Thursday, 5 March 2009

Slumdog Wedding

On Tuesday evening I went to
the wedding reception
or At Home of Shamim 's son.(Above Shamim with her married daughter)
Shamim is a poor Muslim widow who works very hard
doing household jobs like cooking, cleaning and washing in various houses.She works for my Aunt.
She married off 4 daughters and a son and this was her
youngest son 's wedding.
It took place in a far off district on Sunday.
The wedding party travelled there by bus and returned in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Traditionally, after an out of town wedding the groom 's parents host a reception or At Home in which they invite all their local friends and relatives.

The new bride shy and coy all decked up in her wedding finery.
The clothes and jewellery is bought from shops which cater to lower income groups.The poor do their best to adorn themselves.
It is a great social and physiological need too.
This young lady is a graduate we were told.
Her husband is High School pass and works
as a shop assistant in a clothes store.
But Shamina (bride 's name) will be a housewife, taking care of her MIL and Hubby.
This is an area for the men to eat and socialize.
Among the conservative Hindu and Muslim communities there is segregation between men and women.
The hut with the lights belongs to Shamim.
This is not a very bad slum like you saw in Slumdog Millionaire.
The living conditions are impoverished but better.
It lies right behind a spanking modern shopping mall.

Women sitting and chatting.
There is another new bride.
The jewellry the girls are wearing is all purchased
from low priced markets and shops.
Lots of clinking glass bangles are a must.
In another corner of the room babies are fast asleep.
The noise and activity does not bother them as they slumber on a quilt on the mud floor.

It a great matter of pride and social status to have
your reception video graphed like the rich do.
Here is a man doing it.
And at these wedding do 's and parties you have the
videographer coming at you with his camera mounted
on his shoulder like a terrifying rocket launcher
and shining his powerful Hummer -like lights in you eyes
making you semi-blind.
Shamina brought a nice Samsung coloured TV and mini
fridge and other things in her dowry.

This is the common man 's bed or string cot called a charpoy (four legs)
The frame is made with mango wood or bamboo
and woven with string or rope made with hemp or jute.
Behind it is a folding camp bed.

This goat is being raised for a festive occasion or wedding.
Shamim had 2 goats slaughtered for the reception.
They yielded 40 pounds of mutton.
Unfortunately after eating the spicy food
I took ill with fever, vertigo and my arthritis also kicked in.
I am some better today,
but slow.
Shortly I will be visiting your blogs my friends.

27 Fertilize my soul:

Anonymous said...

I love the sleeping babies :-).
I find something deeply moving about the rest of the post that I cannot quite formulate into a comment successfully.....

Quite a powerful portrait. ~Mary

Kathryn said...

Thank you for sharing.

As a child i was fascinated by India.

Hope you continue to feel better.

Donetta said...

The bride looks devastated.
Very emotional post for me as well...
something really unspeakable.???????

I do hope you feel much better real soon.

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
An exiting, colorful, wonderful wedding.
The bride is a beauty from a fairytale.
Hope you get better real soon.
Have you tried Ayurveda medicine?
Or has that with religion to do?
In the Norwegian shops they sell Ayurveda teas. Different types for different conditions.
Would you consider it "wrong" to use these?
One has to ask, cause there isn't much literature about it.
Live well.
From Felisol

Sita said...
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Sita said...
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Sita said...

My heart goes out to that bride..obviously too young..obviously distraught...although she she looks so beautiful in the colorful finery...what is her name, Amrita..I want to pray for her...

Becky said...

Thank you so much for sharing and feel better friend....

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Amrita :)

I must congratulate you for covering the wedding better than the videographer.

Excellent photos and narration.

The bride looks gorgeous in her sparkling red saree and ornaments.

The babies are sweet and it is amazing that they can sleep in all that commotion.

She is a graduate and the groom is only high school pass. He will be working and she will be taking care of the house. This only happens in India.

I remember when I was working in Madhya Pradesh, I used to travel late in the night, eat in dhabas and sleep in charpoys on the road looking at the twinkling stars high in the sky. Great experience!

It is baffling to note the poor people spend lot money for wedding expenses and for dowry. Sometimes they get into big debts and take many years to repay.

It is very unfortunate that you got sick after eating the food. I hope you have recovered and feel fit and fine.

Best wishes :)

Michelle said...

Wow! Fascinating post! I love seeing photos of the culture in India! I pray that you will feel better soon!

David said...

i hope you are completely recovered - God bless you, friend

Beautiful pictures and story. I am enriched by being able to visit here

Kathryn said...

Amrita, thanks for sharing the details of Shamina's wedding. So interesting, and I really appreciated the photos, as well.

I haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire yet. Do you recommend it?

Pray you're feeling better today.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

A very picturesque post showing a traditional wedding in India. Weddings are festive occasions where relatives of both bride and groom congregate and exchange pleasantries and greetings. Thanks for the wonderful post. God bless you always.

~Robin said...

lovely photos0I always like it when you share photos from your life Amrita. Hugs~

~Robin said...

lovely photos0I always like it when you share photos from your life Amrita. Hugs~

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I find it so interesting. The bride looks sad, which is to bad since it should be a happy day for most brides.
I am really sorry to hear you got sick. I hope you are feeling better soon.

Jeanette said...

