A Reporter in a Marriage Ceremony

Falgun 7 [19 Feb] was a day that I will not forget. I didn’t get the Kantipur excellence award that Kantipur Publications, where I work as a reporter for Kantipur daily, gives to best the reporters/staffs of the year in different categories on the anniversary day. I wasn’t in the first part of the ceremony, held in Kantipur Complex, just like four years ago when I was actually awarded. Last time, I was watching cricket, and this time I was busy in the marriage ceremony of Achyut Ghimire, my uncle whom I grew up with. I was taking part in a marriage ceremony after so many years. I don’t remember the last one. Realizing nothing else to do in the bihe, I quickly took out my camera and started working as a freelance photographer. There were ‘official’ photographers and videographers for the ceremony but how could I, a reporter who carries camera 24/7 with him, miss taking a few snaps. As I was taking photos, and occasionally interacting with relatives whom I hadn’t seen for years, I noticed something very interesting in the Jagge (the place where bride and groom perform all rituals as priests chant mantras.)

My article in front of Behuli

There was a piece of paper, only one in the whole premise, near to where Behuli (bride) was seated. The paper was used to cover something. That was a piece from a newspaper. A headline screamed on the facing side: “Oie Baby, Oie Mama!” Yes, the paper was part of the LAST page of KANTIPUR daily of Falgun 6 featuring MY article about the Ozomatli concert in Kathmandu the other day. [There was that day’s edition of Kantipur doing rounds among people and the last page of the Special Supplement carried by article about Women in IT. But that wasn’t as interesting as this one because it’s not unusual for people to carry day’s edition of Kantipur]. But the coincidence of the piece of paper definitely reminded me about myself and my identity: A reporter even in a marriage ceremony of a relative. The major difference between this and many other ceremonies that I attend was that I wasn’t there to report the event. But the coincidence was striking. No other newspapers, no other pages, no other side of the last page (sports page), no other reporting in the last page but mine and no uncredited story that I wrote on the on the last page but the one that carried my byline.

Behula and Behuli

The marriage ceremony was big (it’s all relative though) and I met many relatives (distant and near ones) whom I hadn’t seen for years. I was the only bearded person in the ceremony though seeing Ramchandra Khadka, Ramechhap district president of Nepali Congress in Ramechhap was a solace. So there were two bearded persons in the ceremony. “It’s really nice to have a bearded person in the ceremony,” I said, shaking hands with Khadka. “Now I don’t feel alone.” The teacher-turned-politician instantly replied, “Well, it’s not unusual to share beards for persons like us who share ideologies and respect each other.”

Siundho ma sindur

I also had to respond about my own marriage as people came up with barrage of questions like “Now that your uncle has married, when will you?” I just hated the question and frowned upon the people with that question! My dismissing reply was, “I was planning to marry today but unfortunately woke up late in the morning.” I think that, and my beards and my outlook, helped turn away many faces. [Actually I had to wake up early that morning, thanks to Email who worked as a human alarm clock for me. I was damn tired because I had gone to bed at around 2 AM as I was blogging on Gyanendra’s democracy day statement and doing other stuff and had to wake up at 7 AM. Impossible for me in a normal day but I couldn’t really say “no, go away” to Email that morning.] I talked about the lavishness (though it was nothing compared to many other big marriage ceremonies about which we read in newspapers and blogs) and the discrimination the tradition does against the girl. Why does the behuli have to bow to the feet of the behulo? “This really sucks,” I told a few people who I was chatting with. And what is this “kanyadaan” thing? I am not a feminist but I dislike the idea of “donating” the kanya (the girl) to the groom as if the girl was an object. Many people told me that since it was tradition, they have to follow. I was like hell with your tradition that is so much discriminatory.

So that was the day that was. I will not forget. And I will certainly never forget the next day: Falgun 8. For all great and sweet reasons that I decide not to write here. That was the D-Day! But then, as someone just told me, every day is a D Day!!

By the way, I need some ideas for newspaper stories. Anyone, who is happening to read this by any chance, please suggest me some!

