Chaitra and Sunish

Chaitra and Sunish

We were in the 12th standard. In the entire class of 18, Chaitra was the only girl. We took a trip to Mount Abu – it was a long journey by train. I became friends with her only to hit on her friend who was accompanying her. Now that we look back at it, it feels really funny how we both actually started dating. On Valentines’ Day, we just went out on a casual date, without any commitment. We had a good time, I realized how much we both had in common.

Life had different plans for both of us after that. We were separated by distance, as she moved back to Bangalore from Delhi, to work. I somehow felt that we had left something incomplete, even though neither of us ever had a conversation about our feelings. I then started keeping in touch with her through handwritten love letters. After a while, I finally knew she was the one, and gathered up the courage to propose to her. It was through an STD call. My happiness knew no bounds when she said yes! It took a lot of convincing from both ends, for our families to accept this union. But we finally made it. We have been married for 6 years, and it still feels like our story has just begun.

Featuring Priyanka Desai

Today we feature Priyanka Desai, a candid Wedding Photographer based out of Mumbai, who captures all the special moments that your eyes could have probably missed on your wedding day.

‘Often through the wedding preps, couples tend to think that  having a photographer is just a sign of wedding memories being captured; but I guarantee you –  it is not!’ – Priyanka Desai

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Megha and Gautam

Sometimes, you’ve got to stop trying too hard. Because sometimes, the answer lies right behind the door, but we’re too busy searching the world.

This is supposed to be the story of how I met my husband. Well, I don’t know when I met him for the first time, must have been a few days after I was born. He also attended my parents wedding. No, I’m not kidding! Gautam’s family and my family have known each other for generations. We kind of grew up together. But we didn’t really have a childhood romance. We had our separate lives, which interconnected through our families. After growing up, we met off and on at family dinners and weddings. I always liked him, but never thought anything more. At about 23, I had no clue about who I wanted to marry. But my father knew. They say fathers understand and know their daughters the best. True. The families spoke, and Gautam and I agreed to go out on a date. Not very long after, we were hooked!

It’s been 2 years since our beautiful wedding. I always tell him that I wish I could have changed certain aspects of our wedding. But what matters is, there is absolutely nothing that I wish to change about our marriage.

Not much drama in our story. The answers to both our lives were right behind our doors. We just took the time to stop, breathe, and look in the right place, at the right time. Thank God for that.

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Punjabi Wedding

Punjabi Wedding Ceremony

 

They say you know someone is a Punjabi when their party catering for 100 people can actually feed 500 people, they are willing to do the bhangra everywhere they go (except the Gurdwara) and they call people they don’t know ‘uncle’ and ‘aunty’. And when you imagine a whole load of such people together, you can expect nothing less than fun, excitement and noise. In short, a big fat Punjabi wedding.

Elaborate in nature, one with many rituals, music and dance, Punjabi weddings are extremely reflective of the culture. We take you through the journey of these beautiful rituals that will help you manage your preparations for a Punjabi wedding.

Takha – The couple make a promise to wed each other and this promise is sealed with a prayer and exchange of gifts. From this point no other matrimonial offers shall be received for the girl or the boy.

Shagun – Translated as engagement, in this ceremony the girl’s family confirms this relationship between the couple. This is celebrated with the boy’s family receiving gifts and jewellery.

Rokka ‐- An official engagement is held to seek the blessings of family and friends. At this ceremony, the to‐be‐bride receives a very significant part of her wedding day jewellery, the nose ring, popularly known as the ‘nath’ by her mother’s brother.

Sagai ‐- This is the formal engagement ceremony which takes place at the groom’s house. An important part of this ceremony is the ‘tikka’ ritual wherein ‘tikka’ is smeared on the boy’s forehead by the girl’s. At the ceremony, the boy’s mother drapes the girl with an ornate piece of fabric called the ‘chunni’ which is usually referred to as a stole in the Western world and a dot of ‘henna’, a dye used to temporarily tattoo designs on the hands of a bride, is applied to her palms. This is applied to wish the bride good luck. The couple exchange their rings and receive congratulatory messages.

