My sister got married on Friday at our ancestral town Mamallapuram, about 45 km from here on ECR and I attended both the events – the reception at night and marriage in morning – by staying a night from a guesthouse there. Though the wedding turned out eventful and content packed there was something couldn’t make feel relaxed or comfort at certain level i.e. the wedding hall was in the first floor with no lift! It was a marriage happened within kinship and my sister (cousin) is married to her maternal uncle’s son and it was their desire to go together in life and we all approved their decision after small hesitations, since we were looking for a bridegroom outside the relative circle this was unexpected and we couldn’t say no as it was her life and she has all rights to decide her companion and thus marriage was fixed and following an engagement in February.
My sister was sent off early in the afternoon (of Thursday) to Mamallapuram to get ready for the evening reception and bride inviting and we planned to leave by 4 pm in evening so that we could relax before the event begin by 6 pm. But we left home only by 6! Though we reached there in an hour things were to be hurried up. We had booked two vans for the relatives, friends and neighbors to cover the distance also arrived late to delay the pace and my sister went directly to the nearest temple from the beauty parlor - as per the custom, the bride will be invited to the wedding hall following a procession from temple, either by car or walk about, which signifies the beginning of wedding process in Indian culture. Already the crowd perched the hall when we arrived and there wasn’t time for anyone to spare me to transfer me to the marriage hall in first floor and it was packed further to make transfer difficult, so I settled in the ground floor courtyard where couple of rows seated and a shamiana tent was spread out with popcorn and cotton candy stalls installed where people thronged despite age differences.
I happened to meet and see many people during the occasion, where many of them were long seen and as I seated in a corner some couldn’t notice me as I did but glad there was a LED screen placed in the courtyard where I watched the live happening on the reception. The dining hall was in ground floor so it wasn’t an issue to have dinner but the tables aren’t comfortable for me and I was to use my regular wheelchair tray and plate instead eating from banana leaf, which takes a special place in our festivals. Being late to the venue and beginning of the event it extended beyond 10 pm, when we had our dinner and moved to the room, which is a walkable distance from the wedding hall that I covered in wheelchair. I couldn’t participate in the wedding reception but I was content attending the special occasion of my sister and I was transfer to the wedding hall in the morning to watch the ceremony with help of my brothers and his friends. The wedding was attended by close relatives alone so it wasn’t much difficult to transfer me by shifting to a chair and then to wheelchair, I got to watch things happening on the stage from the first row.
But what really turned out difficult was the timing. The marriage ceremony that held between 6 to 7.30am is quite an inconvenient for us whose wakeup time is not less than 8 am and for the 6 am ceremony I waked up at 5 but still went half a way through the marriage rite. The brides sat on the decorated stage in traditional wears of Dhoti and Saree and I felt they looked beautiful and fresh in the morning than in the elaborated makeup for the night reception. The marriage is conducted by the bridegroom family, so we haven’t to decide anything and the wedding hall was also their choice as it located very close to their house. I feel there was something missing which I couldn’t say what but I could transparently see the happiness on my sister’s face despite the exhaustion went through wedding process. We couldn’t spend much time with the brides rather hurriedly taking photos, the couple were sent off to Tirupati temple (about 200 km from Mamallapuram) as soon the breakfast is over and we moved out of the marriage hall and check out the room and fired back to home. Both the dinner and breakfast was good enough and this was quite a wedding I attended after a cousin’s marriage in 2012. I hope my sister led a happy married life and being a known family I believe she feels the comfort of home.
Apart the celebration of marriage, the day out there was terrific and the weather was burning to ashes once out of the wedding hall! The air con in car couldn’t control the heat wave even at high speed and I couldn’t remember how we reached home so was the sultry weather blurred the senses. We checked out our guesthouse room (Sri Murugan) by 11 am and I felt it was too pricey for a night with two to three cots in a room with no blankets and air con with no control to reduce cold. Moreover they denied allowing our pet dog, which they agreed when our relative inquired and so we booked the room. I had no chance to capture any photos and what you see here were few shot by mom.