Last blog was about Subadra’s husband’s funeral – and we went to the meal on the 13th day to see her. She was dressed in a different sari – blue and green colors (no red allowed now) and seemed better than she had been previously. However, Subadra is still facing a new and difficult kind of life.
We heard last week that our landlady’s son had gotten married. Anju, our landlady, told us that this was a difficult life change for her, because actually, her son and his bride had run off together – the Nepali equivalent of eloping. If a couple runs off and spends the night together here, they are considered to be married.
On Sunday, 2 banana trees draped in red appeared at the top of the path down to our house. (The landlady and her son live right next to us) The young couple got dressed in their wedding finery and went to the Hindu temple to go through the marriage rites and make everything official. The landlady came over to see us that day and invited us to the bhoj (feast) on Friday to celebrate the wedding.
We got an official written invitation which said that the party would be at the White Lake Hotel in the town starting at 3 pm. We have been in Nepal long enough to know now that no one actually goes to things like this on time. And – the family hadn’t even left the house here on Friday afternoon until close to 4 pm! So – we didn’t rush to be on time… (Maybe now you will forgive us when we are late to things in the U.S. because time does have a different meaning here…)
Les got off work right at 5, which is a minor miracle these days! He came by the house to get me and we walked together into town to the hotel. The bride and groom and some family were standing in a room where they were receiving guests. We got to greet them and give them a gift, then after chatting and taking some photos, we moved out into the courtyard area where coffee was being served.
We chatted with friends there and found out some more about this particular couple and the background to their running away… The young man (our landlady’s son), Ashirbad, met his bride when they were studying in the same college. He is a Khati – a Chetri family (fairly high caste Hindu). Sailesa is the daughter of a Newari family who owns a shop in the bazaar. The Newars are Buddhist. Her older brother, Saurab, just finished his residency at the mission hospital.
The bride’s family are not happy with this marriage – and so none of them came to the party at the hotel. As we walked home from the party, we could see that their shop was open and they were serving customers. I wanted to go over and say, “Don’t you know you won’t ever get these moments back again? Go and be with your daughter and be happy for her!” But – I didn’t. I just thought them loudly in my head.
Anyway – after we had our coffee and visited with friends, we went into the buffet line and had our meal. It was quite tasty pulau (rice with spices and nuts and coconut, etc,), curried vegetables, spicy tomato achar, goat meat, and fried fish. We ate with our plates balanced on our knees – trying to be neat while eating the meat off the bones and drinking water to combat the spicy peppers.
Turns out that Sailesa’s family had been talking about arranging a marriage for her (within the Newar community) so this young couple decided that if they wanted to be together, they would have to run off. It may take many years before the bride’s family actually recognizes the marriage.
Please pray for this young couple – and for their families. And for us as we try to get to know them better and to encourage them.