Rahul & Shivani's Wedding

Whatever smartness or intelligence one has, to anticipate the probable attitude of the future partner is difficult. So for the continuation of the marriage, adjustment and compromises are must, compulsory.

One has to marry because the law does not allow man-woman physical relations at random and society has laid certain norms of man-woman staying together. Though liberate present-day scenario allows live-in relations and physical relationship without much fuss, marriages are unavoidable.

Once decided to marry, the second question arising is the method – the technique of the wedding. How many persons to be invited, the place of the wedding, the menu and its preparation and the details of the function is the subject of this article.

Wedding Invitations

Before deciding on invitation cards, the method of inviting the guests (personally, via phone or only by invitation cards) and venue etc., all concerned deciding individuals have to sit together and discuss everything.

How many are enough? 5 – 50 – 500? Or more people? Of them how many are to be included for the Baarat (વર-ઘોડો)?

In certain castes in South Gujarat, there is no need to invite relatives. They join in total once they know the date of the event. In our case, we cannot omit certain close relations whether we like them or not, so all the relatives were invited. Then our choice or selection could work, so we opted for persons we wanted to share the joy or the event with us. Bhavana, Vaishali, Rahul’s and my friends were first on the list. Then neighbours, society-people, medicos and Lions Club friends were considered. All this meant 480+ people for dinner with Raas Garba (રાસ-ગરબા) and 170+ for Baarat.

Pains and Pleasures

In marital life, pains and pleasures have their simultaneous presence at the same place. You have the choice of selecting either enjoying life as it is or be in the deep sense of sorrow for trivial reasons. The latter is opted more often than not. From either partner, one can choose bad virtues and exaggerate them or be happy with fewer good characters and enjoy the available marital life.

The occasion of the wedding is being with all your relatives and friends to make the event lifetime memory full of joyous experiences. Rahul’s wedding event was planned by four of us. Bhavana, Vaishali, Rahul and me (with the help of my nephew Deval) in such a way that we remain together with friends and relatives and entertain all. Haldi, Ganesh Pooja, Wedding Songs, Raas Garba and Baarat. These five events were created imagined and planned with the ultimate aim of pleasing oneself and all. Interestingly, Vaishali and Rahul had informed all their cousins and friends about these five events well in advance and insisted them to get clothes according to the themes of these specific events.

To our pleasant surprise, all went well as expected. 2000+ photos and videos will tell this story in such a way that we can replay the event whenever desired.

Mehndi Rasam Evening (મહેંદી સંધ્યા)

Nowadays all ladies (and few gents too) apply wetted powder of henna (myrtle plant leaves) on hands and legs. Let it get dried and red colour design is visible on washing it. It is customary to do this formality as a part of the celebration.

Earlier only the bride and her sister(s), mother used to apply henna. Now there is one special evening spared for this ritual. More than one artist is hired and they apply henna in a diagrammatic and artistic way. Sometimes names are written (in deceptive ways) in its centre. Two days prior artist Dikshita and her team were employed to the wedding for applying henna to nearly 20-25 women. In addition to Bhavana, Vaishali, Shivani, Ekta, Disha and all the relatives. Dr Darshana Naik, Dr Shefaliben Naik, Pri. Jayshreeben Desai, Tinu, Bhavikaben, neighbours and all concerned were invited with family.

Masala Dosa of Shreeji was served to all 70 guests present there. So the wedding function began with Mehndi Rasam on Friday, 20.02.15.

Haldi (પિઠી)

This is the ritual of applying turmeric over the body of the bridegroom. Two days before the wedding, this ritual of applying wet turmeric with three leaves of tree Aaso Paalav (આસો પાલવ) all over the body of the bridegroom (or the bride as the case may be) is observed. The purpose of this formality is to make marrying individual look more attractive, with a clean, shining and bright skin. The turmeric is kept applied for two days and the person takes a bath only before the wedding.

As a correction to discontinue unwanted formalities before the wedding, we had kept only two rituals thinking them to be the must. One was the Ganesh Pooja and the other was Pithi. We omitted Gruh Shanti (ગૃહ શાંતિ) and many such other rituals for the sake of rationalising the event.

Generally applying turmeric is done only by the 'ladies' like mother, aunts, sisters and sisters-in-law. But to make the event joyous celebration, Rahul opted this to be done by all present, including the friends and brothers too. All were celebrating and enjoying the process. In reciprocation, Rahul too applied the turmeric back to them. All gathered laughed and made it an event of the day.

Wedding Songs (લગ્ન ગીતો)

One more event created for the pleasure and celebration was the wedding songs by women. Nearly 100 ladies gathered. They were close relatives, friends and Jalnagar Society residents. A group of ten women from Desra singers doing this work professionally was invited. Two hours of songs with fataana telling the names of all concerned relatives were sung. All enjoyed the presentation. It concluded with a return gift comprising of chocolates and a bottle of perfume nicely packed in a stringed bag. They were served ice-cold guava drink.

