Driving in the Dark into a Marriage!

As we negotiate the darkness to find the road to Balegowdanahalli, another of Kumuda’s friends, Jagdish guides us to his colony in the dark from the main road. He has extricated himself from wedding festivities in the family to come and escort us. We drive into an unbelievable sight in the dark. Twinkling fairy lights illuminating an oasis in the desert of heavy darkness. Sounds of loud music and laughter breaking the silence of the countryside that hangs heavy. As soon as we get down we are dragged by Jagdish’s niece who greets us like we are long lost friends, right into the centre of the merrymaking that includes a glorious if simple maduve oota. They insist on getting us to dance but we shy away! The Hakki Pikki’s are totally uninhibited as they move their bodies to the raucous rhythms….young and old. Women and men. We cannot take our eyes of a young 10 year old whose incredibly graceful moves merge with the music accompanied by perhaps a 80 year old woman who is fuelled by the spirits that all have imbibed in generous quantities.

Exhausted, merely by watching and absorbing their boundless energy, we escape and make our way to a nearby terrace where sleeping arrangements. Ragini, Vanishree, Mamta and myself dance desultorily to the music that continues to pound through the darkness. It still is ringing in our ear drums as we finally drift off to sleep under the sparkling canopy of stars and miss  the actual marriage ceremony which apparently happened by around 4 in the morning! We could only wonder how the two brides and their respective grooms could even stand straight when they were bound together in holy matrimony! When we get up by around 6 a.m. the more brahminical part of the ceremonies are going on….a rare occurrence in a Hakki Pikki community that is proud of its own rituals. But Jagdish is proud of how they got a priest to conduct this part of the proceedings.

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