31 Jan 1971. Believe me, I was at last getting married!
Just before the wedding, one of the customs considers the bridegroom as Lord Vishnu. Thus, the bride’s father welcomes the son-in-law on his arrival as if he were Lord Vishnu. So was I. In addition to a wonderful life-time companion, I was offered a suit and a gold chain etc as gifts! Great!
But just before that, the father-in-law offers pooja and prayers to the son-in-law and in the process he washes the son-in-law’s feet, wipes them, applies Kumkum chandan, tilak, etc to his feet. Basically, prays him literally like he was God.
There comes the problem and the dilemma. On the one hand, you are taught to regard your wife’s father like he was your own father and at the same time, you make him wash your feet?
Would you ever allow your father to touch and wash your feet? No, certainly not. Then how could I accept that my father-in-law would wash my feet? Never. It is possible it was a good old tradition and there was a reason for it to be included in the ceremonies. But, it did not appear logical to me.
I rebelled against this system. I just couldn’t allow my father-in-law to wash my feet. Senior members of my family protested, even though my dad appreciated the gesture. The protest was natural as I was trying to break an age-old system. I was firm and every one ultimately had to agree.
This system was deleted from our family for all the subsequent weddings till date. Deleted once and for all!
My belief is that wherever the system does not appear to be fair, check whether your conscience permits to continue with what you are being asked to do.
Written: Badri Baldawa Edited: Meeta Kabra