Expert, outstanding and famous cooks along with their big, big andas, cheena chattis and chatukam and karandhis (large enough to cook for a thousand guests) were also transported by air. Well, to make a long story short the wedding thus conducted was a great success, enjoyed by the whole population of the city. The Press, not to be left behind, gave a good coverage of the wedding!
The above story was published in the late 1960s, when US was out of reach to the common man. It was a dream come true for the first few Indians who were lucky enough to go to that country either as students for higher studies or officials sent on deputations and also for the diplomats getting posted there.
Now it is different. Every Indian household has at least one daughter or son settled there. Their children are no different from other children of other countries growing up there. Inter-marriages are common. Some prefer to come to their native place to get married, others get married in the cities where they grew up.
The first two knots were tied by Kartik, while the third knot was tied by Yamini, Kartik’s sister, as is the tradition. Yamini looked lovely dressed in a blue chiffon saree with a matching orange brocade blouse. The bride equally lovely and graceful was wearing a green chiffon sari and a pink brocade blouse, the groom in a tuxedo but no shoes. Next followed the other rites like the Saptha padi, Aseervadham and lastly the Aarathi.
The civil ceremony followed after a break for cocktails. While the guests were enjoying the drinks and meeting other friends, catching up with each other’s news, the bride and her bridesmaids absented themselves. Shortly, all the guests were seated at their respective tables – yes, there were about fifteen to twenty tables seating eight to ten people at each.
I really appreciated the way the guests were seated. Each table was labeled with the names of the guests, all members of each family in the same table. For example, my children and myself were at one table; the grandchildren were at another table; Jaishree’s mother and her brother, sister and niece with her family at another; known friends together likewise. Each one was made to feel at ease. The food, mainly north Indian, was served on individual plates.
Now, the bride in her really beautiful wedding dress walked down the stairs on her father’s arm followed by the two flower girls and bridesmaids, making a striking entry. From the other side Kartik and his Best Man walked in. It was a beautiful sight. The ceremony was conducted by a padre.
It was then time for every one to get on to the dance floor. Not only youngsters but slightly older couples -- Raji and Muthu, Jaishree and Bala -- also joined them. I felt very happy to see them all enjoying themselves.
I was also thrilled to see three and little girls – seven-year-old Maya and Arundati, and two-year-old Samyukta (three f my great granddaughters) dancing and prancingo all over the place, sometimes by themselves or with any willing partners. Maya’s wish was granted when Kartik found time to dance with her.
Unlike the Washington wedding, for this Chicago wedding there was no need to get anything from India,. There are many outlets in Chicago where one gets all that is needed for any of our functions including the Kalasam and mango leaves!