The walls of the room gossiped and everyone looked up in the direction of the aisle. My eyes beamed as it set on hers. They were the most beautiful pairs..! Before I met her, I never knew what it was like to be able to look at someone and smile for no reason. Her eyes set down as she climbed down the stairs with mom.
The dress she wore, perfectly fitted her body and she looked elegant. My eyes followed everywhere and I couldn’t stop imagining myself with her forever, although this wasn’t the first time though.
Her neck and wrists were decked out with jewelry, her hands covered with the name of my mehendi and the red auspicious lehenga of her late mother, it seemed to me as if she was the most beautiful woman in the planet. Today she was going to be mine, forever and ever mine, my better half..!
In the whole way down the aisle, she didn’t take her eyes off and search out for me. She looked down with a tinge of red flush in her cheeks, she looked like my doll, my Japanese doll; cute and fragile.
My heart played it’s tunes; sometimes speeding up and sometimes sinking down. I couldn’t express these feelings in just mere words. Those minutes for me were like ages and a simple gaze at her was not enough for me. I wanted to fix my eyes forever on her..!
My jaw dropped, when she approached closer as I could view her more properly now. I have always termed her s*xy, hot and many…. But for today, beautiful is the only word that appropriately complimented her. I kept staring her until she nudged me and I recognized that we weren’t alone.
I put my head down at suddenly shyness stroke me. I’m a very shy person in general. Yes! I agree to it. I think I’ve always been half out of my shell and half in. Sometimes I can be extremely wild and sometimes extremely shy. It just depends on the person I interact with. Swara too knows it and she says she finds it kinda cute. I don’t know it’s cute or not but I’m quite proud of this quality of mine. I’m pompous about it and I love it because she adores it.
“Boshen (Sit down) ” we were called forward by the pandit and we were made to seat at the chadnatolla (sanctum sanctorum) for Potto Bastra. Shekhar papa sat down besides us and gave me my clothes, it’s a ritual or most appropriately an anusthan. With that he offered me the hand of his daughter.
The wedding rituals started with it and Swara was lifted by her cousins in a pidi (stool) for Saat Paak. They lift her and move her in circles for seven times. Every single ritual carrying a particular significance. This ritual signifies that we are winded up securely to each other.
After saat paak comes Subho Dristi, where the bride and the groom are made to look at each other in front of all the assembled invitees. Swara shy and smiling removes the paan (betel) leaves and I stare at her again. She folds the leaves and laughs at me and my heart skips a beat.
After the circles are completed, still sitting high on the pidi, we exchange garlands of fragrant flowers thrice. This is the first step in which we accept each other.
The next step, Sampradan; this time Swara takes her place at the chadnatolla. Shekhar papa hands her over to me and the our hands are bound by the sacred thread amidst recital of Vedic chants and are placed on the mangal ghot – a brass pitcher filled with water that is covered with mango leaves attached to one twig and a green coconut placed on it. Yagna follows, where we do a small prayer and chant mantras with pandit.
As per the sayings, we get up and get ready for the Saptapadi. It’s a ritual where we have to take seven rounds in front of the auspicious fire and take vows to be husband and wife forever.
For the First Vow, I promise: “om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman” (You will offer me food and be helpful in every way. I will cherish you and provide welfare and happiness for you and our children). She complies in return: “dhanam dhanyam pade vadet” ( I am responsible for the home and all household, food and finance responsibilities).
For the Second Vow I say: “Om sakhi jaradastayahga” (Together we will protect our house and children). Swara in return promises “kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam” (I will be by your side as your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness. In return, you will love me solely).
During the Third Vow, I say, “om rayas santu joradastayaha” (May we grow wealthy and prosperous and strive for the education of our children and may our children live long). In return she promises, “tava bhakti as vadedvachacha” (I will love you solely for the rest of my life, as you are my husband. Every other man in my life will be secondary. I vow to remain chaste).
During the Fourth Vow, I declare “om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha” (You have brought sacredness into my life, and have completed me. May we be blessed with noble and obedient children). In return for this promise, she says “lalayami cha pade vadet” (I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will strive to please you in every way I can).
For the Fifth Vow, I say, “om prajabhyaha santu jaradastayaha” (You are my best friend, and staunchest well-wisher. You have come into my life, enriching it. God bless you). To this she says, “arte arba sapade vadet” (I promise to love and cherish you for as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness, and your sorrow is my sorrow. I will trust and honor you, and will strive to fulfill all your wishes).
During the Sixth Vow, I ask, “Rutubhyah shat padi bhava” (Now that you have taken six steps with me, you have filled my heart with immense happiness. Will you do the kindness of filling my heart with happiness like this for all times?) to this she replies, “yajna hom shashthe vacho vadet” (I will always be by your side).
For the Last and Seventh Vow, I say “Om sakhi jaradastayahga” (We are now husband and wife, and are one. You are mine and I am yours for eternity). She accepts this proclamation and says “Attramshe sakshino vadet pade” (As God is witness, I am now your wife. We will love, honor and cherish each other forever).
Once again seated at our respective places in chadnatolla I apply vermilion on the her hair-parting and as the pandit announces the marriage being done. I happily look at her and a tear drop sweeps her eyes as she does the same.
“You’re not happy Shona?” I ask wiping off the tear, that’s stroking millions of pricks in my heart, not knowing why is she hurt.
“No one can be more happy than me today. Not even you. Boka!” I smile at myself. Silly girl..!
I seriously don’t have any knowledge on Bengali rituals and marriage. I have never visited one. Neither am I a Bengali. If there is any mistake I have committed then am so sorry. Please forgive. Special Thanks to SaruZainImam IshitaChoudhury1 Divyanshri123
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