A Rural Asian Wedding Travelogue
Comments 15

The Wedding Song

In her wedding dress that one day she stopped counting years

 

I met J uncle on a very cold january morning this year. It was raining and we stood outside an empty swimming pool. His room – 705, is just beneath my room – 805, where i am writing this.

J uncle had his own quiet world till he met my sister. My sister, Ruspsi is a kathak dancer(banaras gharana). J uncle would not know about it for a month till one day they meet in the elevator, she moved and her ghungroo rolled from her bag.

J uncle and his lovely wife had come from Banaras. In a quest to live with their son, they sold their house. They used to sing all morning there, he told me.

He disliked it here. Everything. But he never spoke about it. He was just visibly sad. In his walk, thats how mostly i saw of him. A singer coming from a gharana who doesn’t sing anymore. In the meantime J uncle grew fond of my sister and attended one of her performances in Delhi. That day I imagine he was the most happiest person present in the auditorium.

In many evenings that i spent in Delhi, we met, went on walks together, always in a circle crossing the empty swimming pool. We somehow never spoke when we crossed that swimming pool. Now Rati, my sister would be getting married in a month.

One morning he called me downstairs at his place. He sat amongst 100s of old cassettes laid out on his bed. Looking at me, he said. 34 years ago i composed a song for my niece’s wedding. Would you please play it for Rupsi when Jaimal happens ! And it was played when Jaimaal happened. I am posting it for readers to hear what he composed, back in the time when he lived in Varanasi.

This also came at a time when I had only recently started working on my ambitious project of documenting Rural Weddings in India. The above image is of my friend Amita’s wedding in Chhattisgarh. The Project is still a work in development. 

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Hi, I am Narayan Kaudinya. And i welcome you on this journey, the Road to Nara ! I am an Ethnographer and a practicing Indologist. I did my masters in History and further learnt Sanskrit, Yoga and Nerve-therapy. At 24, pushing most academic sounding, office sitting works away, i felt compelled to know and understand the world and my country, Bharat/India. I travelled, and as it happened i took up teaching in Kashmir and further up in the remote villages of Baltistan in the foothills of Karakoram Ranges. For around three years and many states later there came a time when i felt that it was only while teaching i learnt how to laugh, to see, feel, breathe, love and cry -with children, and mostly resource-less parents in the harshest-freezing border conditions. I write, and work as a documentary photographer and Filmmaker, with numerous published, exhibited and some awarded stories. In my travels and life i have let nature lead me, the divine mother, and as a Yogin, my resolve here is to share my experiences and thoughts as honestly, and through them to blossom in everyone the power and possibility in pursuing your breath, that you seek your true nature with courage and curiosity. Here, on this road i will share my spirit, my love for nature, the elements of life that are us. And in doing so, i'll be happy to see you along.

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