I got married on a Wednesday. In India. In a tiny little room, on a dusty little street, I stepped through a crowd of people, maneuvered my way around and over a cluster of mothers nursing their babies, kicked off my glittery sandals, sat on the floor in my bare feet and married Andrew.
As far as Wednesdays go, this one was pretty cool.
I love weddings. I love the buzz and the bling and all that weddings represent, the excitement, the hopes and dreams of two people setting forth on their lives together. I love the dancing and the speeches, the feast and gathering with friends and families. I’ve stood up with friends as a bridesmaid. I’ve read Bible passages and poems and even shared my own words at weddings. I have relished the opportunity to share space at the altar with friends as I’ve facilitated ceremonies celebrating their love. But my own wedding? I never really thought much about it. Getting married has never really been a thing for me. My little girl dreams weren’t of white gowns and wedding bells, but of jewel-toned, far-away places, windy roads, wandering and wondering.
A few months ago I was walking home from the vegetable market and was stopped dead in my tracks by a powerful feeling. It was a hot, hazy day; the street was bustling with cars and tuk-tuks and cows and people and motorcycles. Music poured out of a crackly speaker at the temple and my arms strained under the weight of the grocery bags.
The heat and the sound and the smell and the dust…I had dreamt of that very moment, of walking on that very street. And so it was months later on a hot, hazy day as I left the quiet bubble of my car to find myself surrounded by hundreds of people all in the same place for the same purpose. There, on another little road, in the heart of a city of 5 million people were guests and grooms and brides in bright colors adorned with flowers and jewels, just like me.
On that little road, this bride looked through the crazy crowd of brides and grooms and spotted her groom. He was looking for me, glowing amidst the sea of people. Andrew was waiting to marry me. We’d each been wandering and wondering around the world until we found each other. I broke into the biggest smile I have ever smiled and hurried through the throngs of people; I couldn’t wait to marry Andrew.
In our quest to keep it simple, we got married on our own. Our only witnesses were six amazing folks who helped us get here, settle here and thrive here. And while we missed our families and friends as we stepped out onto the road as husband and wife for the first time, we were met, instead, by India. By the colors and crowds and chaos that brought us together in the first place. Grooms clamored to shake Andrew’s hand. Brides peeked at me and smiled, touching my decorated hands gently with theirs.
We were tiny. We were larger than life.
Our intimate, hybrid Hindu/Western ceremony was one of hundreds of ceremonies that were held on that dusty street that auspicious day.
We circled the altar, hand in hand. We exchanged garlands and tied turmeric around each other’s wrists. We prayed. We offered gratitude to our parents, our brothers, our friends and to all those who support and love us. We sat next to each other and looked into each other’s eyes as we exchanged our vows. We kissed (much to the Brahmin priests delight!) and laughed and cried.
Our ceremony was one of thousands held in temples throughout Chennai that day, one of millions held in India. And while they may not all be love marriages, ours surely is…
Each day of my life has led me to this one. I am grateful for them all, but Wednesdays will forever be my favorite.