Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding – Part 3

Kashmiri Wedding

Kashmiri Wedding - Part 3

For those of you who have visited my blog before, you might have already read a little something about the Kashmiri Wedding here.

While preparation of food (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding)  is a very elaborate and lavish affair, the process of finding your soul-mate, the koshur-way is a complicated and tiring process (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding – Part 2. )

While talking of the match-making process, I had actually talked of how the ‘thap’ or ‘catching the bride’ is done. 🙂 [It is nothing like it sounds really – don’t start visualizing the savage men running after and catching women. It is a very simple (though in cities it can get very complicated .. but that is another topic), affair. The girl meets the boy’s family and is given a gift as a proof of consent for the marriage.

Dry Fruit, Cakes, Chocolates - Kashmiri Wedding

Dry Fruit, Cakes, Chocolates - spread the word - its the thap!

Now after the ‘thap’ has been done, the marital knot has to be formally declared and this is done in so many phases. (Yes, this is also rather complicated). The boy’s family sends sweets, cakes, dry-fruits and chocolates (now-a-days) to the girl’s family. This is for the girl and for distribution to family, neighbors and friends to announce the ‘thap’ (literally catching) or ‘gandun’ (literally tying up). The girl’s family reciprocate and send their lot of sweets etc. to the boy’s family which is again distributed among their relatives, friends and neighbours.

This marks the official announcement of the marriage intention.

The next stage is the very lavish function called ‘Nishayn’ (literally would translate to symbol) or the ‘Engagement’ ceremony. This is a very formal occasion and is mostly a bride’s family function where the groom’s close family and friends are invited to a very lavish (this is one of the most extravagant feast, far superior to the regular wazwan) feast.

Trami for the groom

Will the groom eat all of this?

The groom isnt forgotten. A trami filled to the brim with delecacies made of meat is sent to the groom’s house.

The ‘Nishayn’ or the ‘Engagement’ could itself be of two types – the simple ‘Nishayn’ or the ‘Nikah-Nishayn’. The regular ‘Nishayn’ or engagement has no binding effect and is more of formalizing the marital consent (to be done in future). The Nikah-Nishayn is where the actual marriage is solemnized and the ‘nikah’ is done. It might probably a very long set of rituals – but well this is the Kashmiri Wedding – in most of the cities and towns in Kashmir.

(Sidenote: While the weddings in Srinagar and other cities and towns of Kashmir are filled with seemingly never ending functions, the weddings in the village side are rather simple. I will cover that in a different post).

Henna on bride's hand

Henna on bride's hand

Now getting back to the Engagement function. The bride is to get her henna on her hands the night before her engagement day generally. The engagement itself is a very formal occasion where protocol demands utmost care in handling the guests.  According to protocol, the guests are served:

  • Juice and a fruit of  dry fruit (Rani juice was kinda in fashion the last time I attended an engagement party 😉 )
  • fServing the guestsollowed by Kahwah, with huge peice of black forest or some other pastry and kulcha
  • followed by the wazwan itself
  • followed by either firni, or halwa, or some other sweet
  • followed by the guests getting their little basket of dryfruit (with money inside) to take back with them
Parting gifts

Parting gifts for the guests

The groom’s family usually comes with their load fulls of gifts for the bride which usually includes many gold coins – called ‘pounds’ and ‘sets’ and etc. etc.

Finally the guests leave and the bride’s family hopes that no guest has been offended.

It’s rather tragic that so much money is spent lavish functions which have no meanings. Traditionally, though Wazwan was part of Kashmiri weddings, there have been major changes which just make weddings complicated and (somewhat sad portrait of the Kashmiri society).

Well.. ofcourse the engagement is the beginning of yet another series of visits and then the final wedding etc. Will write about it again in future. Till then, don’t feel nauseated thinking of the trami full of meat (shown above.) You can still think of the good old trami with 7 traditional dishes which was good to eat and pleasing to the eye.

Abortion

Someone shared this note with me on Facebook, and I share it with you all!

A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said:

“Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 yr. old and I’m pregnant again. I don’t want kids so close together.”

So the doctor said: ‘Ok, and what do you want me to do?’

