On strong demand of my followers both from India and abroad I continue the Story of love begets love.
SRINAGAR DAL LAKE
Adieu of the Bride
The arduous night marriage ceremony lasting six hours finally came to end at about 4am and all preparations for the adieu of the bride started instantly.
I sauntered out from the “Lagan Mandhap” into the fresh air. My brother and my friends accompanied me to the corner of a beautifully laid out lawn for a much needed rest.
The starry moonlight was bright one as if greeting with pleasure and promise for a better tomorrow.
Soon after a couple of young ladies voluptuous and buxom ones brought tea and a few sweets for us.
“ Will you stay here to drink tea or come inside” one of the ladies asked me in a low tone.
“ no no it is fine here only “ I answered abruptly.
“ in case if it is convenient to you that way” I continued.
“ yes, yes , no issue” the other lady said politely.
In a relaxed mood we had a few cups of tea .
There was nip in the air and gentle breeze blew. Only small white fluffs of clouds were littered on the sky but the dazzling moon overshadowed these clouds to reduce them to a mere cluster of specks.
While studying the nature closely I dozed off to sleep but only for a while as my uncle— Babuji, woke me up for redoing my crumpled turban and a bit of facial makeup to look a smarty groom after night’s tiresome ceremony.
The “ Bidai” — farewell of the bride , a tearful one ,the tears rolling down the cheeks of both mother father of the bride made the occasion very emotional one ,and all the more the situation took a compassionate turn when the bride’s younger sister started weeping bitterly but was placated to reconcile to the situation with great difficulty.
Somehow the bride managed to get into the Groom’s –Maharaz’s specially decorated car and I subsequently sneaked in ,the driver, my friend zoomed off to the main road towards my home.
We lived in the same locality of Karan-nagar ,a posh colony sprawled over nearly five to six acres—a thousand odd Bungalows ,predominately belonging to Kashmiri Pandits spanned all across the colony.
We took a longer route and finally reached home,18 karan-nagar amidst the fanfare of Kashmiri music and singing finally to a sizable gathering of my family members.
The children were more vociferous dancing with gaiety and gusto.
An impressive welcome to my heart’s fill.
All the eyes were on the Bride and she was escorted by my elder sister along with bunch of young ebullient family girls lifting the frill of the sari occasionally to have a glimpse of the bride .
“ oh my God she is beautiful ” said one of the guests nudging me with a smile.
“ A good find, treasure trove of beauty” said my other younger cousin .
“ keep quiet” my sister Bengashi commanded and all calmed down allowing the bride to have a ritual ceremony of ‘Dawar-Puja’ at the very entrance of the house .
The ‘Dawar-Puja’ is performed to seek benediction for the new couple.
The Bride- ‘Maharin’ was seated in the corner of living room at an elevated place specially designed and decorated with carpets and flowers for her comfortable stay.
The flow of ladies guests was continuous ,each lady would sit for a moment, after having a glimpse of the bride move on to the adjacent room for a tete-a-tete .
Most of the charming ladies would kiss the forehead of the bride and move ahead offering verbal blessings but for some of the old ladies who would glare with frowns and suspicion and move ahead reluctantly after kissing the bride .
The ladies would gather in groups over a cup of tea ,being served at a stretch ,and thus discuss the Bride of the day mostly in whispers , occasionally breaking the silence to ask for something special to eat .
“hatbi Leelavati ati chuna katlam ya bagharkani” the young lady hollered in chaste Kashmiri, meaning literally “ Hi leelavati, is there any Katlam or Bagarkhani” the special Kashmiri bakery items much relished and sought after by the women on marriage occasions.
Leelavati , a middle aged woman, tall and with bushy eyebrows, black thick hair done up in a silkily looped ponytail, responded with the requested bakery items without any ado.
At 11.30PM I moved to the room on the first floor ,a charming one done with carved wooden ceiling ,the walls painted with light yellow ,a large portrait of Lord Shiva adorned the side wall . The main wall lit by modern sconce lights.
The big double bed draped with brightly colored bed covers and decorated with wreaths of marigold flowers interspersed with green small leaves .
. I changed into night dress to sleep in ,a checked shirt and a matching pair of Pyjamas.
A group of girls along with my younger sister Anita escorted sharika “hello brother take care of your lovely wife” Anita said leaving soon after while closing the door behind her.