7 thoughts on “A Reporter in a Marriage Ceremony

  1. Zade

    Great Read! But the best part was reading the “Kanyadan” opposition for sure! Know what came to my mind reading your comment on the previous entry “The Cigar” experience where you have said I don’t drink, and smoke. Mitho lagdaina and all and this entry saying the “hell with the discriminatory” tradition. You are discreetly conveying the message to the readers that “here I am the eligible bachelor, keti ka ama bau le khoje jastai jaad raksi nakhane, churot nattane and 21st century Keti le nai chahe jasto “the hell with treating us like object” sentiment share garne jaldo baldo yubak!!” ha ha ha Ke garnu mann ma je aayo tehi lekhidiyen! You mayn’t have written with that intention but the one thing bloggers can’t exercise control over is on what their readers make out of their writings, hoina ta?? But such understanding would give you an advantage, wouldn’t it ? 😉

    On a serious note now, I fully agree to your disagreements over the rituals in marriage ceremony. Nepal needs more and more guys like you. If every one thought that way then things would certainly be different. Marriage would bring more happiness to the women tagged “radicals” than an occasion to be scared of or just see no point in it at all take that only as a the matter of “Debate” of what is wrong with this tradition. I guess a way to change could be bring in some “progressive bajes” and devise a new way of doing things, dig out new slokas from the scriptures replacing the ones which say “I give my daughter to you” this that or form new ones in which both the bride and the groom have an equal say, no one is handed over to sb else and rather say “We” ….. (Now haven’t been part of any marriage till date so can’t comment more)

    Still I guess if that could be done, then our tradition could be continued in a “progressive way” and would also make marriage a woman’s choice rather than (make her an object her parents’ hand over to any aire gaire nattu khaire! 🙂 btw some weeks back Koseli had a story about people with progressive marriages (mainly journalists in Pokhara) which was good. We’d met one of them in our trip too.. Nevertheless I believe marriages are in the end a matter of personal choice. Do it the style the bride and groom (preferably people in love) decide to conduct the ceremony in…. and in doing that though one can take the ones who do it as a low profile ceremony could be trend setters but if they want to do it lavishly too its their life, their choice I would say, one time affair ho, paisa cha udauchan arulai ke ko tauko dukhai..and even though our law states that inviting more that 80 people or some number close by (forgot the exact figure) is going against it. I think the law itself is faulty as our social structure (family links) is different.

    A lawyer once told us “some laws are made by the society, others are enforced on it” but the ones that defies the social realities doesn’t have any impact like the “marriage invitees” one… When every one in the entire village is called to celebrate occasions in rural areas and even in the cities the “ Afno Gaun ko walla and palla ghare, kaila thaila ” neighbors are invited how can 70-80 be a viable option? The dowry traditions etc have been the byproducts of the original tradition to celebrate marriage and exchange goodwill among friends and family members which need attention. Maybe a change in the law itself, making it more focused and pragmatic could be a start? …

    And it just struck me.. you could do a story on the “changing perceptions on marriage” (season cha ni) interviewing women like the ones in IT itself as one of them seems to be a real hardcore feminist, or the ones studying “Women Studies” in PK., or general female college (bachelors) students… or women professionals (who haven’t married till date ..I could recommend one such lady, met her recently) or have but how theirs is different as “Women’s Day” is heading near (8 March) … or you could talk to women who are sick and tired of blaming men for everything., the ones who see things the other way around.. any sasu-buhari (famous) ones could make a great read too ni! Or chine jane ka sab feminist sentiments hune ladies harulai bhela garera.. discussion? Debate? Tapain lai “yubati” haru phela parna ta teti garo naparla ni “IT Keti ka IT journalist !!” ha ha ha.. well that’s my two cent worth suggestion for stories 🙂

    I never intended this comment to be this long. But feel freer now “Balla kehi vanna paiyo yesbare” sort 🙂 So Thank You!


  2. Comment Box

    I think if you shave, you would look great! But with Dari chahi ali……………tar i love man with dari…………..
    I have one idea about the story, why don’t you talk with Tanneri about CA and the voting system? I mean, are they really excited that they will be going to vote? what would be important for them? Party or leader? how do they involve in election? Are they really willing to vote?
    may be this is not complete and i may not be clear but i think everyone is talking about CA election then why not youths view on it?


  3. Dinesh Wagle :)

    To Zade: Please, please, please Zade, make sure that all parents, including Mr. and Mrs. Karki, read that comment of yours, especially the first paragraph! 🙂

    Humm, the serious part is really serious and I applaud for your thoughts. Thanks for wonderful topics for possible reporting. Yeso non-keti reporting ko story bare pani suggestion pauna ho!

    To Comment Box: Well, I have no comment on your thoughts on daari because I love my daris! As for the story clue, thanks a lot. I think that’s an interesting idea.


  4. warrier inside

    Wagle, good article man.
    And trying to advertise yourself as a bachelor huh…good man..give the shape to your JHUSHE that DARHI, ladies will be dying for you hahah.
    Tradition will change, we need to change, no worries but it needs time.



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