Thanks for this post. I was interested to read the other comments that went before mine and to see that others had the same thoughts I did! What a beautiful bride, and yet for her this does not seem to be the happy day it should be.

Amrita, I just wanted to comment that I have never seen anyone who can invite me into her world like you are able to do. God has given you a wonderful gift. Somehow, when I read your posts and see your pictures, I feel as if I have been there with you.

madison said...

I just found your blog by way of someone, don't remember who right now.
My hubby is also from India, the northern part.
Great pics, gives a real feel for the reception after the wedding.

Taiwan Prattler said...

Thanks for the pics and helpful commentary!

monsoon-dreams said...

get well soon ,dear.
the bride doesnt look happy at all!may be bcoz of the videographer.i get self conscious and embarrassed when the videographers are around.they dont even let us have food properly.ah!

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Amrita your blog looks so pretty! I like the colors.

I hope you are feeling stronger by the weekend.

I am amazed by how others in the world live and carry on despite such poverty, and try to make the best of it.

I am also amazed by your excellent English! It is easy to tell you are highly educated. I think you ought to consider writing a book about your life and the life you see all around you!

John Cowart said...

Dear Amrita,
Your postings always broaden my horizons. Thanks for exposing me to a world I did not know existed. Hope you recover from the wedding excitement soon.

Ash said...

Interesting post!

Hope you feel better soon...

Gail W. said...

Amrita, i was so happy to get your comment this morning!!! Family and work have kept me from "seeing" my blog friends the past few weeks. I scheduled this morning for a leisurely visit to all of you that I have missed so much. This post absolutely thrills me! I am so thankful you record in picture and word what life is like in India - it reminds me to savor that we are ALL God's children. May God reign down blessings on you and your family this day!

Julia Dutta said...

Absolutely wonderful post. It should have got the Oscars too:)

Thanks for visiting my blog. I am fine. Just kindof relaxing in my home town:)) I wanted to ask you if you know where your church is here in Kolkata or do you know of some Church I could visit?

Amrita said...

My heart bleeds for my country which is a land of sharp contrasts and paradoxes.We see wealth and poverty duelling with one another and somehow get caught in the middle.

Its interesting to note how many of you thought Shamina the bride looks so unhappy and devastated.
This was an arranged marriage. In all probability Shamina had only had a glimpse of her would-be husband ,or maybe exchanged a few words with her future MIL. She belongs to a rural area and the city must be baffling for her and that too among strangers.
The brides all look sad , depressed and scared on their wedding day (most of them).Not the modern westernized ones I should imagine.

My younger sister cried so much before the wedding day that she had to get eye treatment.My sis was my dad 's favorite and he cried too.

Mary , I know how you must feel This is life in another planet so to speak. The small hut, gaily dressed women chatting in one cornot, babies sleeping in another oblivious to the wedding chacophany ( I will never win the spelling bee) , the bride shy and nervous, subject to close scrutiny by ladies who were allowed to see her and on top of it all the video man hovering over everybody like a black bumble bee.

Oh I wish I could take all of you with me.It would be customary to give a gift to the bride - nothing ostentatious for you.(I gave her a nice dress material and some money) But I wouldn 't let any of you eat the spicy food. LOL

Donetta I know you would really be moved if you witnessed all this in person.

Dear Felisol,I really go in for Ayurveda, most of it is safe to use. We only use reputed companies and sources, as there are some dubious producers too. As long as its purely herbal and no ritual thingy attatched to it, i accept it.
In fact ayurveda has helped control my arthritis.

I don 't subscribe to yoga and reiki and TM etc.One has to be pay heed to the philosophy behind such practices.

Sita dear, her name is Shamina. You too are a daughter-in-law of India in a way.

Joseph ji thank you for your insightful comment. It really added so much to what i was rrying to showcase. I love the roadside dhabhas too - but i dare not stretch out on the charpoys like the truck drivers. LOL.

Thank you Becky, David and Michelle
I am much better. I take so much time reading and thinking about each comment and post and visits that i lag in my response.All this is topped by my slow connection and shortage of electricity and time. Whew!

Hi Mel, would love to see a wedding in the Phillipines too.

Hi Robin, glad you liked the photos, praying for you.
I want to take a lot more pictures in public places, but i feel insecure, I don 't want my precious camera stolen or snatched away.

Hi Jeanette,. I am glad you feel this way. Trent is a great photographer. He would take excellent shots here.

Madison, my dear I welcome you to my blog.You are a daughter-in-law of India, if you may permit me to call you that.May your husband have a safe trip to India. He might be on his way right now.

I know MD, the videowallas make you so self conscious, I nearly choke on the food when they come around. Someone had to shoot him too, so i took the step, in photographic terms that is.

Oh my soul Penni, don 't think so highly of me. I am so impressed by the way you all and you have a British touch Penni. I just have a Masters in English Literature which is rusty i guess.

Hi John, how are you doing? Must be getting warmer in FL now.

Hello Ash, you Bristol photos are lovely.

Hello Taiwan Prattler, I heard there was a lantern festival in Taiwan, I must check your blog to see if you 've written about it.I like the way you write about Taiwan and your friends.How are the birdies doing?

Good to hear from you Gail. I also lag so much in my blogging, sometimes I wish I had nothing else to do except chat and blog.
Thank you for paying me a visit.

Roo said...

my friend -- thank you for sharing this. wow. the photo of the little children sleeping touched my heart. love you.