Musical Evening (સંગીત સંધ્યા) and Raas Garba (રાસ-ગરબા)

This event is a present-day addition to the pre-wedding evening. It was non-existent only twenty years back. A special celebration is involved here. There is dinner. During the dinning time, the musical orchestra with singers gives us light musical feast with Gujarati songs of local taste. People eating, talking, meeting and wandering all around may or may not hear any or all the songs. Few having completed the dinner sit to hear the Sangeet Sandhya - the musical evening.

A gathering of people with close relatives and close friends would love to join Raas Garaba. They have a specific interest, enthusiasm and desire to be with the bridegroom and dance. Rest are spectators in the audience. Dress code desired was requested as a traditional dress for the men and choli-ghaghara for the ladies. Two hours of Raas Garba concluded with "સનેડો સનેડો...” and “મુંબઈથી ગાડી આવી રે...”

Sound system with low volume and reasonably good singers of Ninad Patel & Party made the evening enjoyable. Relatives and friends enjoyed this in a big number. Deval, Vaibhav, Deepali, Shivani, Vaishali, Ekta, Yogesh, Disha, Kshitija, Mrunmayee and Hirakbhai performed at their best in addition to Rahul and Shivani.

Why do we enjoy gatherings?

We, the Anavils, are infamous in the region for organising functions for trivial reasons. Whatever is the expense, whether income permits that expense or not, an Anavil will arrange a Jalsaa party with dinner and/or lunch for birthday, wedding anniversary, wedding thread ceremony, housewarming party, death rituals and so many other reasons like getting a job, resulting in the examination, engagement, farewell for a foreign tour, retirement from the job etc. etc. The list can be endless.

During any such gatherings, all are in a good mood of celebration and enjoyment. Nearly all are in their best dressing, say well dressed, well presented and have the leisure of meeting all the people gathered for fun. All these reasons make an individual happy dancing and joyous. It is highly infectious. It is not easy to be depressed or sad there, even if you have reasons to be so. So we must try to attend all such functions where you are invited and so wanted to share the pleasure.


Rahul’s friends attended the function with great enthusiasm and pleasure. Yogesh-Disha (13000 km), Bhavana Musuluri & family (900 km road journey) from Hyderabad, Raghu Pandey (800 km) from Bhopal, Kaushal-Payal & Nirav-Mansi (400 Km) from Pune, Chirag (200 km) from Mumbai travelled to Bilimora to be with Rahul during the wedding. Vaibhav-Ekta not only enjoyed the event, but they also helped and served round the clock before, during and after the wedding, for more than a week.

Vaishali’s friends Pandya family and six others from Mumbai and Kekul Mistry family from Surat graced the occasion by their presence. Bhavana invited only three to be there - Dr Nayana Patel, Jayaben Tailor and Maheshbhai Raval.

How many friends do I have?

When I feel sad, I do not find many, but my list is long. Piyushbhai Dharaiya, Vijaybhai-Meena, Anilbhai-Jayshree Desai, Dilipbhai Desai, Darshana-Hiren Naik, Bharatbhai-Shefaliben Naik, P A Patel-Dollyben and many more. The list extends to the Lions Club friends, school-college friends, doctors, Jalnagar residents and so the list is really endless, if I go on adding all from my diary. Well, I could stop at 180 invitations.

The event could become enjoyable and great because of them, “the friends”!

Deval (My Nephew)

Deval was the manager – in charge of the event. He did this in the best possible way of putting all his labour, energy, skill and heart. He could save certain expenses as well. Besides Vaishali and Rahul, Deval happens to be our most important support.


The only person who was excited to her maximum for this event was Vaishali – my daughter. She worked on every aspect of wedding planning. She did not give in for any haphazardness or irregularity anywhere. Vaishali and Deval met more than once, discussed numerous times on the phone, conference calls, WhatsApp, and all the other ways to finalise the details of the event.

For Vaishali, this was the most important event of her life. She herself and Rahul came a week earlier (not commonly seen) and materialised every detail of the event. They decided to make the event pompous and a mega event of their dream.

All of us and Vaishali wanted to see Rahul happy enjoying and pleased. All this happened to our satisfaction.

Musical Band and Dancing in Baarat (વર-ઘોડો)

Musical band in my definition should comprise of saxophone, clarinet, shahnai, trumpet and drums giving instrumental music for the procession of the bridegroom to proceed ceremoniously and in a special way.

