Remember the engagement ceremony a few weeks ago when the girl wore the borrowed saree, etc etc… well, their marriage was yesterday. (I’m not even going to go into the whole bride’s side of the family not-doing-anything-to-get-ready-for-the-wedding fiasco. I’m just going to stick to the ceremony.)
Church was first from 9-10AM and the bride was supposed to show up at 10AM for the marriage ceremony.
Our abbreviated church service ended with communion and I went back to my front row seat. (We held the ceremony in a tent outside our church because we needed the room.)
In India the groom walks in first with his friends surrounding him. He walks down the aisle and to the front much like the bride does in American weddings. Fathers walk in neither the bride nor the groom here.
As I watched the groom walk in with his “best man” at his side and a couple other guys following I got all choked up and started to cry. YES, I am a wedding weeper. What is it about weddings that makes us cry? Well, these two boys, the groom* and best man*, were both in the orphanage where I worked for 8 months in 1998-1999 (where I met O.) Seeing them standing there on the little stage holding hands, waiting for the bride, well, it just got me right here (patting chest and sniffing.) Cause of tears possibly also brought on by the Really Bad rendition of “How Great Thou Art” being sung in Hindi as the groom walked down the aisle.
At this point, O. calls for everyone to stand up because the bride is going to walk in (also with her friends surrounding her.) Everyone stands and looks to the back… and looks and looks and looks – bad singing continuing on and on and on. And suddenly a man appears at the far end of the aisle and gestures wildly: no, no, no.
I look around from my seat in the front row and figure I should do something since everyone else who could go figure this out were deeply involved with the bad singing. Plastering a smile on my face I quickly make my way down the aisle, taking care to avoid the eyes of the 150 or so guests and spectators.
I finally reach the open air and discover that the bride has not yet arrived. Oh.
Back up the aisle, smiling, not looking at anyone…feeling much like the maid of honor in Spiderman 2. However, I bypassed the groom and just whispered in the pastor’s ear that The Bride Had Not Yet Come.
And Hindi “How Great Thou Art” droned on and on.
Miraculously, the bride actually arrived before they finished the last verse. I was back there waiting for her with a bunch of other girls. I walked in behind her up the aisle and shuffled back over to my seat when we hit the front row. She and just her maid of honor continued on up to the platform.
To my recollection, the rest of the wedding went on without a hitch. Ummm, I’m not really sure about that tho since my seat was in a direct line of sunlight and by the time everything ended and I ate lunch, I was feeling sincerely dizzy. I caught the first car home and slept for 2 hours.
Here’s a funny epilogue. When I awoke later that afternoon the groom and his entire family were at my house. O. later told me that after the ceremony the bride and groom went to the hotel we booked for them. Within a half an hour the groom’s entire family (I’m talking like 15 people) showed up at their door.
O. took mercy on the poor groom and sent his family back to their homes straight away that evening.
*For anyone who was with me in 1998-99: Groom – Shyam Sundar (a.k.a. Samson). Best man: Prabhu Lal (Bride was Smita who goes to our church)