It seems like only last year that we attended birthday parties of our friends’ kids, or had parties for ours. Little girls in frilly frocks, and smartly-turned-out little boys, all excited. Happy, noisy affairs. When our daughter was five, we had a cake with the Power Puff Girls beautifully made out of icing, eliciting delighted screeches from all the little girls. At one birthday party we attended, the five-year-old birthday girl had wanted Shah Rukh Khan on her cake, and the parents obliged. But when it came to cutting it, she backed off crying, because she didn’t want to slash Shah Rukh Khan’s face! Yesterday Apoorva, the daughter of our friends Tushar and Sunetra, got married.
This was a first – attending the wedding of a child of one of our friends. Sitting there trying to reconcile the image of the excited little girl on the roller skates we had given her on one of her birthdays, with that of the demure bride sitting in front of the sacred fire, head solemnly bowed, was hard in a way.
A rite of passage. For us, just a vicarious visit to the threshold of this phase. A quick peek and back. For Tushar and Sunetra, the liminal stage, an actual transition. From now on, society will view them as responsible parents who have secured their daughter’s future, and fulfilled their duty. That slight shift of perception will move them into the social group that’s done with child-raising. They will see themselves differently too. And, of course, they’ll miss their daughter terribly.
They now have a new relative, a son-in-law. The son they never had. And a whole new extended family of Rajasthanis who are excitingly different from their Konkani (Tushar) and Maharashtrian (Sunetra) selves. I mean, Tushar had to gift the bridegroom a sword, which he carried around throughout the ceremony! Peaceful Konkanis and Maharashtrians don’t get married with weapons on their person!