Invitation cards were distributed to family and friends, and sangeet was also held. On his D-day, as the groom, all decked up and astride a mare, went around the village, the baraatis danced merrily and later enjoyed a lavish dinner.
There was, however, one thing that made this wedding held on May 10 at Champlanar village near Himmatnagar different: there was no bride.
Ajay Barot, a 27-year-old with a learning disability, had dreamed of this day. Unable to find him a match, Barot’s family pooled resources to throw a wedding party for him nonetheless.
“Ajay has been very fond of attending weddings. He is a very good dancer. So every time there is a celebration in the village, he is the first one to be there to perform. But it always pinched him that it wasn’t his own wedding. He has a learning disability so we have been unable to find him a match. This February when my son got married, he was disappointed that his wedding wasn’t being organised. So I spoke to the family members and everyone agreed to this idea,” Ajay’s uncle Kamlesh Barot said.
The family printed and distributed wedding cards to friends and families. They all arrived. A day before the wedding, Ajay’s stepmother also hosted sangeet, puja and other traditional ceremonies.
“Another cousin sponsored the band and the horse. I took care of the catering for over 800 guests as we invited the entire extended family and those in the village. Every single person we know turned up for the event,” Kamlesh Barot added.
Ajay is the eldest of the four children born to Vishnu Barot, a bus conductor at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation. He was enrolled in a school for children with special needs but soon dropped out. “We were not a very well-to-do family ever. So we couldn’t afford to send him to a good school that would have admitted him despite this shortcoming. But he is sharp and has an understanding of a lot of things around him,” Kamlesh said.
Kamlesh said his nephew is fine with the fact that there was no bride at the party. “The wedding procession itself, which went around the village, has made him extremely happy.”
Ajay’s brother Hasmukh Barot said for them Ajay is special and they can do anything to see him happy. :”Ajay’s dance at his own wedding procession will be one to remember for the rest of our lives. All families with special children should fulfill their desires. It can be a positive step in their lives .”
Kamlesh said there would be bigger celebrations in the future if Ajay finds a bride. “If it happens, we will all be very happy but it seems unlikely because he is dependent on us for a lot of things. If he gets married, we will make the celebrations even bigger.”