Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aneeka Ayyar-“Thangam” Means Gold

The wedding was a huge extravagant celebration full of color and excitement. All the women were dressed in exotic clothing; wearing saris with every design and print I could think of. They were wearing green, red, orange, and lots of purple and indigo. I don’t know why but maybe purple was in style that year. Marigolds and roses were strung across the stage. Two large rose garlands were hanging on a hook. Kala and Sundhar were sitting on the stage wearing expensive clothing and a lot of makeup. The hall was decorated with soft pink paint and pink, white, and yellow roses. I could smell the roses scattered around the hall.

The stage was elevated and three stairs on either side were leading up to it. Everyone was laughing, embracing and telling stories while the musicians played. They played the mruthangam – a loud, Indian drum and the nagaswaram- a clarinet- type instrument but 10 times louder. The priest was telling the bride and groom what steps to perform in order to spend the rest of their lives together.

They were serving idlis, vegetable pulao, and daal rice. Kala’s closest friends had helped to create beautiful white roses arrangements near the dining table. The guests looked around the halls, in the midst of flowers and interesting dishes, sat a lady in the audience smiling. She was sitting in the front row observing only the bride and groom. Simply watching and smiling ever so often.

She had been waiting for her granddaughter to get married. And today, Kala had chosen a husband. During the celebration, all the steps of a traditional Indian wedding took place. The couple said their vows, went around the fire and finally exchanged garlands.

Everybody was happy and clapping, but no one ever knew what going was on in my great-grandmother’s head. I could see the joy in her eyes. She was as happy as she could be. She watched Kala wearing a red sari with a beautiful gold border that glistened in the lights. She was wearing a ton of jewelry. Kala wore a gold necklace and little gold drums on her ears. Every time she turned her head, they shook with a jingle. She had a petite collection of jasmine flowers in her hair. Guests began to look bored after the celebration had been going on for an hour. But my great grandmother was anxiously watching the little girl she helped to nurture, grow into a woman.

The fire was releasing a lot of smoke. The smoke was burning my eyes. So my sister and I went outside. My eyes began to tear and I started to blink faster. I took one last peek at the guests and saw tears on my great-grandmother’s face too. But something told me it wasn’t because of the fire.

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