Marriage and the shoe string budget…
We had a short sweet courtship of three months before we decided to tie the knot. (My Dream Girl – Part 2: Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si mili ek ajnabee se……)Three months was a good enough period to know and understand each other. The 90 best days of my life, enjoying the newfound company, flying high on cloud 9, love does take you on a different high. We had our fair share of hurdles, though nothing alarming, till we finally reached the stage of ‘saat pheras’ but fortunately both the families never raised any major issues.
One thing was very clear in our mind, once we had decided to get married, that marry we will irrespective of any objections from any quarters (Ab maa roothe ya baba meine ….). But there is nothing better than all your near and dear ones being next to you in your moments of happiness. I had always believed that a love marriage is bound to be successful if it has the blessings of the elders or at least some elder / relation from either the boy or girl’s side. I have witnessed quite a few love marriages crashing under the weight of parents, when either the boy or the girl could not take the emotional pressure mounted by the parents/ in laws. The parents have a lot of emotional tricks up their sleeves when they do not want the love marriage of their child to succeed. ‘That’ somebody (who is on your side) helps you maintain emotional and mental stability when the whole world seems to be going against you.
We had our moments of anxiety as mobile networks had still not entered the Indian market and the minute to minute, anywhere anytime update facility was not available to us. We had to depend on the BSNL and the Post & Telegraph departments to play their roles in helping us inform the parents and getting approvals. One had to make a sincere effort to drive to any one of the limited numbers of telephone booths providing STD facilities, available in the area, to make a call. There was no privacy inside the booths as the other 20 waiting impatiently for their turn could well hear all your ‘private’ conversation. So, one had to depend on the Postal department to make ‘classified’ conversation with parents and then wait anxiously for at least seven days to get their response. Well, all the moments of anxiety passed of peacefully and we did get the answers we were looking for.
During one such conversation, the first my would be wife was having with her, my mom put a peculiar condition to the marriage wherein she told her “It’s a yes from our side but before taking a final call you are requested to visit our home and see/ experience our way of life. Every family has their own way of life as per their beliefs, see that for yourself, you should not have any regrets later in life after that whatever call you take will be honoured”. (Developing and Sustaining Relationships…Part II)Anyways, ‘Dimple’ decided to go ahead without pre-experiencing our way of life. That is where the strong will and the strong head of the ‘jatti’ came into play, you know that attitude, when I asked her what now? she gave a look which said it all “ ek vari shadi to ho jaan de, baki mein sambhal langi” (Let the marriage solemnize balance you leave it to me to handle….) (Was I treading a dangerous path???? Ufffff….).
After the approval of the family had been obtained the Good old Hindu calendar came in between. As per the calendar we were supposed to wait till next year as there were no suitable dates available in that year to solemnize the marriage. We were in no mood to wait and the pampering/ blackmailing of the Pandits (Hindu priests) started and after some cajoling and coaxing they compromised and announced that 11 Nov was the most suitable day, for the marriage. As most of you will be aware Hindu marriages are a long drawn affair and the rituals take place throughout the night. I was in no mood for that and after a bit more cajoling the Pandits settled for 1 pm in the afternoon as the “Shubh Muhurat” (most auspicious time” for solemnizing the marriage).
There were two more conditions, hurdles, that we imposed on ourselves. First was to make this ‘Marriage Project’ of ours self-financing, no aid from any outside agency or parents. We wanted to do everything within our own resources and to tell you the truth we had a very limited budget to play with and no provision for ‘deficit financing’ or carrying over the over- expenditure to next financial year. To be precise we just had Rs 70,000 and my ‘Dream Girl’ wanted a traditional marriage, no shortcuts allowed. The limit of Rs 70,000 was not to be breached and within that we had to buy her marriage dress(es) (and she wanted nothing less than a traditional embroidered Lehenga choli) arrange the marriage function , a lunch and a dinner as also make arrangements for all guests to include their stay and meals. Not a easy proposition but we had to make it work, so started a cycle of numerous journeys that we undertook to the nearest city, Jalandhar, on our two wheeler, to select her dress and accessories and to various ‘Tent Houses’ in city for hiring crockery, tents and to arrange outsourcing of food preparation and serving. The friends chipped in for making stay arrangements for the guests. Some vacated their rooms while others provided the bedding and finally, we had 32 lovely suites ready to receive the guests, at hardly any cost.
The second decision we took, basically based on our financial status and location of our friends, was to solemnize our marriage in the sleepy town we were both working in, Pathankot. Though the town as such had nothing much to offer but was cheap and we had our friends around for any assistance we needed and the cities in which our parents resided were damn costly and any attempt to get married in any of those places would have pulled us back economically many years. The best part was arranging the lawns, the place for marriage. There was a more or less dysfunctional Officers’ club in our campus whose management we approached for hiring the premises for conduct of events. The club had never been given on hire to anyone for marriage and hence there were no set rates for hiring. Since it was an Officers’ club meant for the welfare of the officers working in the campus, the management wanted to help us out and gave us permission to use the lawns and the available crockery at a partly sum of Rs 700/. Everything somehow was going as per our plans, it was like “Jab aap shiddat se kisi cheez ko chaho to poori kainath use tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai”.
With lots of running around, some hard bargaining, loads of assistance from our friends/ well-wishers and lots of ‘emotional torture’ of the vendors, we managed to ‘make our ends meet’ and arranged everything at the cost of Rs 70000/ only. Can you believe it? Bhagwaan sahi mein chapad phaad ke deta hai (When God is with you nothing else matters).
On 10th Nov, the guests, basically our family members arrived in station and on the 11th of Nov the marriage was solemnized. We had decided to do away with any ‘unnecessary’ rituals (as long as parents and elders were there to bless nothing else mattered).There was no formal engagement or other rituals, just a short 10 minutes visit to the Gurudwara preceded the main event and in just little more than an hour we were through with the entire ceremony and formally declared as ‘Husband & Wife’.
I must say life has not been same after marriage, how it has gone thus far will cover in later blogs…..