This dramatised true story demonstrates the extremism of hatred
This is a true, heart-warming story of a well-cultured, educated Brahmin, Iyengar family based in Chennai.
Navin Iyengar was a renowned, revered yet humble and disciplined lawyer. His eldest daughter, Kanaklaxmi was one of the brightest and most beautiful girls in the city. Her long, black, overflowing hair added to her divine beauty.
Kanaklaxmi was pursuing her Master’s degree in Software Engineering at Oxford University.
She became friends with Prince Peter from the Royal Family.
Peter’s parents- Lord Clifford and Anna invited Kanaklaxmi home for high tea. They were pleased to see a rare combination of beauty and brain in her. She won their already rich hearts with her pleasant attitude and cultured etiquettes.
Both glanced and chuckled together, nodding in unison for her to be their daughter-in-law.
A dream, Royal Wedding
Soon, Peter and Kanaklaxmi completed their education and bid farewell to each other with heavy hearts. She returned to her motherland; however, both the families were planning the engagement date and the wedding bells were ringing in the air.
The whole atmosphere was ecstatic with excitement, fun, laughter, and chatter about the royal wedding. People were looking forward to the invitations for a grand ceremony. Beautiful invitation scrolls were sent to the dignitaries and royal family members.
The wedding was arranged in Chennai. Peter and his family flew from London. The Iyengar family welcomed them warmly in a traditional manner with garlands, flowers, and diyas.
The Iyengar Bhavan was decorated with roses and marigold garlands and lights to lighten the place and our hearts. The chefs were busy cooking traditional and continental snacks and dishes for the guests… The elderly couples relaxed on the couch and shared their wisdom and stories. The children were running around playing games and the younger adults were busy teasing the bride and the groom. The girls were engrossed in giggling and planning about the attire, henna, and jewellery.
Photo by Tom The Photographer on Unsplash
Rituals and Ceremonies
Hindu weddings are laden with rituals and ceremonies, each one carries its own significance. Olden days, South Indian weddings lasted for up to 16 days. Eventually, with the modern lifestyle and economic factors, they were shortened over a period.
The previous evening, the groom along with his family arrived at the banquet hall.
Mrs Iyengar warmly greeted Peter with a flower garland and wedding band. Upon reaching, the formal ceremony of invocation of Lord Ganesha began by worshipping the Pipal tree in the mandapam. Dhoti and designer Kurta were presented to Peter and Saree to the bride.
This was followed by the exchange of garlands which symbolizes the acceptance of each other. Kanaklaxmi sat on her father’s lap and was given away to Peter to be adored for the rest of his life. (Kanyadanam).
The Spiritual Bond
The groom then tied the Mangalsutra (auspicious bond) around the bride’s neck as a symbol of marriage. One of the most sacred rituals in Hindu weddings is seven holy rounds around the yagna or fire. Each round is a vow or oath to bind the duo together in this spiritual bond. Agni Puja is a must that depicts completion of the wedding. The newlyweds were blessed by elders and parents after the wedding. Post-wedding games organised were fun and relaxing time to explore bonding, co-operation among the couple.
Surprisingly, Peter agreed to wear the traditional attire and did not even mourn, though it was uncomfortable. He and his parents were flabbergasted by the amazingly rich cultural ‘vibe’ of the event.
Large floral arrangements, décor, attire, food, entertainment, and South Asian live Shehnai music (Royal Flute) playing in the background made the environment authentic.
The whole event concluded without any hiccups or social restrictions and religious issues.
After the wedding, Peter and his friends went for a stroll in Chennai. He was astonished by the size and architecture of the malls and the variety of clothes. Friends were chatting and pulling each other’s legs, teasing over a cup of coffee in the Coffee House.
Out of nowhere, few gunmen started firing shots and before anyone knew what happened, they fled away, leaving four injured and three dead on the floor. Peter lay in the puddle of blood motionless on the spot.
Dead silence filled the air followed by screaming and ambulances pulling in. A wave of despair ran through his family. The sad news spread in London and Chennai like wildfire. Kanaklaxmi’s whole world was turned upside down. She was devastated and locked herself in a room. A happy wedding scene was turned in a crematory site within hours. Friends and family gathered to mourn the sad demise of beloved Peter who will never be seen again.
Lord Clifford and Anna flew back to London with Peter’s coffin. Prayers were held in the Royal Church for Peter’s soul to rest in peace. Before heading back to London, Peter’s parents hugged Kanaklaxmi and bid farewell to the Iyengar family.
They gifted the London property to Kanaklaxmi and thanked Jesus for giving them a perfect, lovely daughter in return.
Kanaklaxmi cherished the beautiful golden moments with Peter. Was it not meant to be? Is that why HE took Peter away? Did God have something better planned for Kanaklaxmi?
Man proposes and God disposes.
Who would have thought of death on such a vibrant occasion; however, the harsh reality of life and death cannot be escaped? Can we ever understand God’s creation and the mystery of life? He leaves us with a void.
When we empty the cup, it is filled with beautiful experiences and people again, allowing us to wipe out the old, painful past. It happens to test our mettle and make us understand the lighter and darker side of our existence.
Every cloud does have a silver lining, yet to be revealed to Kanaklaxmi shortly.
Pranoti Gupta is an Auckland based teacher. She says, “The above is a fictional dramatisation of a true story and real events. All the characters, names are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.”
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