This is the eleventh segment of a feature story about nine current and former area residents who traveled to India in late February 2020 to attend the wedding of Komal Patel, a Rotary Club exchange student who shared their lives in the Mount Markham Central School District during the 2009-10 school year. The travelers included various members of Komal’s three host families and one of her Mount Markham friends. Written by Wendy Barrett, Komal’s host mother in Leonardsville, the series began Jan. 27 and will run weekly until its conclusion.
By Wendy L. Barrett
Most wedding reception guests left by midnight, just as the ceremony of vows was about to commence. Only close family and friends remained for this important and final portion of Komal and Tushit’s wedding.
The couple and their immediate family members settled onto a mandap, a raised circular wedding altar under a large canopy of white mums and red roses just outside the main reception area. For Hindus, mums symbolize joy, optimism and long life.
Extended family and guests ensconced themselves on settees that encircled the platform, and most of us watched the marriage rituals silently and intently. Occasional chatter and laughter punctuated the solemnity, but no one seemed to care.
Steeped in tradition, this priest-led sacrament was the culmination of three days of wedding celebrations. It united Komal and Tushit in a life-long marriage of their souls as they made seven vows of commitment, devotion, and mutual respect to one another. It also celebrated the joining of their two families.
The ceremony began with a prayer to Ganesh, the Hindu god of beginnings and the remover of obstacles. Near the seated couple’s feet, a ceremonial fire burned, fueled...