Monday, April 4, 2011

My Indian Wedding - Pandit

This is a very difficult post to write as the priest (pandit) that performed our wedding ceremony is a such interesting character that I do not even know where to begin telling you about him.

We did not pick him ourselves, but we relied on our uncle to do it as he knows all pandits in the Bay Area. So we were sure that he would be able to make a much more informed choice than we would. But a few days before our wedding the uncle confessed that he did not pick the most knowledgeable, amicable or reliable pandit, but instead he picked the one who was in the worst financial situation and would benefit from our money the most. [Sigh.] That, of course, was extremely noble of our uncle and we are all in favor of supporting people in need, but…

Everybody wants their wedding day to be as close to perfect as possible, and at the very least wants the wedding ceremony to go smoothly. However, several interactions that we had with our pandit before the wedding made us worried that things might not go as smoothly as we would have hoped for.

For one, the pandit was terribly late (or would fail to show up) to every single appointment that we made with him, and during the brief periods of time that we would manage to get a hold of him, he always seemed to be absent-minded, and maybe even disinterested.

Second, according to the wedding ceremony program that we got from him, "the bride enters" event was supposed to happen AFTER the bride and the groom were already supposed to do something together on the stage... Also he "forgot" to give us a list of 13 items that we should bring with us to the wedding ceremony. I fear that if I had not ask him about that, we would have come totally unprepared and would have to frantically run around on that Sunday morning arranging all the needed items. (And the 13 needed items are not things that one usually has at home. The list included: 1 bag of powdered turmeric, 1 bag of kumkum, 2 logs of firewood, 2 big aluminium trays, 3 coconuts, betel nuts and leaves, 3 pieces of 3 types of fruits, flower petals, 2 garlands, puffed rice, 1lbs ghee, incense, camphor)

I felt so disappointed after the first meeting with the pandit, that immediately afterward I released my frustration by shouting at Anil. It was a very first time in our relationship that I shouted at my poor husband... This experience made us realized how stressful wedding planning was, and we concluded that it would not be surprising if some couples would split up in the process.

At certain moment even our uncle must have became concerned as a week before the wedding he told us that he arranged for a “backup” pandit to be ready to substitute in case our first pandit would fail to show up on time (or at all) for our wedding ceremony…

But even though our pandit initially did not inspire too much confidence, on the day of our wedding he behaved perfectly fine. He showed up in the wedding hall one hour before the wedding, started and ended the ceremony on time, and he was perfectly nice and reliable throughout. So I guess we (I) worried too much unnecessarily, and in future I should have more trust that people can do they job right even though initially might seem incompetent.