Mom has been prepping away for months, researching every vaideeka ritual, remembered and forgotten, for my wedding. It is going to be a no-ritual-omitted 5 day traditional Iyengar wedding.
I have always believed in fasts and poojas and sahasranama parayanas each day that I took a fancy to and I did some through this month and the some days of the last.
Each invite is simple, but personalized as mom wished and I know now that the longest time is invested in inviting people. We are nowhere near completing the drive :) Especially because it was split between only my mom and I. And when I began my fast mom did it alone.
I have always been piqued about the reasons some rituals are done and the wedding rituals are fascinating, especially because our purohit explained every detail.
Right from planning the songs that will be traditionally sung during the wedding, to personally designing and ordering the madisaar (and every other sari that I will wear) and Rahul's muhurta veshti (she wanted his veshti to be grand as well, since she believed somehow the girl always ends up looking good and the boy's cotton veshti ends up looking quite sad by the end of a couple of hours), to the manner in which people will be invited for the muhurtam and top it all off, the rituals will involve a bullock cart and a horse drawn carriage. And let me tell you, it's not for the Janavasam :)
I wanted to follow every bit of the aachaaram and the 'madi' and the fasting that is done during a wedding. Until all the rituals associated with the wedding is over the bride and the groom are to eat only certain foods.
Mom is documenting every bit of the processes running upto the rituals and the rituals itself. I just got to know that there is a sweet ritual associated with Pon urukkardhu meaning melting the gold for the thirumangalyam.
I also knew during this time that the Thaali is bought (or preferably made specifically by a goldsmith) only on a muhurtam closest to the wedding. A thali is never bought months in advance and stored, because there is a belief system that a Thali should not be 'made to wait'. There is another belief system that no unfortunate event (like the demise of a close/distant relative) should happen while the Thali is kept in the house and this is another reason why the it is bought as close to the wedding as possible. Thereafter the purohit threads it in a prepared 'charadu' at a time before the wedding. Changing this charadu into a gold chain is another small ritual done a few weeks after the wedding apparently. I don't know the details of this yet.
Nonetheless I have used this time to pray and fast more than anything else. And mom is enjoying herself documenting the process :)
The same time last year I had no idea I would end up being married. It was not even the closest thought in my mind. In a way, I'd decided to remain single. Mom kept lamenting I must marry while I'd categorically argue that there is no point and I hadn't met anyone who was a vegetarian, a non-smoker and a teetotaler I'd like to marry. Rahul ended up being all that. :)
I haven't decided if I'll change my name to Chinmayi Chary after the wedding or remain Chinmayi Sripaada. For practical purposes changing my name would mean confusion with audio labels.
Life is good. And I am grateful for another wish coming true. :)