The Sanskrit verses were probably lost in translation but that did not deter Tomohiko from nodding his head to everything the priest was saying,nor did he once make a mistake in the hour-and-half-long ritual that marked his marriage.
Tomohiko and Chikayo,a Japanese couple from Toyota city,decided to go for Bengali biya- tie the knot in Kolkata in the traditional Bengali ritual.
So the groom waited patiently smiling at guests in pyjama kurta and the bride glowed in a resplendent red Benarasi saree with gold ornaments and the traditional tiara. None of them understood English,much less Bengali and it was to their interpreter SK Ghosh Dastidar to translate the ceremony for them,who also performed the kanyadaan. Since their parents are not here they requested me to pefrom the kanyadaan,as I am their local guardian. The couple arrived yesterday evening from Japan and will leave after the marriage, said Dastidar,a former director of Union Ministry of Tourism,who was posted in Japan for many years.
His friendship with Minako Kuno,an Indophile of Japan,who has been to the city 44 times,paved the way for the wedding. I attended a Bengali wedding during a visit and recorded it. I wanted to get my cousins married in this manner and when I showed the video to Chikayo and my cousin Tomohiko,they got excited to follow the ritual. These days it is a fashion among the Japanese youth to get married in foreign locales, said Kuno through a translator.
Tomohiko (33),an engineer,met Chikayo (31) nearly five years ago and they have been together since. While Indian youths are often found not following strict rituals for weddings,the Japanese duo stuck to the traditions right from shubho dristi to mala badal and the sindoor exchange.
For the wedding,a special shamiana decorated with flowers was constructed atop a city hotel. In a Japanese wedding the couple is at the centre,but here entire family participates,making it more fun, said the couple. Towards the end of the wedding,the Japanese entourage (most of them were Japanese tourists in the city) added a bit of their custom to the Indian ritualstrewing confetti in the air as a mark of blessing the couple.
After the rituals,it was time for Indian feast¿ spring rolls,chicken soup,roasted vegetables,chicken with poppy seeds,roasted fish,kofta curry,hot gulab jamun and custard.
The duo will travel to Varanasi before leaving to Delhi for their departure. Varanasi will not really be our honeymoon,as the honeymoon started right from when we landed in the city to get married, said Tomohiko. Chikayo,meanwhile,is keen to follow customs of a married Indian woman. I really like the sarees and will take back a few with me, she said.