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Sangeet – Translated as music, this ceremony is a an equivalent to the Western bridal shower. The female family and friends of the to‐be‐bride gather for an evening of traditional music and dancing while they play the Indian instrument, ‘dholki’. Over the years, this has been modernized with a DJ belting out commercial music.

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Mehendi – Prior to her wedding, beautiful designs are tattooed on the hands and feet of the bride to be in order to beautify her for the big day. As per customs, the ‘mehendi’ is sent by the boy’s mother.
The ‘mehendi’ marks the end of the pre‐wedding rituals and the wedding ceremonies begin. A set of rituals are followed in the bride and groom’s homes before they get together for the wedding ceremony.

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Haldi – Wedding preparations begin with the bride being beautified with the application of a paste of turmeric and mustard oil. Post this ritual, the bride and groom are not allowed to meet each other until the wedding day.

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Chuda – On the actual wedding day, all family members touch a set of red and cream‐ivory bangles which will be presented by the uncle to the bride. This will be worn by the bride as part of her wedding attire but she does not see these bangles until she is dressed up for her wedding. Close family and friends tie gold plated dangling ornaments called ‘kaliras’ to a bangle on each wrist.

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Ghodi charna – Once the groom is dressed and has been protected from evil, he is set for the final ceremony which is ‘getting on the horse’. The groom makes his way to the wedding venue on a horse that has been fed and adorned by his sisters and cousins.

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After a series of rituals in both homes, the wedding ceremony takes place at either the temple, gurdwara or a generic wedding venue.

Varmala – After these introductions, the bride and groom meet for the exchange of the garland of flowers. This ceremony signifies the acceptance and love they have towards each other while stating that from hereon they will live with each other. While both the families tease the couple and an atmosphere of fun and frolic is built, an auspicious time is chosen for the wedding ceremony.

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Kanyadaan – As per Indian traditions, a father gives away his daughter at the time of marriage. In order to get his daughter married he first places a ring on the groom’s finger after which the actual wedding ceremony can begin.

Phere ‐- The main part of a Hindu wedding is the circum-ambulations which take place in front of a sacred fire. The fire in a Hindu wedding is generally encircled even times after which the bride and groom are pronounced husband and wife. The groom applies red vermilion powder to the centre of the bride’s head and then wears her a black and gold beaded necklace called the ‘mangalsutra’, both which are the identity of a married Hindu woman.

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Joota Chupai – While the ceremonies are being performed, the bride’s sisters and friends indulge in a tradition of stealing the groom’s shoes. In order to give him back his shoes so he can go home with his bride, the groom generally has to pay a price. This is usually in the form of gold rings for the bride’s sisters and silver rings for the cousins.

Vidaai – Once married, the bride departs her parents home throwing puffed rice over her head. Accompanied by her brothers, she makes her way to her new home.At her husband’s house, she is welcomed by her mother in law who circles a glass of water thrice around the head of her daughter in law before welcoming her in.

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Pani bharna – The girl then steps in to her new home by using her right foot to knock a vessel filled with mustard oil which has been placed at the entrance. This is followed by a prayer offered by the couple in their room and blessings taken from the elders.
This brings them to the end of the wedding rituals and to the start of a new life filled with love, happiness and health for both.

Phere dalna – The following day, the bride’s brother picks the newly wed couple and takes them to the bride’s house so the couple can spend a day with her parents.

Ritu and Akshay

Ritu and Akshay

I saw him in college for the first time in first year B-com and I went weak in my knees. I thought he was cute and something about him made me smile. We knew each other, but at that point in time I was not interested in any kind of a relationship. I don’t think he was either. We spent a good 3 years in college together and we got to know each other well. Since we spent a lot of time together, at some point in time in our last year of college, our friends thought we were dating. But I was still waiting for him to ask me out.

