People just kept coming. Madhur Milan was soon too small for us and the owner wanted to increase the rent. We started to look for another place to meet.
During our time in that red-carpeted banquet hall, we had many picnics, baptisms, meetings, parties and lots of food. We also had our first cross-cultural, “controversial” wedding.
Ajit and Aphi were from Nepal and Meghalaya. Both families insisted that the wedding should not take place. Ajit and Aphi disagreed.
Aphi came from a matrilineal society in which the youngest daughter of the family inherits all ancestral property. Husbands move into their wife’s home and the children take on their mother’s surname. If a couple can’t have a daughter, they adopt one in order to pass their rights to property to her. The birth of a girl is celebrated while the birth of a son is simply accepted. Aphi’s parents were concerned that she would lose her name to a man. They informed her that if she decided to do so, they would write her out of their will.
Ajit was from a Brahmin Hindu family and his parents were not happy with his choice of wife or “religion.” Neither family agreed to attend the wedding.
It was an exciting event for CNC. Many of our community witnessed a Christian wedding for the first time. Ajit’s dad graciously appeared to bless his son and actually really enjoyed the occasion. A few of Aphi’s relatives also attended and seemed happy with the proceedings. Aphi felt it right that she take on Ajit’s name.
Having grown up in South Africa in the years of apartheid, I was kind of hoping I would never have to deal with it again. Unrealistic, I know. This beautiful wedding was our initiation into the pride and prejudice of parts of Indian society. Little did we know that there were many more to battles to come. Young couples would fight for their love and their lives. They would do everything they could to get the blessing of their parents. When they knew they would never get it, they would make a call to do what was right for them. That was a very hard call.
(A comment: It was amazing to see that all the parents finally came round after the deed was done. They often became the biggest blessers of the couples. Especially when their grandchildren arrived 🙂
PS. Any comments from these couples? 🙂