This long email will be mostly from Loren. He is in India now and this is his account of VASENTA’S WEDDING
The drive to the bride’s village was about hour and a half, the last mile or so being on a gravel ox cart path through rolling farmland. These tribal people earn their living from making and selling wine (liquor, the real hard stuff). I am guessing the village to be about 100 to 150 people. Not large, but considering it is a tribal village, it is large. Most of the houses are made of mud and cow dung walls with tile roofs
Our welcome was warm, especially by the people from Vasenta’s village who know us. I felt very well received considering NO outsiders are usually welcome.
Lined up on this narrow “road” were three vans like our Qualis that had brought people from other Pradhi There are about 10 villages in this Pradhi jungle tribe. Vasenta Is very well respected and he is the first PERSON to ever attend school from any of these villages. So his wedding was a BIG deal. He had asked that there would be NO drinking at his wedding.
The groom was waiting outside of the village for our arrival. He had call Dr. Suresh 7 times during the morning to be sure we were coming. He was decked out with his new suit and beaded head- gear. His mother was there also to greet us. She was so happy that we had come.
Later his father came to me to be sure that I knew he was not drunk, because drunk is the only way I have ever seen him. He also had on a matching pant and jacket, not in his “god” clothes. Normally, he is drunk and naked.
The wedding was organized confusion, as there were about 10 people trying to direct the action—not sure if anybody really knew what to do or when to do it. There was more yelling and hollering than ceremony. Somehow they got things moving.
I went into the Hindu temple to take some picture and had to take off my shoes. The floor was dirt and therefore my white sock changed color quickly. I just gave up on the socks and put my shoe back on later barefooted.
The bride was not to be seen, as she was at the local assembly hall getting the final touches to makeup.
Vasenta’s married sister said, “They don’t keep a very clean house, not like my mother.” (If only you knew what that meant in regards to their’ past history.) I asked her if Vasenta’s new wife was going to need to learn how to keep a clean house and she laughed, “Vasenta helps with the cleaning because he wants it clean.” What a great example of Jesus in action.
What is so amazing to me is to see the conditions that most of these people live in and then see the beautiful saris they are wearing, it is hard to comprehend.
The ceremony began with drums, trumpet and dancing; the dancing is to collect money for the groom. Remember that the bride is the “liability” and the gifts are for the groom. We finally arrive at the pendal (a colorful cloth tent) for the ceremony.
The groom was driven all of two blocks in a WHITE car/van to the entrance. (Wealthier Indians ride on a white horse) As he got out and started into the pendal area he stopped for the longest time. There were more rituals to do and ALSO he had to put on his new shoes. I have never seen him with any shoes other than sandals. Well, he needed help, as he did not know how to put on the socks or tie the shoelaces. (Many of our staff tells us that the first time they wore shoes was at their wedding.)
FINALLY he enters the pendal to a raised platform with the “YES” the red chairs. Colored rice was handed out to everybody for the next big event. The bride came out from the adjacent building without much ado!!!!! Recorded music was played, at ear braking volume, as the bride and groom stood facing each other with a shawl held between them. They were not to look at each other or smile. Every so often rice was thrown. This must have happened at least ten times. I felt like I was getting sprayed with a rice gun. It was hard to take pictures with rice going down the back of my shirt, in what hair I have and because it is colored it stuck to everything, even my camera.
After this ceremony was over I went forward to take pictures of just the bride and groom in the “indispensable” red chairs, an almost impossible feat, like getting ants off chocolate cake. Everybody, especially the children, wanted to get in the pictures.
Before leaving it was of utmost importance that Vasenta garland me. He was so thankful that I would care this much about he and his family to come to his wedding.
NEXT, will be a reception at Vasenta’s village. Vasenta is a confessed believer in Christ but participated in a Hindu ceremony so that he can continue to have an influence on the tribes. This ceremony will have a Christian influence at the request of Vasanta.