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Back Again!

I've taken a bit of a holiday from 'gaelikaa's diary lately.  I seem to be doing more writing and less blogging these days.

We had a long visit from some  of our family members recently and more time spent with family translates into less time on the computer.   I also have a course to finish.  My children are now back at school and that gives me more time to post.

My husband's elder brother Rajesh and his wife Anshika visited us for about ten days along with their children, Surbhit, Prafulit and Priyanka.  One evening, the entire family received an invitation to attend a pre-marriage party at the house of a neighbour who was also a close friend of my late father-in-law.

That neighbour is known in our house as Jain Sahib (Mr. Jain).  He is a cloth merchant.  Although he must be around eighty years of age, he still works a full day six days a week in his business.  Various members of his family work in the there too although there are a few professionals such as doctors in the family.  Their day off is Wednesday.  He and my father in law were like minded people.   They had a common belief in simple living and high thinking.  Both were deeply rooted in the traditions and culture of their background, yet retained a basic humility and cheerfulness.  My father in law, towards the end of his life, had a daily prayer meeting every afternoon with his friends at our house and Jain Sahib could be seen there most Wednesdays.

Jain Sahib sent his son that morning to call all our family to the party.  One of their daughters was getting married and the marriage was to take place in a distant city so they were having a party for her before she went away.  The party was a lively one, with lots of music and dancing.  The youngsters in the family had a ball, freaking out to the latest Bollywood hits.  Jain Sahib was there, supervising the proceedings.  He wears the traditional Indian dress of dhoti and kurta.  I attended the party along with three of my children, my two brothers in law, my sister in law Anshika and her children.  Jain Sahib welcomed us warmly and I could see that he really misses my father in law.  As the party went on, my brother in law Rajesh tried to take leave, as he was feeling tired.  Jain Sahib assured him that the dinner was about to be served and especially requested us not to leave without eating.  So we agreed.

Jain Sahib then had the music switched off for a few minutes.  With his beautiful granddaughter by his side, he asked everyone's blessings on his her, as she  was to be married in a few days.  He then said that just before eating, we should take a few minutes to remember  Almighty God from whom all blessings flow.  He said that he thought it was a good thing to celebrate the events of life with music and dancing but that it was also important to take some time out to remember God.  He then led everyone in chanting 'Om' and the Gayatri Mantra.  Then several hymns were sung.  I know the mantras, but not the hymns.  I noted that all the children and young people from his house knew the hymns word for word, the would-be bride included. 

This was an amazing experience.  I can't believe till now that I saw this elderly gentleman take charge of a party which was basically a disco - and turn it into a prayer meeting!  I know my father in law would have loved to see this.  After that, we had dinner - lovely, traditional north Indian fare - and the music and dancing resumed for those who required it.

I am trying to figure out what would happen if someone tried to stop a party in Ireland and get everyone  to sing hymns.  I can't imagine it happening somehow.  Yet another fascinating experience from my life in India.

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