The Mehndi (મહેંદી) Celebration of Samir and Amruta – My Return to India: Day Five

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Entry #5

While I was editing this morning I observed the prayers by the elders in the home. I found out that the framed picture above the couch is of the present spiritual leader of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS). His name is Pramukh Swami Maharaj. As soon as I heard the acronym "BAPS" I immediately remembered that I did a photo session at a BAPS Temple in the US. I began asking more questions and followed up on my research through the internet. I learned why I have been greeted with Jai Swaminarayan by some and Jai Shree Krishna by others.

Directly outside the gates of the home a transportation crew repaired the street. I was worried that the women's feet would be burned by the hot asphalt. The workers paid me no mind and continued with their task.

I needed to walk so I found a new route to survey the area. Along the way I passed an uncle and joined him on his motor bike. What a ride through the city! By the time we returned home lunch preparations were underway. I introduced myself to the caterer and the cooking staff but I only photographed one person. I was attracted by the posture of this woman diligently rolling a chipati. The man in the rear gives way to realism in the composition.

The henna designs for the children started early before I left to go to the Mehndi. Also, bags were being stuffed with of candy for guests.

We drove out to Nita's (bride's mom) home village for the evening celebration. The landscape of the home had been transformed with lights strung from the palm trees and colorful decorations extending from the balcony of the house.

The back yard was full of family, friends, and food. I ate until I was stuffed.

Tattoo artists carefully inked designs with the henna paste and the customers waited patiently still for the masterpieces to dry.

Amruta's uncle was responsible for a majority of the planning. After snapping a picture of the two together I tried to find the groom's name in Amruta's design.

The night was full of sweet and festive moments.

A guitarist provided entertainment for the evening. I stole a few minutes away with the couple to privately capture their joy.

Siblings danced.

Intermingled families danced too.

Friends of the bride and groom organized a flash mob style dance. Family members had special performances throughout the night.

The bride surprised everyone and sang to her groom. Many of us stood in awe, including the groom. whose countenance was as if Amruta was the only person in the world.

As the energy began to wind down, individual conversations took over for a while.

The night ended with a fireworks show that rivaled a New Year's celebration. My favorite photo of the night was the family standing together, holding one another and gazing out at the explosions. Today was an awesome day!!



Darcita said...

can't wait to see the rest:)