Sharika still in bride’s dress walked in listlessly wearing tired looks but smiling though coyly.
she just sat beside me on the wicker sofa and started taking off her bridal attire to get into more comfortable formal one.
I moved to the corner of the room looking out of the window deliberately to give her a moment of privacy.
The night was cold and crisp. As the night deepened , the moon was still brightly dazzling on the sky . As I was reflecting on the vagaries of Nature, Sharka’s feeble but audible voice reached into darker recesses of my ears .
I turned to find her lying back in a recumbent position on the edge of the bed.
Her dark tresses sloping down on to her bosom with radiating serene countenance ,luscious lips and searching eyes , a rare moment for a pleasure embracement.
The sun was up in the sky and its rays glanced through the windows directly on to my eyes.
I woke up to the much announced dawn , and found sharika ready to slip down the stairs to the living room perhaps following the rituals of being an ideal traditional daughter in law to greet the family members. at the very break of dawn.
However a gentle knock made sharika to get up and open the door instantly.
To her surprise she saw my elder sister Bengashi standing in the doorway with a tray of three cups of tea. greeting us with a smile and a pleasant “ good morning” .
“ why did you bring the tea ?I was coming down on my own” sharika said feeling quite embarrassed.
Bengashi asked me to get up for having bed tea.
we found the tea good one and it gave opportunity to bring sharika more closely into the family ambit.
“ I am here in Srinagar for last one month helping to cover up this marriage. I am going back to my husband ,your jeejaji – brother-in law on 26th October” Bengashi said addressing to us both.
“ When are you going back? “ she asked me brusquely .
“ I am going on 29th October” I replied briefly.
“ Will Sharika accompany you as well. ?” Bengashi continued her conversation.
“ Yes I think so. Baigash( father) and Kakni( mother) have given their consent” I replied without hesitation.
“Ok Fine. That is good.”
Bengashi ,followed by Sharika, went downstairs to the living room leaving me to fend for myself for the moment atleast.
In a trice I got ready closing the door firmly behind me and walked into narrow small passageway which led to my younger cousin Ravinder ‘s room.
“Hello brother how are you feeling after marriage. “ Ravinder a tall young man asked me in a casual tone.
“ Hello I was thinking to spend a few nights in Gulmarg,Can you arrange my stay there.” I pleaded.
Ravinderji, my brother, whome we call kakaji fondly, was a scientist working at High Altitude Research Laboratory ,Gulmarg .
“No problem brother you can come and we make your stay as comfortable as can be, in our guest house.” He confirmed . “only confirm me the date,infact we will go together .” Kakaji continued.
The week was hectic we did go to Gulmarg and stayed for three days ,enjoying the snow capped Alpine Mountaineous range at an altitude of 800 ft from sea level.
A meadow of green verdure in summer and a white snow in winter, Gulmarg stands out outstanding with mesmerising Nature’s beauty.
we loitered in the Srinagar city with shikara drives on the shimmering waters of Dal lake and long drives on the boulevard road encircling the lake to our heart’s fill.
Finally on 29th October 1975 we flew out to Delhi and went to my operational headquarters Rishikesh , a town sacred one beautifully nestled in the foothills of Himalayan range of hills in Uttarkhand State of northern India ,the Holy Ganges running through the town inexplicably.The flow of gurgling waters of the river was exceedingly beautiful.
Known popularly as the pilgrimage town ,holiest of holy places Rishikesh is home to the sages from ancient times who lead ascetic lives in search of spiritual knowledge and truth behind the existence of this universe.
I had been lately transferred and promoted as Quality head of JG glass plant Rishikesh from the main plant in Pune.
BEAUTIFUL RISHIKESH ONTHE BANK OF GANGES
Rishikesh ,a town agog with ringing of temple bells both in the morning and evenings at MUNI KI RETI Ganga Ghat , and the devotees thronging the famous Laxman Jhoola for offering prayers in the temples of Gita Bhavan ,Parmarth Niketan presented a captivating view.
we saw the female devotees ,unmindful of surroundings around , taking off the clothes surged across the gushing waters of holy Ganges exposing their expansive nudity to the romanticism of the nature .Just being overwhelmed with the thought of seeking salvation following a sacred dip in the holy Ganga waters.
With the passage of time Sharika and myself , mingled with the gaiety and galore of the sacred town to be its part and parcel, thus enjoying the peaceful life for a decade or so .
The memories galore and we recount each one fondly.