I’ve finally fulfilled my itinerary in Jodhpur, including a day trip to the old kingdom of Mandore. But on my way back to my guest house (Ganpati GH), there was a bit of traffic. My auto rickshaw (CNG) had to wait at the shoulder of the road to allow a parade or procession. A congregation was parading a groom around town. There was a band playing, and a white horse was decked in colorful garments and accoutrements. At first, I almost missed the groom. He was sitting behind the horse (see first photo above), immobile, with his face garnished with mostly white garlands. His face was hidden, which must mean something in Bharat Ceremonies. I've seen a ceremonial wedding program in Hyderabad as well and I found it fascinating. As for this parade, it was fun to witness this matrimonial rite and I had ring-side seats to the marching crowd.
I was told that the pre-wedding ceremonies include engagement (involving vagdana or oral agreement and lagna-patra or written declaration; probably analogous to the marriage contract and the exchange of "I do's"), and arrival of the groom's party at the bride's residence, often in the form of a formal procession, such as the parade I was witnessing. It involves a lot of flowers too. In fact, this includes a flower bed ceremony (the marital bed, expected to be consummated on their wedding night, is filled with flowers by the groom’s family).
From my reverie, a young boy suddenly appeared before me, while I was comfortably sitting inside my “tuktuk”. He smiled and pointed at my camera. “Take my picture,” he ordered. Then he smiled. He was good looking despite his gapped teeth, I had to laugh while he waited for me to show him the finish product. Then he left and rejoined the parade just as fast! Indian children, as I have mentioned time and again, are among the world’s most delightful and hospitable population. They are good natured – and, well, cute!
"Take my photo," he ordered me.
Later in the day, I ventured in Jodhpur's new city limits near the train station. I was checking out tea products and bought 3 varieties. I’ve taken to the taste of tea, something I didn’t acquire during my London stay. I’ve begun to favor India’s masala tea (the one that’s being peddled during train rides) – with milk, of course! I found myself in a shop selling only tea products. There were wall to wall shelves of teas originating from the different regions of India. They had mint tea, rose tea, chrysanthemum tea, chocolate tea – every flavor you can imagine! My favorite – since then – has been the ones coming from Kashmir! After purchasing some, the owner’s children (photo below) went up to me to say hello! Children – MY welcoming party, didn’t I say?
I was to leave Jodhpur that night. There was a lingering feeling of sadness. It was a pleasant place to visit, and I felt safe! I will see you, Jodhpur! May the heavens bless its people.
This is the Eye in the Sky!