“Dher aham prithvi tvam, Retoham retabhru tvam, Manoham asmi vaktam, Samaham asmi rikritvam, Sa maam anuvruta bhava”
“I am the sky and you are the earth. I transmit energy while you receive it from me. If I am the mind, you are the word that manifests from its thoughts. If I am a strain of music, then you are the song that stems from it. You and I, in essence, complete each other.”
Oooooh hello my darling friends. It’s been so long! I’ve been really rather slammed what with moving back to America n’all. But not too slammed to take in some luscious weddings.
So today, we’re talking about Ami & Mitesh. I was honored to get to second shoot with The Polk Bros who seem to be experts at this Indian thang. And what a thang is was, indeed.
You see, whenever you let it slip you’re doing an Indian wedding, what do people say? Quite predictably: “Oh yes. Those are colorful.” Yes, colorful. And (as you’re about to see) So. Much. More.
But first, the story…
Now, remember, I was second shooting. So I hadn’t met Ami and Mitesh before I showed up and I only gathered their story in bits and pieces from out of the corner of my ear. From what I can understand, they met online and grew their love long distance – traveling between their two states monthly to see each other face to face. And now, Ami and Mitesh have found themselves -at long last- together in 4D 4ever.
I slotted in on day three of a three day wedding. While I’m unsure what came on days one and two, boy oh boy, day three was pretty spectacular and action packed. Starting at 6am, we followed the couple for a whopping 16 hours through two wardrobe changes and multiple rituals and traditions.
One thing I really enjoyed about witnessing this union was the way in which both bride and groom received intense attention and importance in the ceremonial aspects. I disdain the way in which western weddings can so often see a groom positioned as a sort of accessory to the day. For the important bits, anyway…
Not this time! Ami and Mitesh went through their own ceremonies and rituals separately with their own families for much of the day. While I was with the groom, I did find myself constantly wondering what Ami was doing.
By 8am, we were outside dancing in the street. With a horse, no less! I’m a sucker for music. And culture. And rituals. And being in the presence of happy people. So this combination of heart thumping music, jubilant dancing and multiple times when I had no idea what was going on, I cried my way through 30 minutes of photographing this period of time. I also wondered what the neighbors were thinking. And whether they were into Indian music.
Eventually we made it back to the Hilton where another round of interesting things happened I was unaware of and, I’m gonna to squeal on myself here, I got in trouble for stepping on pile of petals on the ground (damn white people…am I right?) which later I realized was an alter.
Cut to the ceremony…Mitesh walked down the aisle with his family and received a long ceremony of rituals by the priest before being covered by a blanket so that Ami couldn’t see him when she made her way down the aisle to complete the ceremony.
So intriguing was the way that the whole family were present at the alter, the fathers participated in their own rituals and there was fire and fruit and gifts and throwing of roses and holding of hands and giving of money and bowing of heads.
Although I was both in awe and unaware of what I was witnessing, I am entirely honored to have been allowed to participate as one of their photographers. I do wish Ami & Mitesh all the best in their life together. And may their future be as colorful as their wedding.
// the photos //