It was a time of peerless freedom. I was a young Yogi travelling with a backpack, pen, diary and a camera travelling through villages, walking on the mud roads of rural India, in search of stories.
I had just finished a two-day assignment for an Indian magazine, documenting the popular cattle fair that took place around the ancient temple site of Pushkar. And while at it I had learnt that after this fair in the ancient city of Brahma, the camels will travel for weeks on road through the desert and forests, crossing the oldest hill range on earth, the Aravalli to take part in another fair, hundreds of miles down the western coast in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. I wanted to find that route and travel with them, with the camel tribes documenting, and writing about this beautiful, unusual journey.
But on my way, I couldn’t find any transport, which could have taken me to the state highway, from where I could find the travelling camels. It was night and I had stopped just before a forest that was about to start, fearing a wild animal or may be dacoits or anything else. It was the dark of a moonless night. I sat by the road, near an old temple, which was closed. There was no body to be seen. No human to ask for food or stay or even the way. It had been over an hour, and I had decided to call it a day. I was taking out my sleeping bag to slide in quietly on the temple floor when a dim sound of blaring loudspeaker started coming from far. It was really strange to hear something that sounded like a collective noise when for past one hour I had not even seen a dog. There was only one lamppost, far, hanging from a Neem Tree, the only light. Not enough to even see the symbols on the adjacent wall.
The sound slowly started feeling like a ceremony. The temple floor that I had chosen to sleep soon turned to be a stop for passing wedding processions, the families with brides and grooms used to stop and pray to the local temple deity before resuming their journey to the wedding ceremony. And within minutes the whole space transformed. People in jeeps arrived, followed by two buses. As the groom was entering the temple, with his family assisting him, our eyes met.
People had come prepared. Within minutes many groups had opened their mini bars, drinking in the dark under different trees, talking, laughing, planning, sitting, spitting, eating, drinking water from the hand pump. There was a well nearby behind which mothers took children to attend their calls of nature.
I was writing all these observations when the groom came out, he lit a cigarette and asked me how come am I here. I smiled and asked him if he is getting married? Yes. Where is the wedding? I asked, he said in Deesa, 200 kms from here on Rajasthan-Gujarat border. He took a deep puff. Are you alone? Yes. Would you like to come along? He asked, 5 seconds of thanking nature, i told him that if he does not mind I would like to document this journey! And since that moment I became groom’s personal documentarian.
It became one of the most distinct memories that i still carry. Sharing with you the next three days of my life with Khushwinder Meena and his wedding in Rajasthan.
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Long before starting this blog, for a few years i took up a project which i named A Rural Asian Wedding Travelogue, a project that i continued for a few years documenting rural weddings across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. I still wish to continue. If anyone reading this resides in a part of Indian continent, who would like his/her wedding or even a friends wedding to be documented, i will be very happy to hear from you.
Also read from the same project :
A song from my Parents wedding, also
To a monsoon wedding and a rare feast and
When a wedding found me travelling in Mumbai
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If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste
And I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;
As a Traveller, my lessons from ten years on the Road before you coarse on your own Road to Nara or come along becoming a part of this ever growing family.
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