We reached the school compound and waited. Initially, nothing happened. After 10 – 15 mins, The familiar band stuck up and about 8 – 10 ladies came dancing out of the village. They were doing the ‘welcome’ dance. Very soon, others joined in and in no time at all, I think there were about 70 – 80 of them dancing in the open ground, under the blazing sun – the temperature was around 47 degC!
The bride was hidden in a group of ladies and the people from the boy’s village came out looking for her, found her and carried her to the gates of the village where again there were several welcoming rituals done.
We all entered the village and as was the custom, were allocated space and rations handed over. Our guys started the job of cooking food.
There was more dancing.
I was sitting in a group of people – two of them politicians. There was a guy – it seems he was promised the CM’s chair if he won. Unfortunately, he didn’t. From the way he was talking, he seemed to be a smart chap – he was talking about a dam, which I intend to write about in one of my future newsletters.
The other one was a lady politician – we were all having the rice beer and she took care to see that her glass was covered with a handkerchief!
There was a ‘wise aleck’ who was sitting with me – he was President of the World Council of Tribals or something like that. He turned around and asked me “So, you’ve come to see the tribals?” I got a bit annoyed by this – as if I had come for some show. I told him “I’ve come for a friend’s daughter’s wedding”. My annoyance must have showed and he stopped talking like that.
Then the actual marriage ceremony started. The pandit was rather special – he was the one who conducted the marriage ceremony of my friend’s parents, my friend’s, his elder daughter’s and now he was getting the younger one married! He was probably a hundred years old! I noticed that the young couple paying close attention to whatever he said and in addition there were about three guys around him. It seems, if people did not do exactly as he said, he would fly into a rage! The ‘kanyadaan’ was done by her uncle.
Again, many politicians along with their gun toting guards – Mr.Madhu Koda was also present.
More dancing after the wedding ceremony. We had our freshly cooked dinner. The meat came from freshly slaughtered goats.
It was almost midnight when we headed back.
To be continued……only one more
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