Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Like you have garage sales, I had a garage marriage. That was 21 years ago today. Like today, it was raining that evening.
Rajashi and I had decided to get married. My father wanted me get my grandmother’s approval and blessings, and since she was away it had to wait for her return to Calcutta. After she returned, I asked her to decide on the date. She looked up the Hindu almanac and settled on 2nd August.
We decided to have a simple civil ceremony, without any religious rituals. The marriage registrar had been informed. We didn't want any gala affair. We did'nt want any wasteful expenditure. There was no invitation card. We went and invited relatives and friends. We asked them not to bring any gifts, only their good wishes.
The ceremony and gathering was to take place in the garage space of the apartment building Rajashi lived in.
There were about 10 people from my immediate and near family, and I had invited a couple of college friends. A group of my activist friends/colleagues came down after a meeting of theirs nearby. Rajashi’s being a large and sociable family, there were over 200 people, relatives and close family friends.
I arrived there in the evening with my parents and sisters. A table and chairs had been arranged where the marriage register signing would take place. And chairs had been laid for guests to sit. We were the first to arrive. I sat down in the guest seating area. After some time, Rajashi’s teenage cousins – who had been assigned the task of “receiving the groom” in the traditional manner – appeared, looking flustered and embarassed. Take it easy, I told them.
Everything went off smoothly and happily. The three mandatory witness signatories were three special old ladies: Rajashi’s grandmother (about whom I wrote recently); my grandmother; and Rajashi’s father’s friend’s mother, who had been like a mother to him during his college years in Calcutta.
My friend George was the photographer. He caught me giving Rajashi a sermon after she came down, for being decked in ornaments, her head hung dolefully. And also grimacing in displeasure when sindur was applied to her forehead, on her mother’s insistence.
Guests were served snacks and a cold drink. I think it cost Rupees 5 or 7 per head.
It was a different kind of marriage. We’ve never attended a marriage like ours. And some people have also told us our wedding was unique, and complimented us.
I left my office early this evening, and went to pick up Rajashi from her office. I thought we might catch an evening show at a cinema. But she had some work to complete, so that was not possible. So I sat in her office and wrote this account.