Our’s is an inter-cultural marriage. We got married in July few years back, in Delhi for the first time. Don’t ask me how…but, yes after some hard struggle.
I didn’t have much knowledge about the Bengali customs, though people say that Bengali and Assamese cultures are quite similar.
We had our second and third marriage and reception in Guwahati and Jorhat, respectively in November, the same year. As that would be my first visit to in-law's home, my dear hubby tried his level best to train me about his customs and traditions, to impress my parents-in-law, his relatives, neighbours etc. My training sessions were not less than the potty-training sessions of a doggy, by the way.
Hubby wrote his all uncles’, aunts’ and few important neighbours’ names, told me most of the family history, explained me all the rituals he knew. During our dinner time, outing time, and free time, quizzes and strict instructions were always on.
“What will be the sequence if Bengan Fry, Aalu bhaja, Veg sabji, Fish curry and Meat will be served for dinner or lunch?”
“Never ever eat pickles with Fish and Meat.”
“Touch the feet of the seniors, when you are introduced to them for the first time. And in a situation, when you are introduced to a senior person, and if some other seniors are also present in that room whom you already touched feet, you will have to touch their feet again along with the new person.”
Offf!!! Touching the feet of the same seniors again and again was actually tough!!! But, can’t help, I would have to do as ritual says…Custom is custom, after all.
Whatever! The D-day came. We two reached Guwahati by morning flight. I wore Dhakai Jaamdani Saree. Hubby’s home is 35 kms away from the airport. When my husband said that we were almost reaching his house, I could hear my heartbeats clearly…increasing continuously…..my mind was saying silently “God! Save meeh plzz!!!”
Hubby’s cousins, some relatives, neighbours, all were waiting in the gate to welcome us. I only knew few faces like parents-in-law and hubby’s bhabi and two cousins as they went to Delhi for our first marriage ceremony.
So, my action started now. I started touching the feet of all the people who seemed senior to me, one by one. Doing that, I just looked at my hubby, he too looked at me and nodded his head as if “Well done!”…. I got a bit relief.
Lunch time! Action time again. I recalled the sequence….and had my lunch accordingly. Successfully accomplished.
Dinner time. The aroma of fish curry and mutton rogan was tickling my taste-buds. I offered my help in serving in the dinner table. “Mita! Can you pass on the pickle to your father-in-law and others in the dining table.” My Mom-in-Law forwarded two pickle bottles to me.
“But Maa! Pickle with meat and fish…….???” I was confused…
“Why, anything wrong?” She was confused too…. “We eat pickles with fish and meat. Assamese people don’t???”
I looked at my Hubby….He was silently eating, keeping his head down…..but I could see his red ears under the tube light, clearly.
The Reception Day. Almost 700 -800 people were invited. Since morning, I was tensed, how would I handle….didn’t know how many aged/senior people would come. I silently wished, “Hope, most of the attendees will be young….”
Reception was from 2 PM. I was taken to the wedding platform, where there was a long 3 seater sofa, beautifully decorated. Both the sides of the sofa, few chairs were kept so that some ladies, girls could accompany the bride. One by one, people started coming. Someone or other introduced them to me, “He is your hubby’s uncle”, “He is your father-in-laws’ friend”…..I used to get up from the sofa, bend and touch the feet of all of them. Doing the process for hours, my back started aching. One cousin Riya, who was continuously with me asked, “Boudi, why are you touching feet of everyone? No need.” I said, “No, no, I should keep the custom…”
I continued. Once, one person came up to the stage. His age would be around 40. I could smell the desi wali daru ka smell from his body and mouth. Didn’t know who was he…! With confused mind, I touched his feet too…He was happy enough and started giving lots of blessing, which continued for couple of minutes.
My Mom-in-Law was observing me from far, doing these activities. She came to me and whispered, “Oh…Mita! Bengali culture is not like your Assamese tradition probably ….In our culture, bride sits in her sofa, does not get up from her seat to touch other’s feet in the reception. No need to do that…..You will have backpain in this way.”
My eyes deadly started searching for my hubby……,felt like hitting him…. But he was lucky enough, as he vanished somewhere that very moment….
Now, whenever my back aches, I blame him….and he laughs to the no limit……I too!!! J
“This post is a part of #LoveAndLaughter activity at BlogAdda in association with Caratlane.”