I was in no mood to go when my work friends forced me to come for a wedding function of a colleague. In no way was I going to deal with my headache and the dusty winds. I reluctantly agreed. And when I heard where the function was – in a nearby village – I regretted saying yes.
Little did I know that I was going to have a fantastic time.
We turned right from the main road and entered an endless dark, narrow path towards the village named Damka. It was beyond 8:30 pm and the village was dark with lights in very few houses. Groups of people sat in front of some of the quaint little houses, holding meetings or pujaceremonies. The sights of a typical rural village were visible – wells, cows chomping on grass and swings in the compound. Before we could categorize this village as a typical, rural village, we saw cars like SX4 and Swift parked in front of some houses. There was quiet all around and very few people were seen.
We made our way through the labyrinth of narrow roads, stopping once in a while to take directions from the ever ready-to-help passers-by. Everyone seemed to know the ‘marriage house’. I looked fascinated at my surroundings while my friends traced way to the venue.
On reaching our destination, we parked the car outside the lane and walked along the dusty, dark path towards the lighted house. We found out that this was a pre-wedding function called Griha Shaanti (Griha means home; Shaanti means peace) where they invite all the known people of the neighborhood. The village being small, 2500 guests were invited (we were told later).
3 guests eat in the compound area
A lone tractor stands in the compound (below the mango trees)
The long flat house known as Gala, with the decorated pandal in the front
Bollywood remix songs played loudly through half a dozen speakers, inviting guests to come and dance on the little ground converted into a dance floor. We were greeting by Ashok (whose function it was) and were led to a pandal area in front of the house. The pandal was decorated with bright pink and green silky drapes. Being his important guests (HR staff is always considered as important); we were shown around the house and served food there.
The puja place
The living room
The delicious food
The house had small cluttered but homely rooms. The walls were lined with photographs of several Indian Gods. We sat down to eat on mats put on the floor and waited eagerly for the food. Not only were we hungry, I suspected we were going to be served with delicious food. And indeed, family members came to put yummy home-made baigan sabzi, dal, rice, khaman and mohanthal. Definitely not what I had anticipated! I licked my fingers, after finishing the second helping, feeling shy to ask for more.
The groom’s sister in a lovely violet and green ghaghra
The glittery bangles and sariborder glisten in the neon lights
All the women were dressed in colourful and glittery saris and ghaghras. I and my friend looked plain and barren in front of them! We took a round of the house and saw mango trees and a well in the compound. The ‘dance floor’ was now full of kids dancing to the tunes of Shakira. Whoa. This village sure was modern!
On speaking to the groom’s sister, we found out that she has several degrees (MA, B. Ed, M. Phil), had a 3 year old kid, was into a teaching profession and was also pursuing P. Hd. I was so impressed by her achievements.
We took ample snaps and walked towards our car, on the same dusty road, making a mental note to come back here again during day time to enjoy the lovely sights of this cute little village.
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