When i was a kid, my dad told me that it would rain at my wedding day. It didnt, all day. Till i decided to step out of my door and head out to the mandapam to get married. It was so bad that the power in the city went out and the car driving me stalled on the way. My engineer uncles can fix anything. Literally. And its no surprise that we all rejoiced when it started pouring on the day of my sister’s wedding. It was a much welcome relief to the hot day and the wedding stress. Everyone started smiling and started reliving memories of their own. I was secretly taking a nap on a hidden corner, and my cousins woke me up screaming “its raining!”. Yes dad, you predicted it right.
I must be ambitious to think i can photograph my sisters wedding. Its close to impossible to have pursuits of my own when there are so many relatives and emotions all around. And so much work to be done. I did carry around my camera, partly because i felt naked without it. I told myself, ten artsy pictures and thats all i want. The photographers we hired will do the click-click-click for every moment from each possible angle. Even that was impossible when you have a huge family to catch up with and entertain.
I have sat in the close proximity to the bride and grooms for a while now, and i was surprised to find myself able to chant some of the slokas the pundit was chanting. Nannagaru(dad) somehow got the head pujari at Vijayawada Durga Temple to preside over the wedding, and he had the most beautiful voice ever. There is so much art in an Indian wedding. And these chants are one of the oldest form of poetry and rhythm. He made the proceedings fun, as much as he could. And these are the only shots i could sneak in, during the down time during the wedding.
Someone i was most looking forward to meet and photograph during this India visit is my great-grand-mother. She is gorgeous, super intelligent and wise. She could not recognize me but asked me questions about my life and gave me some good advice (stop studying asap and have babies). I grew up with her and i have some amazing memories with her. She turned 100 this year and sat upright through out the wedding. Her life is a lesson for all of us. Introducing the bride aka my baby sister, Ramya. Saying it out loud, “Ramya’s wedding” sounded so un-real, all these days. And all of a sudden, she was playing the part of the bride. And looked the part. Gorgeous. I was amazed. Parents worried about how fast time was flying by. Cousins excited, just to be there. Too bad i couldn’t photograph her more. I dont think she will ever look this good and like a Telugu bride.
The most relaxed and fun part of the wedding was the mehndi ceremony. I was in a different frame of mind. I dont like mehandi nor colorful clothes. But this day was an exception. None of the French neutrals and 100% color was the theme of the day. And the fun started when Raksha (the monkey sticking her tongue out in the photo below) landed. In no time, all of us were dancing. Some of them really knew what they were doing and some of us just jumping along. Harithakka says, “i just want to watch her dance all day.” I think we look alike. No? I am proud to be her doppelganger.
We forced Ramya to do some cliche bridal acts. She had no choice but to oblige. Hopefully, the professional photographers caught all the acts, i didnt. In the end, i was forced to pose with her being the sister of the bride. Harithakka got away coz she was taking care of Aarna baby and doing other mature sister-ly things. She did so much work while i pranced around looking busy and chatted with relatives.
Below: Start of the wedding. Ramya with amma and nannagaru. Sadly, only photograph i clicked of em.
Introducing Sashanka, the groom. We haven’t poked him enough yet. More stories of him to follow as time goes by. Watch out Sasi !
This day pushed me through exhaustion, made me wear my hostess hat on, greet what felt like a zillion people, try to make conversation with people of very diverse backgrounds,…. and saw a lot of tears of happiness and sadness. Happy Married Life Ramya !
This post is dedicated to my two wonderful sisters.