Another wedding, another make-up caked bride, another Thursday evening wasted.
I was PISSED off.
The mother of the bride was hospitable enough but she was unstoppable in her quest to be in every one of the 400 or so pictures I shot that night.
"Thake bigchar, my deeyar. Thake many bigchar. I laik thoo much bigchar." YES MA'AM
I looked around for the father of the bride, hoping he was a short, skinny speck of a man that would blow his wife's 5'9", well-endowed frame way out of proportion and give us something to snicker about back at the studio (yes, we are very bored people).
But alas, he was a tall, lanky man with a weathered face and kind eyes. BLEH, whatever.
It was time for the bride to make her grand entrance. How she was going to descend a full flight of NARROW ASS stairs with a dress that could've kept a small village dry during a rainstorm, was beyond me. Her sister informed me that she and her friends were going to helb her. One of them, standing behind the bride, in charge of the back end of the dress, was so helbful, that everyone remaining in the room as the bride made her exit, accidentally got a good view of white bridal buttock. Cotton panties, sensible.
Zalghoota! The old women howl with everything they have. Here comes the bride! Behind her, a trail of young women, one hand helping the bride with her dress, the other desperately trying to hold their own abayas closed, protecting their modesty.
Yeah right. I was there when they'd come up to wish the bride. They'd hurriedly shed their abayas and hijabs then, so that everyone could get a good look at their outfits. Modesty my big brown ass.
The bride finally reaches her seat far across the room from where her groom is sitting. The girls pick up the back of the dress and throw it over the back of the chair. She sits down gingerly. For some reason, the words "Little Miss Muffet" come to mind.
The place suddenly fell silent. I turned to see what had caused this very unusual occurrence. In walks bearded The High Priest, brown bisht and turban impeccable, followed closely by the father of the bride. He makes his way past the seated women and takes his own seat near the bride.
He says something to the room. The women reply in chorus. The bride's father takes his place on the other side of the priest and looks down into the book he is reading aloud from. From where I'm standing, I can see the bride's mother seated in the front row of women, across from the bride. I don't know what the priest is saying but the look on the father's face is intense as hangs on to every word the priest utters.
Then it happened. As if the gravity of the moment was too much for him to bear, the bride's father looked up, his brown eyes searching the crowd of women for that one familiar face. And then he found it. His wife looked back at him from where she sat and smiled reassuringly. His face softened and the corners of his mouth turned upward ever so slightly. They looked at each other a long time. Like there was nobody else in the room. I was mesmerized. So much was said with that one look they exchanged. Pride, relief, thanks, happiness, love.
His sweet brown eyes twinkled and she beamed back at him.
If I believed in marriages, that's what I'd want mine to be about.