Mehndi Hai Rachne Wali

Mehndi hai rachnewali
Haathon mein gehri laali
Kahey sakhiyaan, ab kaliyaan
Haathon mein khilne wali hain
Tere manko, jeevan ko
Nai khushiyan milne wali hai

(regret that translation is impossible: there is more feeling than words in the above lines)

If there is anything that can bring a tear to a father, it is this.

When father’s little girl shows the picture and profile of a young man and informs her desire to make him her life partner, a wide spectrum of emotions sweeps over him. A moment-by-moment account:

That first magical moment:  taken by surprise which transforms to elation like a bud blooming into a flower in fast-forward; numbness at the sudden and abrupt full-stop to a process of searching for a suitable groom. Giggling siblings secretly film this moment.

Next moment, when realisation dawns that indeed, she has made an appropriate, mature choice, actually an excellent choice, one feels admiration, pride, a mental admission that she has done better than her parents could have; a grudging admission that daddy’s little girl has become a woman.

In the next moments, it is how, when, where, with much laughter and rolling of the eyes over the wooing and the marriage proposal.

Next moment: Relief! 1 down. A mountain lifted from the shoulders. A warm feeling of relaxation fills the body like a sip of neat brandy. The tiredness drains from the body like water when the lid is lifted from the sink.

Next: One starts to visualise the to-do over the next few months: there will be new relationships to be made, much giving and receiving, making bookings, shopping; the house will be full of family and friends,singing and laughing, decorating and arranging, informing and inviting. One thinks of Madhuri Dixit and recalls scenes from Hum Aap ke Hai Kaun. One also recalls the father Steve Martin in the film Father of the Bride. There would be long-awaited celebrations.

Next moment, however, in mock sternness, the father tells the girl, “Well, he will have to talk to me first”.