While tis the season to be merry, winter is also marriage or “shadi” season in India! The temperatures cool and ‘phorun’ (foreign) relatives descend. Peacock bright wedding finery is donned, jewellery polished and coloured envelops stuffed with cash plus one rupee for good luck.
In a true sign of the times, the family wedding we attended on the weekend was 2nd time around for two siblings. All four experienced wedding, divorce and were taking a leap of faith to wed again. The brother and sister decided to tie the knot with their respective loves on the same day, keeping the ceremonies short, sweet and restricted to family.
Also in keeping with ‘modern’ India, these ‘love marriages’ cut across caste and religion. Yet with a clear ‘nod’ to the traditions of the Gujarati Hindu siblings, there was a formal ceremony with the pandit doing double duty with two ‘feras‘ (fire ceremonies) in one day.
After walking around the fire and exchanging garlands, time to feed one’s beloved prasad. And then feed and feed all the guests. Feasting at marriages is a universal phenomenon!
The day before I met a young man just starting to date an unconventional young friend of mine. He shared how his sister living in Canada was abused by her husband and eventually went “enough is enough” and divorced. He said how his sister felt she could not return to India as there would be too much gossip and had no intentions to marry again – in fact many in their community were not even aware of her divorce.
To say I was incredulous and a bit gobsmacked is putting it mildly. The world I’m lucky enough to inhabit not only supported closing one chapter (a 15 year marriage) but also fully supports opening a new chapter (partnership with a wonderful man – living together here in Mumbai).
I’m proud these two couples today were not held back by such hesitations – while marriage isn’t for everyone – why not have a ‘2nd chance’ at being happy?! And if it is important to you and your family to solemnize it with marriage – then go for it.
So Marry Christmas and Happy Shadis to one and all this season!