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Krishna Kumar decided to go ahead with his daughter’s wedding during the lockdown. He expected challenges, but found unexpected love and cheer.

How pandemic weddings are bringing back traditions A father on tearing up at his daughters big day
Monday, October 12, 2020 - 21:56

This article is a part of the Muhurat At Home Series, brought to you by Kalyan Jewellers. Planning a wedding? Book a Live Session here for an exclusive session with Kalyan Jewellers’ executives.

“I didn’t expect to cry, but I cried twice,” says Krishna Kumar, his voice getting a little shaky, as he explains how he and his wife decided to go ahead with their daughter’s wedding during the lockdown. He expected the big day to have challenges and difficulties - from a restricted guest list to having the event inside his own home. But on that day, as he watched his family come together to marry off his beloved daughter, all he felt was overwhelming love and gratitude.

“Every decision you make comes into sharper focus,” Kumar says, “From planning our shopping trips to get the right wedding jewellery to doing the math to invite the right number of guests.”

“What was brought into sharpest focus for me was how it reminded me of the weddings I had been to as a child,” Kumar recalls. Traditional weddings in those days were held within the home premises, and had the entire family there to cook, decorate, and dress up together - and of course, lots of jewellery. “It really used to be a family affair, and that’s what it became for us this time, too,” Kumar says, smiling.

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Return of the traditional wedding

The true joy of a wedding is the coming together of families. Kumar echoes this: “What is a wedding about? Love. Not just romantic love. Familial love. You want to shower love upon the couple, but also upon each of your relatives who have showed up to share in this experience with you.”

In the traditional style of wedding, the ceremonies would take place in the courtyard and interiors of the family house. Festivities would be intimate but would go on for days. Cooking and sweet-making would begin in advance. Final decisions on outfits and jewellery would be taken. “Everybody in the family had a hand in everything, they would always be around, talking, preparing, gossipping. It was the best atmosphere of celebration,” Kumar reminisces.

These days, there’s big wedding venues and ceremonies that are planned out by professionals. While this does give us entertaining, beautiful events, the aura of familial closeness and “all hands on deck” that Kumar is speaking about has diluted somewhat.

With the lockdowns, weddings have regained some of this closeness. “My daughter had her mother and other relatives with her when she picked out her wedding jewellery and wedding saree. She was disappointed at first at the thought of a restricted wedding, but when she felt the immense support she received from having close elder women around her for her big decisions, she felt better.”

The bride and groom at the wedding. 

“Even the food we ate was more traditional, because it was all homemade!” Kumar laughs.

Rediscovering the father-daughter bond

With a smaller event and everything moving slower due to the lockdowns, it gave Kumar time to reflect on his relationship with his daughter. He seems lost for words at first when trying to describe it, then haltingly begins: “We’re bonded. Extremely bonded. She has always been one of my closest confidantes. And then she left for Bengaluru to work as a financial analyst, and our home here in Kerala felt a little emptier and quieter. I thought because she was away from us for a year, I wouldn’t feel as much when she left as a married woman, but it really hit me. Here was the girl I had raised, leaving my house a woman - to run a house of her own. It was really heavy.

Kumar wonders whether, if he had thrown the big wedding he had planned, he would have had the time to really feel these nuanced emotions. “We didn’t even have an engagement because the lockdowns had made everything so complicated. So on the day, with only 50 people around us, I think I really felt everything - my love for her, my hope that she will have the best life, my sadness that she’s leaving our house, my relief that I could give her this celebration - without even a shred of distraction.”

“You always find deeper value in a celebration when it is in the face of great odds,” Kumar concludes. “Somehow, I felt the magic of those moments. We had put together this special day, despite fear of sickness, despite restrictions, despite everything. It was something to feel proud of, surely.”

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This article was produced in association with Kalyan Jewellers.