Last week, the wife and i visited Chandipur to attend a Marriage-Reception.
Chandipur is the place from where surface-to-surface missiles like Agni and Prithvi are test-launched by the Indian Defence Department. It is a beach on the Bay of Bengal. In the beginning, a question arose in my mind - Why is it called ‘Chandipur-on-Sea’? Similarly, there is another place called 'Gopalpur-on-Sea'. Why not simply Chandipur or Gopalpur? Puri is not called ‘Puri-on-Sea' and Kolkata is not called 'Kolkata-on-Sea'!
The venue of the reception and our accommodation was two minutes’ walk from the sea. We had arrived in the evening preceding the reception. Early morning next day, we strolled on the beach. During the previous night, the water had receded about a kilometer from the beach. I was told that many times water recedes almost 5 kilo meters. It comes back and the waves touch the beach during the day. We visited the beach again at about 10 PM. The waves were beating against the golden sand intermittently. The full winter moon was shedding its soothing light and the waves were reflecting it as an elongated and moving stretch, creating a wonderful sight. The chill of December added to the charm of the experience. I had observed a similar phenomenon on a beach in Malaysia. Why does this happen? Why does the sea recede during the night? I had taken advantage of this phenomenon at Malaysia, to collect a large and lovely coral (which otherwise remains under water at other times). The water had receded during the night exposing the corals. I collected one coral during my morning walk on the beach. I have fixed a base for it with plaster of Paris covered with varnish and the piece occupies a pride of place in my drawing room, providing us with a good conversation-piece with our visitors. (Taking away corals is not permissible in Malaysia but i had managed it :))))))
Now about the marriage. It was a love-marriage. The boy is a Hindu and the girl, a Muslim. A thought swayed my mind. Love-marriages are breaking down caste and community barriers in India. In this way, love-marriages are helping integration of Indians. We may be educated; we declare ourselves as broad-minded. We say that we do not believe in the caste-system. Yet when the time for looking for a bride or a groom for our offspring comes, we fall back on the old customs and practice. In case of arranged marriages, almost all parents look within their castes and communities and never think outside these self-imposed boundaries! Now, more and more young people are choosing their own life-partners and in many cases, they do not confine themselves to their own caste or community. (Kyonki pyar kiya nahi jata hai; pyar ho jata hai!) Definitely this is helping national integration. Maybe, in the not so distant future, as education spreads and more and more girls take up jobs, love-marriages will become the norm in India rather than the exception that they are now. I must hasten to add here that i am not entering into a debate on arranged marriages vs. love marriages.
This reminds me of a TV ad. In it, the daughter-in-law, apparently a person who preferred love-marriage, mischievously asks her loving grandmother-in-law if the latter’s was a love-marriage or an arranged one. The good old lady, responding in the same spirit of joviality, replies, “His (her husband’s) barat was at our door; I could no longer suppress my curiosity and looked down from the balcony and by coincidence, he looked up at the same time. Our eyes met. Hua na love-marriage!”
Talking of marriages, my mind travels to marriage-invitation cards. I notice that almost all the marriage-invitation cards received by me in the recent past, are in English, although i know for sure that with rare exceptions, all the invitees are locals. Then why not print the invitation cards in the local languages which will provide more natural and pleasurable reading ? Do the hosts think that the invitees cannot read the local language, or is it to show that they have arrived? To make matters worse, in many cases, there are mistakes galore in the cards printed in English which are not easy on the eyes of people who like correct and good English! If some of the invitees are from abroad or other places and do not know the local language, about 100 of the cards can be gotten printed in English without any additional cost!
Also, the legend on the welcome-arch ('Rashmi weds Ranganath') is always (you guessed it!) in English.
One more thing. Almost all the invitation cards end with Smt. So and So, and below that, Sri So and So. as the hostess and the host respectively. It is forgotten here that while it is courteous to add the Sri or Smt. to the names of the addressees, one should not add these prefixes while writing one’s own name.
After two glorious and fun-filled days, we returned home, of course, without forgetting my first love and favourite pastime; I requested for and received for my garden, generous gifts from the hostess (she is an old buddy of the wife), a few saplings, cuttings and seeds from her lovely garden, resplendent and bursting with winter colours. :))))))))))))))))
Although we were out for only 2 days, after returning we felt like we had come back from a long vacation. It is very refreshing and rejuvenating to leave one's place and go out for a few days for a change.