Skip to main content

Wedding (Night) Album

Surekha passed me a photograph album as we were drinking coffee.

"Have you seen my wedding night photographs?" she asked casually.
.
I nearly choked on the biscuit I was eating.  Was she serious?

"Umm.....no!  Don't think so," I mumbled.  Had I misheard?  Where I come from that means only one thing.  And it is not an occasion for taking photographs.  Was she mad?

Then the light dawned.  I smiled.  Of course!  Most Hindu weddings take place during the night.

"You mean the photos of the night you got married.  Right?"

"No!  I mean the first night I spent with my husband after we got married," she replied.

The woman was determined to be difficult.  I braced myself for what was coming next.

"Emm....it sounds like a very private occasion..." I ventured.  "Are you sure you want to share them?"

"Of course!  Why not?  They're very nice.  Here, take a look."

I needn't have worried.  They were so innocent.  A photo of  a newly married Surekha, clad from head to toe in bridal finery, standing beside her husband in what was presumably a bedroom.  One could gather this because in the background of the photograph a large, lavishly decorated bed was visible.

Next photo.  Surekha's husband putting a mangalsutra on her.  The mangalsutra is a necklace of black and gold beads and is worn only by married women.  Some communities, like my husband's for example, use the mangalsutra for fashion purposes only.  For others, it is mandatory.  In some communities the mangalsutra is put on during the actual marriage ceremony.  In Surekha's community, a trading community which originates in west of India, the ritual of putting on the mangalsutra is obviously one of the 'suhaag raat' (wedding night) rituals.   Each community has its own particular customs.

Next photo.  Surekha and husband taking glasses of milk.  I found myself laughing at this one.  The last thing on my mind on that particular occasion in my life was taking a glass of milk.

Next photo.  Surekha's husband taking paan.  Paan is a kind of stimulating substance which people take after meals in north India.  I thought this must be the last photo.

It wasn't.  Next photo.  Surekha and husband sitting on their bed flanked by Surekha's husband's parents.  This one made me sit up.  That type of wedding night encounter would fill me with terror.

The last photo finally came.  Surekha and husband surrounded by the whole family on the most significant night of their lives.  One hopes that the whole gang pushed off after that particular photo was taken and gave the young couple some time to themselves.

I have lived here for sixteen  years and know lots and lots of people.  But that was the first and last time I've ever been shown a wedding night album.

Yash and I had a very quiet wedding, pared down to the very basics.  Wedding night rituals were not a part of our wedding, and we had no need of them.  Just as well.  With my western sensibilities, I would consider that to be a very private matter.  Definitely not  a family occasion.  And certainly not as an opportunity to take photographs.....

Comments

  1. :) Great story. I was too tired to remember anything from my wedding night.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh absolutely brilliant. You've given me my first real laugh out loud of the day...priceless!

    ReplyDelete
  3. A Wedding Night Album? I never heard of one and no way would I want one. Sorry, I would have put everyone out of that room and if the husband complained I'd put him out too! That is my red hair/fiery temper coming through! :(


    Grannymar

    ReplyDelete
  4. How strange! Not my idea of a wedding night!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gaelikaa, this is a new one for me too! Naturally it goes into my repertoire to be used at the appropriate time. If I tell you about my wedding night, you will take off into orbit!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just sounds like the last in a series of wedding photos. all sitting on the bed? How is that worse than a groom taking a garter off his bride's thigh in public and throwing it to all the single men?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wasn't surprised. It seems to me that in India a lot of marriages are more between families than between individual men and women. Presumably the couple was eventually left alone. I'm not sure that tradition is completely bad. It does reinforce the seriousness of marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I’ve enjoyed looking over your blog. I came across it through another blog I follow, and I’m glad I did. I am now a follower of yours as well. Feel free to look over my blog and perhaps become one as well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. great idea,
    collect all wedding night photos together, sweet and joyful!
    Happy Tuesday!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture?
I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really.



The Journey
I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after I arrived in India, I was struck by the number of people who said things to me like ‘in the …

Five Ways Social Media Has Changed Our Lives

Has social media changed the way we live? You bet it has! I’ve been in India for 22 years and have visited home in Ireland maybe half-a-dozen times. The biggest challenge about this, for me, has always been coping with the difficulty of making contact with old friends and family. However, that’s all over now, thanks to Facebook. I check my phone every morning and read that uncle Ned in Dublin is furious over the biased referee in the boxing match or that my cousin Paula in Dublin went to see Take That in concert (or whoever!). I speak to my cousin Veronica in Scotland every few days thanks to WhatsApp. We haven’t spoken this frequently since we wrote to each other as kids. Social media has definitely changed our lives forever. I can think of at least five ways that social in which it has affected life as we know it.


Social media makes the world more accessible to us. This is a fact. The world is at your fingertips. Find out which of your friends and family are on Facebook and once you …

The Climate in my Hometown LBC Post

I am originally from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. We have a maritime climate, neither too hot nor too cold. Cool, wet winters and warm summers.  We get the odd freak weather condition, like several feet of snow, once in a while to make life interesting.  Pretty ideal really.  

Now I reside in Lucknow in north India. In the Indo-Gangetic plain.  Cold dry winters, roasting hot summers and a humid rainy season.  It seems like it's always too hot or too cold. Or too humid. Humidity is something I dread.  It brings itching, rashes and all of that.  Okay, too hot will work for me. So will too cold (although I hate dry cold, that's energy-sapping). But humidity is .......not at all good. And that's a euphemism if ever there was one,. 

I wish to dedicate this post to my beloved and erudite rakhi brother Rummuser, who suggested this topic.

And thanks to freedigitalphotos.net for the above illustration, 'Paper Weather Icon Illustration' by SweetCrisis.

The Loose Blogging C…