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Celebrating

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Mumbai Memoir 160- Celebrating with the Patils!

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Guest witnessing the garland ceremony of the couple

Just like Spring arrives after a bitter winter season, similarly life seems to be blooming after the fading of the third COVID wave in Mumbai. People are moving around and have started organizing and also attending social functions with delight and zeal. The last pre-pandemic wedding function that I had attended was in the January of 2020. Then came the trend of online wedding attendance where along with the invitation a ‘live’ streaming link of the wedding too would be sent by the host for guests to attend the wedding virtually.

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Vibing with kiddos at the wedding- Mitraan, Ishanvi and Spruha.

It was a different experience for me to virtually attend such weddings ‘live’. Here’s a link to view a recorded session of one such ‘live’ virtual wedding event, which I had the priviledge to attend from the comfort of my home! Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L3YKXUXTok The groom featured in this stream is Rakesh Shetty, who is the son of our family friend. It was fun witnessing his South Indian culture based marriage which was streamed live from Mangalore, India. Though the ‘in person’ mingling was been missed, but in ‘grey’ times of the pandemic, the virtual attendance too felt like reaching an oasis after a long walk through the desert.

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Amidst nieces and nephews and the little Spruha (technically I am her Attu Aaji (cousin grandma!))

But the fun of attending a wedding of a dear one, in real time and space is an amazing experience altogether. It is a multi-media experience to our senses where one’s eyes watch the colours around, the ears hear the music, the nose smells the fragrances of the flowers and sacred smoke of the holy fire (in a Hindu marriage that witnesses the wedding) the tongue tastes the amazing food offered and the skin experiences warm hugs of the near and dear ones, who one meets at the wedding!

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Me with more nieces and nephews

Recently I attended one such ‘in person’ (offline) wedding, hosted by the Dinesh Patil family, of Chinmay and Ruchita. The groom Chinmay is my first cousin’s Sadhana’s son. Just like me, there were many wedding attendees who were attending such a social event after almost 2 years!! I could sense the feeling of gratitude, warmth and social longing in the eyes of the guests present, who felt blessed to be healthy enough to continue with life, after going through the ups and downs of the lockdown phase. In times of uncertainty, one searchs for stability and social events like an Indian Maharashtrian traditional wedding is full of culture and rituals which have been followed since the ancient Indian times. It was nice to feel the warmth of the rituals witnessed and the wedding ‘sanskars’ (mental imprints) that were graciously conferred on the adorable couple.

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Posing with happy faces of cousins.

Happy events are all about creating happy memories, which stay with us permanently. These happy memories then act as ‘power bank’ to charge us positive in the lows of our life. There were enough positive memories created at Chinmay’s wedding, which spanned across 3 days. The engagement followed by a musical dance show, choreographed by Rucha (my talented niece), was an amazing experience. Even non-dancers too ‘shook a leg’ at the event, celebrating the fun moments with the couple. The Haldi (turmeric application ceremony) and the actual wedding day offered a kalidoscope of cherishing experiences. Over the years, I have realized, that for good emotional and social health, Culture matters! And an event like a tradition wedding of a loved one, is an ideal venue to experiece a spring of culture. The colourful clothes, the Indian food, the rituals, the music, the dance, the language of the verses (Mangalashtaka) chanted when the garlands are exchanged by the couple positively creates a ‘colourful’ distraction from the ‘grey’ areas of life. (Here’s the link for hearing a modern version of the Mangalashtaka verses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7aEr1eR04I) Both the host and the guests undergo a lot of planning to show up at the wedding.

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Tradition reflecting on attire: Rucha (right) wearing the traditional Maharashtrian Nav-vari saree & myself carrying the Paithani saree theme over my dress

It was fun shopping for Chinmay’s wedding. I had put a lot of thought in what kind of clothes I wished to wear on the final day of the wedding. I wanted the Marathi culture to reflect on my attire. A royal green coloured traditional Paithani saree, which was cut into a salwar suit was my choice of dress at the wedding. Though my mom could not join in person, she witnessed the wedding ‘live’ from my phone’s lenses. After all, life is all about accumulation of memories.

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The bride and groom arriving in pomp.

I believe, capturing such celebrating moments in the mind’s eye radiates positive energy for all who collectively celebrates. May the married couple, Chinmay and Ruchita, receive the positive energy of the guests they hosted to accomplish a blissful and happy married life. Amen!

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The Haldi event (turmeric application ceremony) and the legs that rocked the wedding!

Photo Courtesy: Shraddha. C. Sankulkar & cousins.