Her Tete-a-tete With Inner Self (Last Part)

by Dr. Pran Rangan

For the purpose of materializing the process of marriage, a meeting is set up for both the families in Rajni's home. Amit and his family are cordially welcomed and nicely entertained by Rajni and her family. Both families express their happiness to the wished-for marriage. With the consent of all, it is decided that the engagement ceremony will be held one day before marriage.

Both families agree that the date of marriage be fixed up for next month after consultation with a pundit knowledgeable in astrology. After finalization of the date, both family members plunge into making the necessary arrangements. Rajni and her brother begin surveying different marriage halls in the city for their suitability to hold the function. At last, they come across one, which they find suitable for their requirements. They then get it reserved for the purpose.

Rajni takes the responsibility of getting the invitation cards printed, which she personally selects with the help of Mom. When the cards are ready, everyone likes them, appreciating her choice.

She prepares the list of all the guests to be invited with the help of family members, keeping in mind that only close relatives and friends are to be invited. She prepares the list meticulously so that no invitee is left by mistake. Once this is ready, she hands it over to her younger brother and asks to courier the invitation cards to them. But she asks her Mom and father to phone personally all, even though that they will be couriered the invitation card.

While making list of invitees, Rajni doesn't forget Agna and Sofia. She phones them to inform about her marriage, intimating them other details. She extracts a promise from both that they have to attend it. Both happily agree to attend, expressing their excitement that all three will be together again to have a great time. She informs that she will take care of visa formalities for them and tell them to get their air tickets reserved as soon as soon as it is ready. Agna and Sofia also extract a promise from her that it will be her responsibility to help them visit important places of tourists' attractions in India.

When their visa was ready, she asked Agna and Sofia to get their air reservations done for the purpose. Rajni tells her brother that her friends - Agna and Sofia - will also attend the marriage, coming all the way from Hamburg and he has to prepare their tour itinerary for visiting places of tourists' attraction. He promises that he will make a good schedule for them, helping in every possible way too.

Since Indians prefer to wear different costumes and outfits for different customs of marriage, she too becomes busy with the same for herself and her family members. Many take help of experts as it requires proficiency in selection. But Rajni totally relies on her Mom and a friend of hers to select outfits for different occasions. She chooses a nice designer outfit for the marriage from the collection of a famous designer.

Agna and Sofia arrive three day before the day of marriage. Rajni and her brother personally go to Delhi airport to receive them; all three happily begin hugging as soon as they see each other. Her brother is surprised to see the emotionally charged scene at the airport as all are in high spirits. They inform Rajni that they have come earlier so as not to miss any of the ceremonies because they have heard that Indian marriages are very elaborate and colorful, and they want to enjoy thoroughly.

Three days before the day of marriage, everything is finally Ok and both parties are satisfied with the preparations. A day before, the engagement ceremony is held, in which would-be bride and groom exchange rings, signifying that they both have been officially betrothed to be married. It was a good function attended by persons who were very close, followed by a sumptuous dinner. Agna and Sofia were quite impressed by the function, taking full interest in its nitty-gritty as it was new to them. Rajni's brother explained them all about function and its significance.

On the day of marriage, the atmosphere at site of marriage was bustling with activities as both the families got busy supervising that nothing went wrong. First of all, people invited from the bride's side start arriving at the marriage hall. The members of bride's family take care to personally welcome them.

After some waiting, barat (a procession of persons invited from the groom's side) accompanying bridegroom arrives with much fanfare of music and dance by the invitees. It is welcomed profusely by the family and friends of bride. The invitees are offered soft drinks and snacks, members of the bride's family taking special care to see that all are entertained well.

After a lapse of some time, garland ceremony is held, in which bride and groom place garlands around the neck of each other by turn, signifying that they will hold each other in the highest regard in their lives. Agna and Sofia keenly watch every function and ask Rajni's brother significance behind them.

Meanwhile, dinner is served for the guests, who can take it at their convenience, some preferring to watch ceremonies. After the dinner, phere ceremony is held, in which bride and groom take seven rounds around a bonfire among the chanting of religious hymns by a pandit.

Agna asks Rajni's brother, "What is the significance of these seven rounds around the bonfire"

He explains, "Each round denotes an oath. They are practiced since Vedic times. Seven oaths are taken by both, which help strengthen the marital bond. They basically symbolize that both will respect and have trust in each other; will not keep anything secret; will spend money with each other's consultation; and will help equally in raising the family. If the couple always keeps to these oaths, no marriage can ever fail. But in the current marital perception, these oaths have lost their significance for the couple but are only taken by them as tradition wants them."

Agna says to him, "Such traditions are also prevalent in other cultures but gradually their significance is getting eroded due to changing social perceptions."

After the phere ceremony, the marriage is considered to have been solemnized, which is followed by the ceremony of send-off of the bride. This is done next morning, in which groom takes the bride to his home. It is an emotional event for the family because the bride now belongs to other family. The send-off creates a kind of vacuum in the bride's family, which everybody experiences with a feeling of sadness.

On reaching her new home, Rajni tries to relax in an easy chair as it seemed to be most hectic day of her life. While relaxing, she all of a sudden goes into conversation with her Inner Self.

Rajni: So far it has been well but I don't know what lies in store for me as no one knows one's future. I am hopeful that the life I am going to embark upon will go on well too.

Inner Self: I suggest that you keep to the oaths of marriage at your end. Always be bold enough to face ups and downs of married life. But always remember to have zero tolerance for any mental or physical torture or harm by your husband. If you accept it at your end without opposition, you will encourage the same behavior in him. I wish you a happy and successful married life. I will be always there for any help you may need. You will find a dependable friend in me.

Rajni: You have been a source of light to me, dispelling the darkness in my mind whenever I was facing confounding situations in life. I will be thankful to you forever.

Thus, there begins a new phase in the journey of Rajni's life.

Concluded

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