Just got off the phone with an old pal who wanted all the details of my wedding ceremony. Sharing them with her made me want to write this down for memory, and also I am avoiding the dishes.
I mentioned how, in Telugu weddings, there is this custom of the bride's maternal uncles carrying her in a basket to the mandap. In my case, I was pretty sure that my er..BMI would dissuade any of my uncles from either attending my wedding or signing papers that absolved them of any such duties. Finally, I made a deal with my dad that we would cut that bit out of my wedding ceremony, and do the high BMI equivalent, which is the maternal uncles walk the bride to the mandap.
The morning of the wedding dawned, and I was whisked downstairs to perform Gauri pooja. I was doing this in a tiny room adjacent to the mandap up on the stage. It was then I discovered what a high-handed fellow this pandit was. He was loud and bossy and always yelling, even at my parents. I didn't like him one bit, and amongst other things, was caught on camera having a fight with him at one point :D. Not your traditional demure bride, this.
Anyhow, after the Gauri pooja was done - in full fast forward fashion, I heard him yell at his minions to bring the "Butta" = basket. We had like 5 minutes left for the "muhurtam" - the pre-appointed auspicious time when the groom and bride are officially married, and a time that is of utmost importance to the exact minute. So the pandit was yelling to bring the basket, and saying- "this muhurtam is five minutes away WHERE is the basket!" and I was trying to protest saying "Actually, my father and I decided that we would not be needing the basket" but my dad and mom were busy at the mandap, the pandit was not even listening to me. I began hoping that the basket was just symbolic. May be some tiny basket would be brought. Next thing I know, this huge basket has been commissioned. The pandit yelled at me again to sit in it, and I, swept in the sense of rush and urgency, alighted into the basket putting my best foot forward (My left foot- I am left handed, after all!). Then I heard the pandit scream some more "Ayyayyo! You didn't just put your left foot in! Get up and sit again, this time, start with your right foot, PLEASE".
Then, he goes out back and yells at all the guests - "The bride needs to be carried in her basket! Come forward to carry the bride!" Like he was rounding up volunteers to push a car that wouldn't move. All the yelling was being done in telugu, but clearly it was being translated and broadcasted because a lot of my dad's friends, non-telugu speaking people came up. The next thing I knew, there was like a horde of people, burly, tall men, and I was sitting in the basket, looking extremely petrified and upset that I was actually being put through this. My assorted "uncles" - there were like 7 of them at least, came forward to lift the basket. The pandit was yelling some more in telugu, and I, sitting in the basket, was translating it into hindi/english for my non-telugu speaking strong and brave uncles- "Hold it by the base! Hold it by the base!" They would have to carry me for about 2-3 yards to the mandap, and I was mortified of this spectacle we would be making as we entered the stage area, in full view of all the guests.
Memories of my sister's wedding flashed through me. Then, there were just 4 uncles, of medium height and built, carrying my demure looking sister, and smiling at the camera. I was beginning to see how my pics would look- an army of burly men, probably sweating at the brows, with no time to pose for pictures as they had to get this done before something or someone gave, may be even cheering one another on. And a defiant and scared looking bride glaring at the camera looking like she was being married off against her wishes.
Just as we emerged from the room, into the stage area, the lights went off- power cut! In the few minutes that it took for the generators to kick in, I was carried to the mandap and set down, no mishaps whatsoever, and I quickly got out of the basket and sat myself down. If there was such a thing as divine intervention, I had just witnessed it. There is no photographic proof and nothing on tape covering this most embarrassing event. While my uncles are disappointed that there is no evidence of their bravado, I, for one, am thankful for load-shedding practices in the state of Andhra Pradesh.