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Marriage - Part II
In continuation...........

However, having acceded to Baba's demand I left for Lucknow. A family friend helped me arrange one such accommodation. Baba had asked me to leave on the sixth march positively before 2 pm. The guests and friends started coming over and our house was full with friends and relatives on the 05th evening. We had Baba's darshan* on the 04th March as he had been camping intermittently in Allahabad.

Indian weddings are a great mix of worshipping and fun in abundance. There are prayers, religious offerings and family deity invoked. Lord Ganesh is specially invoked so he may be pleased and shower his blessings over the marriage ceremonies and make them peaceful.

The departed elders are invited to descend from heavens to attend the ceremonies and a special offering is performed for them. The main marriage ceremony itself is full of spirituality. The ceremony lasts throughout the night including bridal send off in the morning and there is constant chanting of mantras from the Vedas and the Upanishads. The priest from groom's side and the bride's side are well versed in the spiritual scriptures.

The religious ceremonies continue till the bride arrives at groom's place. The ladies are dressed in bright native dresses, all of them wearing ornaments of gold, nose and earrings, often of diamonds. They sing and dance in their spare time after the domestic chores are over. In the night, they all gather, sing, dance and do mimicry of the elders or each other's husbands. The men folk peep in on the sly and admire the females from a distance. The eligible bachelors make mental match with the girls who are not related to them. In all, everyone enjoys the ceremony lasting 4-5 days. There is fun for every age and gender. Long forgotten relatives, who have not seen each other for years, rejuvenate their relationship and vow to keep it alive for keeps.

Our marriage party left precisely at 01:50 pm on the 06th March 1970 with 39 people on board including the groom that was me. We had elderly relatives, boisterous noisy kids. All relatives had responded as I being the eldest son, mine was the first wedding in my generation. About 50 Kms out of Allahabad, the marriage party got off from the bus to have an afternoon tea. I also got off and at the tea shop, we met a first cousin of my father who was a Professor in the University of Allahabad and had stopped at the tea shop en route to Lucknow...He expressed his inability to join us for the wedding as he had to conduct viva-voice exam at Lucknow University. While parting, I touched his feet and he wished best of luck to me. I instinctively shot back, "I will now need every bit of it, sir".

Another 40 Kms of travel, the bus was now hitting 70 Kmph. The driver probably handed over the steering to the conductor and while negotiating a curve, he lost his balance and steering slipped from his hand. The bus swerved twice as if being peacefully and forcefully pulled by some invisible hands, turned on its side and slid across the road, making screeching noise and stopped.

The glass panes shattered in and the driver's front wind screen also shattered into tiny pieces and fell into the bus. Before anyone could realise the bus stopped with everyone turning topsy turvy. They did not know what had happened. I shouted asking all to be calm and quiet assuring that nothing would happen to them.

The front windscreen opening became a get away door. Everyone collected himself and passed through it. I also came out and did a quick head count of the escapees. My cousin sister aged 09 and cousin brother Sagar could not be seen. I went back again and found my niece Mukta lying on the bus floor sandwiched between the floor and a trunk. This saved her from an injury. Sagar had a back injury and he could not stand up. He was out of the bus, assisted by willing hands. It was getting dark and highway heist was a distinct possibility. We were kind of helpless and waving to every passing bus or car. None stopped to help us. Just then the uncle of mine who had wished me luck 40 Km back was seen coming in the car. He stopped, saw what was needed and arranged a full bus from the nearby town called Raibareilly. The District Magistrate was his ex-student and being the head of the district, he could send a bus to take us to Lucknow immediately. We reached Lucknow at 09 pm, tired and perturbed. On hearing about our arrival and the accident, my friend's aunt came to where we were staying and took over the care of all of us, including providing food. diamond wedding dresses
To be continued............

Excerpts from "I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE: THE GRAND UNIFICATION" Chapter "I GO TO MAKE A LIVING" written by Shri Rabboo Joshi.

Jai Babaji ki