This is the question that I am asked most often.
The answer? Actually, I don't know it myself.
I had not expected to feel any different. All my life, I believed that a piece of paper does not really make a difference. And all I had seen of the Hindu marriage ceremony were the externalities- the display of things, the stroking of egos, the submission of the bride AND her family.
But there is much more to it than that.
I still believe that Mian and I do not need a certificate or the ceremony to establish our commitment to each other. But the rituals- the vows, the blessings, the ritual depiction of the stages of togetherness- made me realise what this commitment actually entails. And made me realise the significance of this willingness to trust in each other.
And perhaps even more special than the traditional wedding rites were the ways in which the ceremony was tweaked to accommodate us.
• My family's making sure that every teeny wish of mine came true- from mehendi the night before, to marigolds at the venue.
• My mum doing the kanyadaan after a minor strike (me) and some cajoling (my sis).
• The mid-ritual breaks for English translation, sanctioned by a beaming priest who was thrilled by the international nature of the wedding.
• The discreet letting go of the conversion and lena-dena aspect.
• And above all, my Mian and my family with their shared love for this one individual and because of that, their seeking to establish a friendship.
So do I feel any different?
No. And Yes.
There are no 'new' emotions. I do not feel disconnected from my family. My connection with my Mian was already there.
But now, it is strangely easier to make long-term plans without a whispered insh'llah. My family now looks at us as more of a pair than they did just a week earlier. I feel more connected to his family than I did a couple of weeks ago.
I always loved both Mian and my family, but now I am overcome by a rush of love whenever I think of the time we all spent together and their welcoming of each other. And above all else, there is overwhelming gratitude towards them. For the laying down of reservations, for the acceptance of rituals, for the reaching out, for the coming together to celebrate this togetherness.
So maybe, it was an affirmation and a strengthening of that which already existed. And a reminder to continue feeling happy and grateful.
An Easter Resurrection
6 days ago