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  • As many know, Hindu marriages can go on for days, so we had opted for the court kind. It was good to save time and all the hassles that go into organizing a Hindu wedding but our families were up in arms! “How can you not have a Hindu wedding, it’s out of the question!” and so we decided we would have a small ceremony in a temple, but not the kind that lasts three days or so! As I was a novice (and still am) on all these rituals and didn’t have much time to understand the whole process, except for the main bits, I was totally unaware that part of these rituals was that I marry a Mango tree first! They took me to the tree, uttered some sacred mantras, made me perform a pooja (prayer) and tie a holy thread with some holy water from the Ganges and there he stood, my husband before me, a young tree with deep green leaves and good prospects for flowering many succulent mangoes in the years to come. My future was secured since I am a lover of mangoes!
    But I had no idea at the time that I would be committed to polygamy in this manner. I thought at the time, it was something like getting the blessings from nature, the pandit never explained and it was only later that my grandmother laughed out the explanation of the ritual-by that time I was already wedded to my tree husband and my human husband!
    My human husband was also quite shocked, “you are wedded to another! You didn’t even tell me-this is deceit!”. And whenever we have our little fights, he would tell me to explain all my frustrations to my other husband since he is such a good listener! Alas my first husband is the strong and silent type and doesn’t say much, but I do feel his love surrounding me whenever I go to visit the temple where he lives. I stroke his bark, I offer some water and smell his sweet leaves! And my human husband sometimes gets jealous but most of the time is very understanding. Sometimes he even encourages me to go visit! I am certain that he would not be so understanding if suddenly my mango tree husband transformed into a human or a deva!
    On a serious note, my logic side tells me that, although many of us now removed from tradition, somewhat scorn such rituals; they nearly always had a practical purpose. Perhaps it was to ensure that we take good care of trees. In fact all ancient rituals are rooted in the elements and even as we took our vows around the sacred fire, all five elements were invoked and I truly believe they gave us their blessing because we are also made up of the same.
    For the legal system, marriage is a piece of paper and various administrative procedures, while my Hindu ceremony was so complex -socially, culturally, elementally, naturally- all bound together. I think in essence all religions espouse this connection; it’s up to us how we choose to interpret them. But still to be on the safe side, I guess I shouldn’t tell the courts that I have two marriages, that’s legally not allowed!
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