Three days ago the wedding film arrived.
A couple of months back during the Easter holiday my eldest cousin got married. She was the first one in the family. Her being the eldest we would always plan and talk about her getting married since we were young girls, I mean who doesn’t. but it all happened so fast. It was announced three months or so prior to the actual big day. The preparation period was such a mad rush of; painting little clay pots for the mehndi, fighting in Southall over bridesmaids dress colours, mum having a breakdown trying to find all of us siblings outfits, organising a gift basket for the bride and the biggest headache went to the mini documentary/slideshow that my sister made. She interviewed all 6 bridesmaids and slotted it into a slideshow of photos of our bride through the years.
When I look back at all these wedding shenanigans I remember a collection of memories, meeting and making new friends and the strengthening of relationships. It was a special time for us all.
I had finished my uni term earlier than the others so I went a couple a days earlier to the wedding household. The plan was that all the bridesmaids would stay the week following up to the wedding, help out with guests and set up the house for dholki nights leading up to the mehndi. The wedding was on the Saturday, we would then all go back home on the Sunday afternoon, to prepare for the following weekends walima. Which was being held in Paris!
All of the festivities happened so quick, in between all of the plates of mithai, cups of chai and the frying of spring rolls there were special moments that really stood out. Being an emotional person I was finding it hard keeping all emotions in check. She was the older sister I never had. The one who carefully guided me through my awkward teenage years, the shoulder to lean on and the all round wise one. This cousin that we all loved and respected was moving away, to start a new life with a new family and a new chapter in her life.
We would only have a few hours sleep each night and during the day we would be running on pure adrenalin. On the morning of the mehndi I woke up to find a message from the bride. I looked over to her across the room ( we were all scattered all over the floors like squatters) she just gave me the cheekiest grin. So I turned to my phone and opened to find a photo of Atif Aslam ON HIS WEDDING DAY. you can’t even imagine how I felt! but that’s how the day began with great banter and ended in emotional messy faces. In the evening after arriving back from the mehndi we all squeezed into the living room and played the film we had made her. It was only by watching all the photos flicking through on the screen, you’re made to remember all the moments you shared, all the good times and the more difficult ones you helped each other through.
The wedding morning was nothing but utter chaos we all had to be dressed and out of the house by noon. There were fights for mirrors, bathroom time, make up and general clashes between the larger personalities. But somehow we were all dressed on time ready for the photographer to snap away. Most of the Adults had left for the venue and the bride and us bridesmaids were waiting for cars. As usual I was flapping around the house making sure I hadn’t forgotten to take anything.
The Bride’s mother asked me if I had seen the brother of the bride. No one had seen him in a while. She went outside and I walked past the front room. Through the glass door I could make out his figure in the back of the room. I went in to find him sitting down hunched over. I called his name but he didn’t respond. I thought perhaps he was feeling ill. During the week he had been full of energy and banter. This was out of character and I was slightly weirded out. Then I realised he was crying. Like for God’s sake we had all kept it under control, no tears, even the bride had remained calm. But here was her grown ass brother crying! (he doesnt read my blog so its all good :p) He didn’t take long to set me off. I ordered him to snap out of it and stay strong for his sister, she was going to need all her family’s support.
It was an endearing moment, him and his sister were the pair who would fight like cat and dog and never seemed to get along. I think at times she felt that he didn’t care about her at all. But it turned out that he cared a lot, moments like these were rare and precious.
So the rukhsathi time finally came and we all had to bid her farewell. Amongst all the chaos I found myself standing besides the Father of the bride. It was a surreal moment. I looked up at him, he was crying. I felt like I should say something but I couldn’t. So instead I carried on walking behind the bride and towards the front of the venue. Along the way the bride’s sister began walking beside me. Me and her crying together continued to walk down.
Upon reflection the whole experience and emotions seems weird. But when I place myself in the same scene again I understand all the emotions. It wasn’t just letting her go, we were bidding farewell to her youth and celebrating her becoming a woman and entering a new chapter in her life, not to forget also welcoming brother in law aka ‘JEEJ’ into our crazy circle!
Looking across the room I could see several uncles shedding a tear. It was weird having never seen any of them so emotional. But her getting married was the first domino and they all knew that their daughters time was only round the corner. The dominoes already started falling this summer!
This post was an attempt. I can’t fully grasp or convey the excitement, happiness and sadness we felt at the time. Although when I look back on these events there’s this little niggling feeling telling me something amazing took place that changed us all and our relationships.