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Article: The Promise of Love

The Promise of Love

The Promise of Love

There are few things that succinctly describe the many layers of an emotion or event as well as poetry or songs. Take this 1956 song from the movie CID for example:

“Ankhon hi ankhon mei ishara ho gaya
Baithe baithe jeene ka sahara ho gaya”

Sung by Geeta Dutt and Mohammad Rafi, the playful song beautifully brings to life the old world mystery of falling in love through brief glances, promising one’s life to the other without a fuss or too much deliberation. Going by the year of the song, one could say that this is the tale of how our grandparents loved and married where love and marriage went together or where one had to follow the other. One can argue that this isn’t true for our time where love is not bound by marriage and where couples wait for the security of familiarity to arrive before they can commit to each other. But what one cannot argue about is the presence of magic and hope when it comes to weddings.

Even the most hardened of skeptics cannot help feel the tug of romance at the sight of homes adorned with strings of marigold and jasmine and the sound of dholki and laughter wafting in the air. Families gathered together despite their differences, sharing food, making jokes and helping each other with preparations somehow creates this sense of belonging. How many times have we all heard our elders say this before weddings in the family, “Shaadi byah ke waqt kaun gile shikwe yaad rakhta hai?” or “Shaadi wala ghar hai, hamare layak koi kaam ho to bataiyega.” Who remembers discord at the time of a wedding? Or, this is a house with a wedding; please tell us how we can help. There is something about weddings that has always made people come together to celebrate. One can also say that weddings bring out the spiciest characteristics of every family. There will always be that one uncle or aunt who will find something to criticize despite best efforts. In that sense, weddings also bring out all the hidden angst and insecurities within families.

But what of those two people who are coming together in and for love? When I was younger I used to feel that everyone enjoys a wedding except for the bride and groom. Doubled up under the weight of traditional wedding clothes and jewelry, a heavy turban and sehra, the poor bride and groom of yore had very little freedom to smile, laugh or even enjoy their wedding feast. It makes me so happy to see couples choosing what they would like for their wedding celebration now. From clothes and music to how they want their photos shot, weddings today are more about the couple and their relationship than about what their families want. But be it now or in the past, there are always moments at weddings where the enormity of what is about to happen leaves you spellbound and nervous.

No matter what the scale of a wedding, they all have one thing in common. Two people equal parts nervous and excited, vulnerable and brave, beautiful and fragile. Two lives holding on to each other with hope and fear, eyes bright and teary, souls widening to suddenly make room for a significant other in every possible way. In that sense weddings are a testament of and for love. Love not just for the other but also for a shared dream and life, one that may demand many struggles and hardships, but in this moment of union; it is blessed and bursting with the promise of lifelong friendship.

Like the Sanskrit verses a couple chant together after circling a fire that declare:

“Sakha saptapadii bhava sakhyam te gameyam
 Sakhyam te mayosaha sakhyam te mayostaha”

 With these seven steps you have become my friend.
 May my friendship make me one with you.
 May your friendship make you one with me

Perhaps the biggest promise of love is that one will no longer be lonely in this vast and beautiful world. Perhaps that is the magic of the wedding season.

 Penned By: Reema Ahmad


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