One of the reasons we intended to go to India this year was for my vadina's marriage (husband-ji's younger cousin-sister). They were begging us to come, so we caved in and booked the expensive flight tickets. Then, a week later...the wedding was canceled indefinitely!
The story goes like this - it was an arranged match. Both the families had agreed on a date from the astrologer. Both families are very traditional Telugu types. Then, one of the groom's relatives died. As per [South Indian] Hindu custom, it is inauspicious for a groom to get married within a year of the relative's death. So, they had to extend the engagement/wedding date to after the 1 year period was over - December 2014.
The engagement was set for December 1st and the wedding for December 7th, those being lucky dates for the couple. During this time, the couple had been getting to know each other better as they intended to get married.
Then, as Summer rolls around, another relative on the groom's side falls ill. This relative wants the young couple to go ahead with the marriage, no matter what happens. She does not want them to follow the custom of waiting another whole year. In [South Indian] Hindu custom, if an engagement is already performed, then the young couple has to get married no matter what, within a certain time frame. The families eagerly scramble to find an auspicious date within a week and set a last minute engagement ceremony so that the couple can go forth with the marriage, even if there is a death. The bride's side spends a lot of money getting the venue, priests, food, flowers, invitations printed, gold, clothing, and gifts.
Then, the relative unfortunately dies less than 24 hours before the engagement ceremony, and all hell breaks loose. All of a sudden the groom's family is blaming the bride and saying she is bad luck to their family. The groom's mother is saying not to get married. The bride's father is superstitious and doesn't want them to get married, but rather he wants her married to someone ELSE within 3 months. The groom only listens to his mother. The bride's aunt is now saying the groom's brother was disrespectful to her and she never approved of the match. The bride still wants to get married because she has started to love the groom. The groom does not. The family astrologer is saying there will be no "good dates" for the next few years. Neither one wants to wait two years.
Husband-ji was on the phone with his cousin-sister for about 4 hours as she was wailing. He asked her, "What do YOU want to do?" Apparently nobody had even asked her this question. He said, "Forget everybody. This is YOUR life, this is YOUR marriage and the person you will have to live with for the next 60 years. What do YOU want, for YOU?" He instructed her to go to a quiet place and think about what she wanted - not for her parents or anybody else.
In the end, another family member who practices astrology said that there were no good dates for 5 years. So that means that she would probably not get married until she was 28 - a normal ripe age in the Western world. I feel quite relieved for her because that way she will have some time to work on her career and life goals before she settles into
slavery married life!!!
The last we heard of this cousin-sister was that she wanted to come abroad to study in Canada. We were helping her research schools. Then her parents said it was too expensive, and basically pushed her to get married instead. Because, you know, if you're a girl in India, you apparently have to CHOOSE between getting an education, and being married off. (What the hell!) Of course now that everything has been cancelled, I'm betting her parents are regretting not investing that money into her Master's degree!
Quite an interesting scenario to witness. The first thing that struck me was that there were too many opinions being considered instead of the TWO people who were going to be in the union. Another is that I know from personal experience - when two people want to get married, nothing can stop them. Nothing. If the union was so easily broken by these things, then how would it survive 60+ years? So, maybe it just wasn't meant to be.
Anyway, we will be going to India for a vacation as we have already booked our tickets. But no wedding this time! Maybe we can crash another...?