brother John , Ashok-Nima , Rajiv-Neela , Satish- Nisha and Supriya and we two.

We greeted and congratulated each other ,sweets were distributed and then we proceeded to Jean's residence for some rest and an early delicious dinner .

Next day 21st February was the Church wedding at the Presbyterian Church at Abids

and later the reception at The Central Court Hotel at Lakdi-ka-pool .

The third wedding --ceremony was in Thane on the 1st March . We had a few days time in between the ceremonies , so could take a short break and again start on the finer tuning of preparations . Here are a few snaps of the traditional Hindu wedding ,

the ceremonies of which went on for 3 days 28th for " Devkarya ' , ' Haldi ' and ' Mehndi '-and the traditional ' Satyanarayan Pooja ' performed by the newly weds the next day -these functions require a separate post.

At last the Welcome Home ceremony . This is a typical photo -- the same tired and ' now leave us alone look ' that all newly married couples have .

What a relief all parents must be experiencing at this stage of the function . A feeling of great satisfaction that ' everything has gone off smoothly and we are back home after a successful end of a meticulously planned mission ' .

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Lazy Sunday mornings

Ding Dong !!!! the doorbell rings on a lazy Sunday morning .

On such a morning ,we , that is you all and we , are all relaxed , not yet showered , each one doing his own things as he wants , no time restrictions -- reading the paper ,-- working on the laptop in clothes completely in contrast to the daily formal attire and completing the office work --- final touches for Monday , -- rubbing the sore eyes and reliving the dream just completed or trying to wash off the hang over of the previous evenings binge , -- just out of the bathroom with just a towel round you and rushing to get into something decent , --- or spread out on the sofa in shorts and trying to figure out the newspaper headlines -----..

I had thought that this goes on in our house only but we realized that all homes are the same when we decided to visit our neighbors in the society to give invitations for Rahul - Jean 's wedding.

Sunday was the only suitable day for me , but were undecided on the time to visit the neighbors . We thought of finishing this very important work in the morning as we were sure of getting everyone at home and we presumed a majority to be unavailable in the evenings .

This blog is to present our experiences on visits to the neighbors on a Sunday morning

Well that is the exact picture we got on our visits . We did manage very efficiently to put everyone at ease by announcing the purpose of the visit as soon as the door was opened .

We rang the bell at one house, we could hear the yelling inside ' ABC open the door XYZ says you do it or tell PQR .Each one yelling to the other and no one really interested in getting up and answering the doorbell -- we are standing out with amused frustrated looks at each other ---finally the door opens and a bewildered looking housewife just out of the bath with a hurriedly drawn duppatta over the gown gives an apologetic smile and welcomes us in .

At another place ,we rang the bell -- no response --we ring again , we hear a male voice ' aalo aalo , ek 2 minitat alo ' [ coming coming in just 2 minutes ] . No one opens the door for a while , so we ring again , again the same announcements from within .We glance at each other and give a mischievous smile with a look that says 'Are you thinking what I am thinking ' This person is used to take back massage from the maid and since neither the wife nor the kids opened the door some wicked thoughts were filtering through my mind ---Shami had a sober guess ---he must be in the toilet or the bath--- . We waited for sometime and then gave up to give another try in the evening, Which Shami dared to do and came to know that he was indeed " sitting " for a bath , that's what he said----that suggests it must have been a long ceremonial bath -- and so must have taken so long.

One more neighbor opened the door in a night gown with a broom in the hand . Seeing us at the door and hearing our purpose of the visit ,she asked us to come in and rushed in the inner room ---we could distinctly hear her mutter " could have been better if you had come in the evening --such a big mess around and ' he ' is also out of town ---" We realized it was definitely a wrong time for her and she was making no efforts to hide her true feelings, but we knew her very well to be a very good lady . She came out with a duppatta and said that her maid was not to come and so she had to do the work , then she proceeded to complete the unfinished job and returned to give us a real traditional welcome , with coconut etc , done for the couple who had come to invite.

Now another house --we ring the bell --their teenage son opens the door and gives a bright smile. I just manage to see beyond the boy to his mother sitting on the sofa with a newspaper held in front. She glances to her right with an irritated look on her face with a query as to -- who could it be on this lazy morning-- she shuts off the paper and glances back at the door--on seeing us she gets up, gives a bright smile and welcomes us in. She is the only one in the house who is ready , decently attired and fresh from a shower ,being a working lady she must be having an obsessive compulsive desire to get ready even though it is Sunday. Her husband is in his shorts and topless working on a laptop --to whom she must have glanced at --the house is in a typical mess . He stops his work and rushes in to come out a bit totally clothed. They are really very warm people .

Another house , on the 3rd floor in the building facing ours , who can see what's going on in our house were probably anticipating our visit ---they were all ready and as soon as we entered made us sit and the center table started getting packed with dishes of assorted goodies.

Well that's for a Sunday morning