I am from Bombay and he is from Dubai, which means college was ending and our friendship was soon going to turn into merely occasional phone calls. That alone made me feel a bit weak and I realised that I liked him more than a friend. However I was not keen to jump into a long distance relationship and I was not sure if he was up for it either. So I waited. On my last birthday which we spent together, I was hoping he would ask me out. I guess life had other plans – instead of asking me out, he asked me if I liked him! We laugh about it now, but back then I was a little taken aback; because in my mind, I thought he would declare his feelings for me instead. Anyhow I made it more difficult for him – I just told him that he was a good friend. He left for Dubai, while I was here in Bombay. It’s only when he spent a few months without me, I guess it dawned upon him, that he liked me more than a friend. He flew back to Bombay and made sure this time around he left as my “boyfriend”. And that’s when our story began. We dated for 3 years before we decided to get married. We are happily married for 6 and a half years with a 2 year old daughter.

Wedding Beverages

Indian weddings pay a lot of attention to detail – be it the ceremonies, the decor or above all – the food. Welcoming guests is an important tradition, and what other way than serving hot or cold beverages as refreshments to everybody?

These beverages come from different parts of the country, and each of them are seasonal and unique. Not only are they favored by Indians, but are also gaining popularity globally; and are being used in many gourmet restaurants and weddings.

Today, these locally available beverages in India are being experimented with and fused with other ingredients to form unconventional Signature Mocktails in weddings.

 Chai or globally known as Tea is quintessential for any wedding as a part of their High Tea menu. Its can served black or white; hot or cold and it is a perfect accompaniment with our very own Parle-G, Khari biscuits or crackers.

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Mango being the king of fruits, is a much awaited flavor since its seasonal. Mango infused Mocktails like smoothies, slushes or punch are refreshing to beat the heat. Other seasonal fruits which are great options are  Sitafal (Custard Apple), Strawberries and Lychees.

Indulge in your favorite summer treat by having a chuski of different flavors which tingle your taste buds-  like kala khatta, rose, khus khus etc. You could have a Gola stall as a stall in your wedding spread.

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Some of the Indian beverages are great as welcome drinks. Nimbu paani is an all time favorite among Indians. It quenches your thirst and is best served to all the dancing baaratis.  Other substitutes include Coconut water, Jaljeera, Watermelon Juice.

On the other hand, Badam milk, Kesar milk, Masala milk are good alternatives to warm you up in the winter chills.

True Love Has No Name

True Love Has No Name

I would not like to disclose our identities, and we are no longer together today, but I would still like to share our story. We are both big fans of Bollywood so I choose to write this story in a complete filmy way, in a flashback. We practically spent our teenage with each other and for each other. On 5th August, 2009 I met him in the corridor of my college. He was a dancer who represented our college for cultural festivals. His high self-ego and flirting ways turned me off the minute I met him – never had I in my wildest dreams thought I would fall for someone who was a mirror image of my nature and personality. When we performed together, we became close. The 5 second conversations turned to 2 hour long chats and before I knew it, I had fallen in love with him. He meant the world to me. He liked me as well but never expressed anything in return because he somewhere knew it would not work.

Our story took a complete Bollywood twist from this point (mind you, we both are completely filmy). After a few months of making me wait he finally expressed his love for me. Our main concern was his family, who opposed our pair, as we both belonged to different religions. We decided to stay away for his family’s sake, but in vain.  He surprised me on 15th Sept, 2011 by taking me to a beautiful terrace top, and asking me to be with him for a lifetime. It was dramatic when his question was followed by rain. However, a few years down the line we decided to go separate ways because our future seemed bleak.

We do not have a typical happy ending, we could not end our relationship on good terms. But even as I say this, I wonder – was that really the end? Logically our story ends here, but even now, whenever I visit a Dargah or a temple, I wish and pray that tomorrow when I get married and have kids, it is him who I can call my husband and my children can call their father.

This man never failed to cheer me up and always reminded me that my smile is the world’s best smile.