Joyful Marriage.

My friend Becky posted this on facebook and I was taken back in time to my own marriage ceremony.

Our marriage was an Arya Samaj ceremony with a proper havan presided over by a very dignified priest.

About half way through the ceremony when the couple are expected to repeat the mantras recited by the priest and offer ghee to the fire as part of the ceremony, I got distracted by the arrival of a pair of friends who had come from almost across the country to attend the ceremony. I was exchanging greetings with them and completely ignored the ritual and got a dig in my ribs from my intended’s elbow to remind me to get back to the ceremony. That dig sent the spoon which I was using to offer the oblation, flying into the fire and there was total chaos till it was recovered, washed and cooled before the ceremony could proceed. Unfortunately, no film exists of those few minutes but I can assure you that the laughter you see in this clip is nothing compared to the laughter that the episode generated among the couple and also the visitors to the ceremony.

It was one of the two serious points of remembrance every wedding anniversary thereafter! The other was a more hilarious episode about which I have written before here.

Palang Thod!

In India, chewing beetle leaves with some powdered lime stone and beetle nuts is a common habit. The mixed concoction is simply called paan after the leaf.There are other goodies added to either enhance the effect, like cured, perfumed and treated tobacco, or sweet rose preserve, and or refined mint to give added flavour. Each pan chewer has a favourite pan shop who will make the particular favourite type for the individual customer without ever missing out on any of the ingredients or the quantity of each. The photo below shows a typical paan shop and the paanwallah, preparing paan.

In some parts of North India, a special paan is made for special clients called Palang Thod. This is reputed to be an aphrodisiac and is guaranteed to make the chewer so good in his performance that he will make the bed on which he performs break down into pieces. Palang is bed and Thod is to break.

Now, this post is not to share my experiences with the use of palang thod paan, though, some of readers may have thought so. What prompted this post is the post “Wedding Night Album”, written by Gaelikaa in her blog “gaelikaa’s diary”

I have just come to know that it is Gaelikaa’s birthday from Facebook which sometimes does perform some useful purpose! I thought that I should dedicate a post to her as a birthday gift today by sharing my own wedding night story. Living in Lucknow as she does, she will find this post particularly of interest.

No Mayo, Millie, Gail etc, don’t perk up your ears and eyes. Nothing hot and steamy. Just something that can happen to anyone!

Our wedding night was planned to be in the guest house located within Urmeela’s maternal home. This was slightly detached from the main house and was used on and off by visiting guests. The whole place was, as per tradition decorated and as Gaelikaa has written, after the dinner we were escorted to the place and left to our devices. Mind you, this was after an exhausting day and evening of ceremonies and entertainment and drinking and feasting.

In our honour, my late brother in law, who was incidentally my close friend, had arranged for the family heirloom four poster bed to be shifted to the outhouse as this is considered quite auspicious. The bed was also decorated as is customary and I wearily sat down on it to remove my sandals, when the trusted family heirloom simply collapsed with my weight and there I was on the floor, with garlands and flowers and bed sheets tangled all over me. Urmeela just could not stop laughing and went out to call for help. It took another two hours before the mirth could be brought under control and the two of us could retire to sleep.

Since the bed actually broke down, the jokes were all about what my brother in law had put in the food given to me! For quite some time, I was called the palang thod by the in laws and the friends who had come for the function.

Who said Indians are prudes?

Happy birthday Gaelikaa! I hope you enjoyed the birthday gift.