She said: ‘I want you to end my pregnancy, and I’m counting on your help with this.’

The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: “I think, I have a better solution for your problem. It’s less dangerous for you too.’

She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.

Then he continued: ‘You see, in order for you not to have to take care of 2 babies at the same time, let’s kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we’re going to kill one of them, it doesn’t matter which one it is.

There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.

The lady was horrified and said: ‘No doctor! How terrible! It’s a crime to kill a child!

‘I agree’, the doctor replied.. ‘But you seemed to be ok with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.

The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that’s already been born and one that’s still in the womb. The crime is the same!

Sakooter or Scooter! That’s the way to go!

I just happened to read this news item in Kashmir Times. It talks of how women in Kashmir have started using scooter as a convenient means of transport and of the acceptance of the idea among the locals.  To me watching a woman drive a scooter is the idea of freedom – beautiful freedom!

Some years back the idea of a woman driving a scooter would certainly not ‘look good’ for whatever reasons. I remember having a discussion with a guy quite some years back my pen-name Sakooter itself. The guy found it funny that I supported hijab and talked of scooter. To me it was weird that people actually have a problem with something as simple as a means of conveyance which saves women a lot of trouble.  There would be some who would even go to the extent of calling it un-Islamic. (Am I raising eye-brows somewhere?) Don’t open your mouth yet.. wait up… didn’t the women in Arabia travel on a camel? Do you see a co-relation?

I would certainly think travelling by a scooter would bring us way closer to morality and Islam.  Weird as it may seem, it avoids the uncomfortable situations in which women put themselves in those overloaded buses where there is hardly place to breathe in.

I would say scooter is certainly the way to go! Yay! Its the sakooter speaking of-course!

SRINAGAR, Apr 30: Sometime back, a Kashmiri girl traveling all alone in public transport would not go down well with the people here, thinking of it as an open invitation to all kinds of trouble. However, one is not too surprised to see the Kashmiri ladies riding two wheelers not only within city but even outskirts. This trend picked up last year, when Jammu and Kashmir Bank announced its special Scooty scheme aimed at providing two wheelers to girl students and working ladies of the valley with a maximum finance of Rs 50,000 to be repaid in 60 monthly installments.
This scheme transformed once a dream Scooty for an ordinary Kashmiri girl into a go-getter. Pinks, blues, whites–available in various colours, designs and makes have made their presence felt in various motor showrooms of Kashmir and proving to be good business source too.
While for the showroom dealers, women scooters are turning out to be a prized revenue source, for young women it is surely a boon.
“Girls riding Scootys is epitomizing a new wave of independent women who do not need her parents or friends to accompany them every time they step out. Initially, though we did not see too many women riding two wheelers out on the roads. But certainly, the number of women scooters in the valley is on an increase,” says Dr Maroofa, a sociologist.
Meanwhile, the girls who are the ‘proud owners’ of  these Scootys feel a sense of liberation from the daily hassles of public transport, eve teasing and in the process save some bucks too.
“In the wake of auto fares, bus fares increasing, possessing a Scooty becomes a blessing. Without having to wait for buses, autos, avoiding unnecessary male attention, I certainly am happier after buying my scooter. I can now travel anywhere I want, anytime with my Scooty,” quips Shazia, a college goer.
For many working ladies, riding Scootys initially meant hitting back by their male colleagues and unusual stares on roads. But even such things are changing now.
“I am in a sales job for a cosmetics company. My job requires a lot of travel with least expenses. Hence buying a scooter was the best available option for me. Earlier, there were a lot of inhibitions, especially the undue comments by male colleagues. I would avoid traveling to far off places alone on my Scooty. But our society, seems to have fairly adjusted with the idea of women traveling alone, in their vehicles- be it a two wheeler or a four wheeler,” says Razia, sales girl.
If owning a scooter is a matter of convenience for women, being a good driver and avoiding scuffles with men are some words of caution by the policewomen for the ladies.
“Although nobody can raise any objection with a female riding a vehicle, but we see a lot of school girls who dot have even driving licenses riding them. It is very essential to be a trained driver first and then enjoy the experience,” adds Fehmeeda, a lady cop.

(Kashmir Times, 30th April 2011)