The musical party we appointed, happened to forget a few of the things. Here in South Gujarat, in spite of my detailed description of expectations from the musical band, they understand only noisy sound caused by male and female singers of no repute, keyboard playing and more than 10 drummers making the crowd to dance the way they like.

People here are happy with what they get. My survey of more than six bands describes having no difference in any. So the uniform, the quality of singers and the ultimate music (noise) they produce are never to the expectations. With these remarks, I can say, all they do is to raise the tempo of the Baarat, make them dance and enjoy. All appreciations go to all Rahul’s friends, Vaishali, Shivani, Deval, Vaibhav and all. They made the show.

The Wedding

Date of the wedding 22.02.15, Sunday was finalized by Rahul and Shivani two months back keeping the convenience of their US friends. The venue expected by Rahul was an open air space under the sky. Accordingly, Shivani’s uncle Dr Hiren Desai with his staff and her father Mukeshhai took great pains to decorate and arrange the mango farm “Kumud Farm” at Dungri (Udwada) in such a nice way, only seeing can explain.

After lunch at Bilimora, we (around 170+) got ready for the baarat (વર ઘોડો), the bridegroom’s wedding procession. The event started at our Jalnagar residence at about 2:30 p.m. to reach the venue about in an hour. While all were exclusively in a great mood of enjoying, Vaishali, Deval, all friends and others danced to the tunes of the band.

We reached the wedding venue Kumud Farm at 4:30 p.m. to get the warm welcome and danced once again for the unlimited time. The venue was new to many because we are more used to weddings in a marriage hall or party plot only. Big farmhouse venue with mango and Chiku (fruits largely produced in South Gujarat) trees decorated nicely made us feel happy and a wave of positivity appeared all around.

All were enjoying, wandering, relaxing and being with one another to the best of their moods. The continuous serving of snacks and cold-drinks made us virtually mad because many did not stop enjoying till both the quota ended.

The Brahmin (priest) was clean and specific about the wedding-ceremony techniques. After Rahul sat for the wedding, Shivani entered the place with her Mama (mother’s brothers) under the joined hands of the ladies in a raw. The marriage was followed by bonding the relationship for seven generations to follow. Considering the importance and seriousness of the event, I was emotional.

Five Wedding Anniversaries on the Sixth Couple’s Wedding Day

To our surprise, 22nd Feb also happened to be the wedding anniversary of Hardik & Poonam, Khusbu & Ketul and Mruga & Manan. By accident the Hindu calendar showed it to be the wedding anniversary of Bhavana’s sister Sandhyaben & Satishbhai, and Bhavana & myself as well! The celebration of the five couples’ wedding anniversaries at the wedding of the sixth, made a history. Celebration by a cake-cutting and closing extinguish the burning candles made an event.

I am happy you read with interest, about this personnel event made public for the sake of record as a description of the present day weddings in “Anavils of South Gujarat, India.”
If both the sides – that of the bride and the bridegroom – maintain the respect and dignity of each other and if expectation levels on both sides are near zero, the event of the wedding is sure to become a memory of pleasure to be remembered for the total life that follows.

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  1. Most definitely the biggest event of my life, not just because it was my wedding, it was one of the most well executed events. Opposed to the popular opinion that the host family would never be able to fully enjoy a social event such as a traditional Indian wedding, all of us in the family including our friends from different corners had a ball of time!

    We all were greatly involved and invested in the preparations, however I must credit Vaishuben and Devalbhai's contribution to make my dream wedding a reality. At the wedding venue as well, it was an authentic rural-traditional kind of a setup both Shivani and I wanted to have. Gave a complete destination wedding experience. When I look back and recall the way the events unfolded, it only brings a big wide smile on my face that everything was just perfect!

    Most interestingly, during the planning, the wedding and even long after the event, most of us from the family and friends (excluding Shivani and me) continued addressing the event as "our wedding". Thank you for putting the great memories together!

    1. Dear Ravi,

      When an event is over, we want the fond memories to remain forever. This is not always possible, because we tend to forget lot-many- things as the time passes. So making a record of the event in words and photos together is a good habit to follow. The words describe emotions and feelings in addition to the event. They can be easily relived just on reading them.

      Our friend-circle and relatives are poor responders, but that should not bother or deter us from making a life time record.

      As you have rightly said, all present there made the marriage function memorable and enjoyable.

      We invite individuals of our liking and their participation leads to the success of the event. Well, pleasant moments were many and sometimes we imagined and created them. All leading to happiness.

    2. I just re-read the article, with photo albums this time. I couldn't think of a better way to re-live the entire event!

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  3. Definitely a memorable event.. enjoyed a lot with special venue which is closed to our heart - it was once Shivani’s great grand father farm .. lots of memories for older generations but now for us too, thanx to this wedding and our annual gathering 😀


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