The Traditional Knot

This is actually a fiction article, some of the aspects are true real life experiences & some fabricated. Wrote this for my class assignment in my First Year. 

And the day for her to depart arrives, the house is filled with havoc, the atmosphere is tense, everyone has the gut feeling you get before an exam, but what she feels it something none of them can truly understand.

 

She spent 20 years of her life in this very house she is being sent away from, the days she laughed & cried, the days when she played hide and seek with her siblings, when she used to come running home from school just to watch her favorite cartoon, her teddy bears, her books, dairies, all of the things that mattered to her will be left behind, even her family.

 

As she sits on the staircase; tying her shoes leaving; for the beauty parlour to get ready for the big day. She recalls every bit & second of her life. How she saw the world through her mum’s eyes at first, how she eventually evolved as an adult & understood things from her own point of view.

 

“Urooj come on! we are getting late, you can’t spend the entire day just wearing your shoes” calls her mum. Urooj comes out of her trances & walks to meet her family. Her relatives are busy running around, for the final touches of the wedding.

 

It’s a tradition that has evolved in the past years; the bride meets her family before leaving for the parlour. As it’s a sentimental moment for the bride & her family, they usually cry & say their good-byes before hand, so that at the time of the Ruksati (the departure) the bride doesn’t ruin her makeup. Well yes, the makeup is very important; looking good in the wedding is the main task.

As the Bride sat in the car, all teary, I asked her: “How did it all start”

 

“Well” she begins, “Like they say marriage’s happen in haven, I had gone to a wedding & there my mother in law saw me & liked me for her older son, Kashif (the groom). Well then the ritual happened they came to my house with the proposal & my parents liked his family & asked me if I wanted to tie the knot with him, as I have come from a family background where parents know the best, I agreed obediently”

“So you didn’t want to know the boy before your marriage” I ask.

“Well  we got engaged first , a ring exchanging ceremony, where the grooms mom comes & gives me a ring, it was a small ceremony with close relatives & after that I was free to talk to him, we talked for about 6 months & when I was comfortable with him & knew he was right for me I gave my parents the green signal”

“And that leads to today?”

“Not exactly, after 6 months of the engagement, we got married, well the English word would be married but its Nikkah, and we signed the papers as husband & wife”

 

This is the main Islamic ritual where the bride & groom say “I Do” in front of 4 eyewitnesses ( preferably men) & sign papers, they are legally husband & wife from that day onwards, but it depends on the families if they want to take their bride home or not. In Urooj’s case, she wanted to study further so they delayed the Ruksati (departure) for a year.

 

As we reach the parlour & wait for her turn.

 

Urooj recalls how after her Nikah she was nervous to get into such a bond, it is every girl dream to be married one day but when the day arrives, she says shes just very tensed, she has a knot in her stomach.

Marriage is between Families and not 2 individuals, that’s what is truly believed in Pakistan & the groom being the eldest in his family, she will have a lot of responsibility on her shoulders.

As Urooj is called in: for her makeup, where I cannot enter. I recall the past week, full of energy & chaos.

The wedding started with the Mayoon Ceremony. The bride’s beautification begins almost a week prior to the wedding, in some households months before, the brides confided to the walls of her house & applied Ubtan (a paste made from turmeric, sandalwood powder, herbs and aromatic oils, which groom’s mother brings for the bride.) The brides exempted from all household chores & the bride & groom can’t meet each other. The symbolic colour is yellow.

When  Urooj sat for her mayoon, she wore a gorgeous yellow dress. The house was lightened up & filled with songs. The same is done for the groom too, at his place.

 

“The thing about Pakistani weddings are that they celebrate each moment to make it memorable & it has somehow become a competition to see who does their wedding best,color” Says the bride’s brother.

 

The Rasm-e-Mehndi was 4 days later, during this period the family was busy shopping & doing Dohlkis (a popular instrument which is drummed & songs are sung on its beat) all night long.

The Rasm-e-Mehndi day was a hectic one. The hall was decorated with roses & Marigold flowers, which is the symbolic of mehndi. The color is Green. The bride wore a yellow, red & green colored dress. The male’s all wore off white kurtas & green Dupatta’s (scarfs). The ladies were a ribbon of red, greens & yellows. It was a lavish event, the bride applied henna on her hands & feet, Sadka (warding off evil) was performed on the bride i.e. donating money circling three times on the bride’s head. Traditionally the mehndi is brought by groom’s parents. The bride’s sister hold the grooms smallest finger & apply mehdi on it & ask for some money: these Rasms are just for fun & entertainment.

The ceremony was held collectively, the bride & groom’s mehndi was combined, though it is usually a separate event but as modernization began these events are held together, to become more economical.

 

And this brings us to today; Urooj came out of the room & looks ravishing in red, again the traditional brcolour. She is taken to the hall, where we await the Barat (the groom’s entry with his family) the halls filled with well-wishers.

 

The Barat comes with a BANG! There are Dohl wala’s & high pitched noise, crackers & boys dancing. The bride’s family greets the groom’s & asks them to sit. The bride enters once the grooms settled & take her place on the stage, where the pictures & wishing ceremony begins. The foods served & the guests eat while the families attend.

 

Another fun tradition is the Duhd Pelai (Milk drinking) the grooms asked to drink some milk & again pay the sisters. After this it’s time for the bride to leave for her new house, it’s a sad moment as the bride’s family cry & wishes her well. Urooj, who dreaded this moment the whole day breaks down, hugs her mum & cries.

 

“It isn’t easy for anyone to start a life a new with strangers,” says a guest.

 

The brother holds the Quran (Holy Book) on the brides head & takes her to the decorated car where she sits & the hugs the groom. The brides said her last goodbyes.

 

Couples are made in Heaven they say & it’s our job to unite them on earth. Wishing the couple a happily married life; after a successful event.

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