Photo by Laaija
I was actually thinking of 11-11-11 as the cool date to get married. However, things don’t always happen the way you want, you have to twist things happening around you to make it work for you in the better way. So, today, on this cool numbered date 07-07-07, me and Shanta got married officially and legally.
Links to Marriage Photos at the end of this article.
Due to the overwhelming interest from our parents, gurdians and relatives, the whole plan was super pre-ponded and everything started to fall into places, dates and calendared events. It all started with a family-only miniature Engagement held at a local Temple in Mumbai (INDIA) on the 26th February, 2007. Then, according to local well-wishers, pundits and sanskrit scholars, our marriage dates were slotted for the 20th June, 2007 which was supposedly very auspicious for the traditional wedding day. It was later learnt that more than 5,000 marriages happened that day in Imphal, Manipur (INDIA). Well, we got married in front of over 500 visitors, relatives and family members gathering. That made the people from home happy as we hit the right dates and heed to their likes, advises and wishes.
Ever since I was in 10th grade, I knew Shanta as the youngest, naughtiest, the most talkative and of course the funniest, sister of one of my friend. Never had I in my mind thought she will be my girlfriend or more strangely my wife. I would ask her to make me good tea whenever I visited their home and even remember lecturing her to study well, sometimes getting down to teaching a bit of Maths, Physics here and there.
She was also one of most out-going and well-connected girl, who loves to ride around the town’s nook and corner on her bike almost everyday. I saw her, bump on her at most known places – restaurants, ice-cream parlors, soft-drink joints – and cinema houses. That easy access to her made her an ideal cupid for my erstwhile girlfriends. She would happily went in and bring out my girlfriends so I can enjoy my dates.
She used to have the shortest hair-cut a girl can have, She was rather very boy-ish. She is also popular for the way she scooters her bike fast away from your sight. It was my usual habit to scold her to start acting like a girl.
After I finished high school, there was no connection with my friend and thus never saw her again until early last year (2006) when I was looking for new recruits for the QA team at Mixercast. Co-incidentally, she was looking for a change of job and her brother got in touch with me through Orkut. Shanta got employed with Mixercast and my interaction with her started afresh but things were different this time.
Her hair has grown long and she was more lady-like, which I was extremely surprised of. She had shed her typical trademarked short-pants and she looked more matured in her new attire, dresses and accessories. I honestly do not have a clue when everything started but we remember talking to her mother about marriage dates, plans for engagements, ceremonial events, et al.
I’ve always believed that I should wear a wedding ring but that comes none in our tradition. So, I decided to make the engagement in a manner where we exchange the wedding rings. Shanta settled for a D’damas ring which was simple and can be worn daily. Mine was a local made 24 carat hand-crafted gold-ring popularly known as the Bombay Belt (it does look like a belt). I tried to get “Shanta” etched in the inside of the ring like the Elvish inscription of the Lord of the Rings but the local Goldsmith was unable to do it and settled for a simple Text that reads “Shanta”. The Engagement took place on Monday, the 26th of February, 2007.
As planned, we left Mumbai for Imphal on 30th of May, 2007 to give us enough buffer time to prepare for the marriage, send out invites, etc. The actual events related to the Marriage starts on the 18th June, 2007, known as Heijingpot. On this day, the families of the Bride and the Groom exchange edibles, talk, and does many poojas/prayers. There was even an additional Cake-cutting event on the side of the Bride which I find it very new (it wasn’t there as far as I can recollect form childhood days). Most things were new to me, because as a grown-up, I was attending the first every Manipuri Marriage which ironically was my own.
The next day, me, the Groom gets the official/traditional invite from the Bride’s side through a messenger which involves lots of praying, blessings and exchange of betel leaves and nuts plattered underneath with nicely cut circular banana leaves. In fact, these three plant items were most rampart in the whole Marriage and I saw our rooms filled with them for distribution to the guest, visitors and the Gods and Goddesses.
The 20th of June, 2007 was indeed the traditional Manipuri Marriage for me and Shanta. It was a whole day event, tiresome, real sore in the rear, stiff neck for looking straight for hours. The Manipuri Marriage is supposed to be of “serious matter” and people aren’t supposed to laugh aloud specially the Bride and the Groom. Well, I stole a few smiles, grins here and there while Shanta was really generous with her wide smiles.
I don’t quite saw much part of that day, as I was trying hard to concentrate on being a serious Groom. It was even against the tradition not to go out even to pee if you once go inside the Marriage Arena and that space last for over 4 hours or so. Both families had tried their best to cut down on the guest list and that left them controlling for a crowd of just about 500. And the extended singings from the traditional marriage singers took a huge toll of my time and I can vividly remember coming up with many alternative ideas to shorten such Manipuri Marriage keeping it to just the main event but still be able to perform all traditional deeds that we had to do. Of course, I do remember being jolted from that tradition-shaking-alternate-project-plan by an excruciating pain in my bum as I was sitting there for over 2 hours or more waiting for the whole thing to get over. Finally, all went well with no pee-feeling in between and I was able to pack off that day on the specially-prepared-yellow-wedding-bed. Seeing the bed, I was about to gasp, “Oh! Shit” but I kept that to myself.
Then came the day after Marriage, that saw another visits from the Bride’s parents and relatives, lots of guests, lot of eating & talking. The second day after Marriage was nothing eventful but a preparing for the third day that turn out to be the Big Feast Day at the Bride’s parental home, followed by a similar Big Feast on the 5th day. I came back to Mumbai on the 27th, things cooled down and I’m back online. Honeymoon(s) are being planned for later dates as I need to finish off many un-finished business.
Actually, my earlier proposal to the family relatives and parents was to make this date the Marriage Date and thus get registered there in Manipur itself. It was rejected, so I had submitted my Marriage Registration request and all details while I was still in Mumbai during May so I can have the Official Marriage on this cool date – 07-07-07. And so finally, on the last lag of our Marriage, Shanta and Me got the official Marriage Certificate dated – 07-07-07. We will be celebrating this date as the official, legal and actual Marriage Date.
Well, that’s it, I got married. Now, I have to see that all my online profiles reads “Married” instead of the “Single” status.
- Engagement on 26th February, 2007
- Heijingpot on 18th June, 2007
- Traditional Manipur Marriage on 20th June, 2007
- The Next Day of the Manipuri Marriage on 21st June, 2007
- The Big feast or Mangani Chakouba on 23rd June, 2007
- The official Marriage Certificate bearing the date 07-07-07
While I was in Manipur, I was able to sneak out to take some photographs of some new and scenic locations.