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A Thoughtful Wedding Gift
Most of you must have seen the beautiful artistic movie “27 dresses”. The lead character of that movie was completely enchanted by the idea of marriage. As she grew up, she found her muse in helping her friends prepare, as they entered this wonderful phase of life.
In her words she said, “When I was child I fell in love with weddings and decided to help my friends prepare for their wedding day. It made me feel good. It was coming from my unconditional self and it felt right”. The question is what feels truly right from the heart? In a world where human psyche is dominated by schadenfreude, it’s difficult to hear the voice of heart. But inspiration and motivation can come from any source, provided we are open to its reception.
Coming back to my story, as my wedding day grew close I was filled with this nervous happy energy. Just like all of you out there about to get married, I too wanted my wedding to be perfect. Every small bit of details was being looked after. We had planned for a big fat Indian wedding. It had to be like that. After all who gets married every day?
There I was all over the place, running around, scrutinizing and double -checking everything. A little voice inside my head kept telling me, ‘It has to be special’. Though I did not know how I could make it more special. This thought followed me around but I still could not fully decode it, although I kept thinking whether every girl gets this thought. Possibly they do. But why is it tweaking me so much? With my head spinning, I continued to do what I had planned to.
I was literally beside myself, seeing the world with rose tinted shades, with spring in my steps; I was doing what every bride does. Or was it really like that? Then arrived ‘the mehndi ceremony day’, one of the many days in our big fat Indian wedding. Again I wanted the best! We had asked for the best mehndi girl to do the job for us. As planned, the ceremony began on due date. The mehndi girl arrived, all dressed up for the occasion. She looked like she was in her 30’s. She was accompanied by this beautiful and bright looking little girl, probably 10 or 11 years old.
We got ourselves comfortably seated and the mehndi ceremony started. I could not help but notice this little girl. There was something about her that I could not ignore. Dressed in a light pink frock with ribbon-ed pigtails she would smile at me whenever my eyes caught hers. Her both legs were significantly damaged. I asked Reena- the mehndi girl, causally, “What does she do?” Reena replied, “As of now nothing, didi.” I asked if she is going to school. To this Reena replied that after they lost their parents in a sudden accident, her little sister survived but all hell broke loose. They had no one to look upon. As she was the eldest sibling, the responsibility of raising her little sister fell on her shoulders. She had absolutely no educational qualification so there was nothing to back her up. It was a difficult time. She juggled many jobs and slowly got introduced into this mehndi application business. She further said that they are financially doing okay but not good enough to plan ahead. She said that she regrets for not having been able to do more. Living in an ambitious city like Mumbai takes a toll on them. It is not an easy city to live in. But then she said, “Didi, I am hopeful somewhere something is definitely going to happen. I will raise her fine.”
I felt as if I was hit by a shot gun. Suddenly I remembered myself when I was 10 years old and my father used to drop me to school for poem recitals. How my lunchbox was always filled with yummy food, how I used to play with my friends, and how my teacher would read me stories from our schoolbook. It felt like I froze in time. I saw glimpses of my own life which were in direct contrast to this beautiful girl. Suddenly it made me appreciate life better.
Like a cloudless sky, all became clear to me. I knew what I had to do. Never ever had I felt this surge of energy. I looked at Reena and told her that I want her sister to take admission in a nearby school. I assured her that I will look after her sister’s education. But this was not enough for me. There are so many girls like her out there. How could I help more? My path was lighting up. I just knew of the right institution that could make it happen. I stood up in the middle of the ceremony, traced my father and asked him, “Papa I wanted to make my wedding very special and you want that too. I know just the way to do so, so let’s not waste any more time.” My dad could not understand. I explained that I want all our guests to make a contribution to Shakti – An intiative to educate and empower the girl child. He asked, why would they do so? I said because that would be my wedding gift from them!
I went into the living room, called for everyone’s attention and made the formal request to all those present there. Then I called my fiancée and shared the idea with him. There was a pause on the phone, then I heard him say, “And this is why I am marrying you”. I could not have asked for a better wedding. This 10 years old girl made my wedding very special. Yes, this tiny speck was about to make a difference!!!
This magnificent ceremony could not trigger that mysterious joy, which I was experiencing while making this profound announcement. Above all one thing was sure, that it was coming from my unconditional self, and for the first time my heart was truly in the right place.
I can now look in the mirror and can proudly say, I am Reshma and ‘my celebration does not hang on a wall, she walks and talks!’
I am proudly marrying Inderjeet Chopra and our wedding card says, “The most important gift you can give us are blessings and support in making the marriage grow, and in lieu of gifts please consider a donation for empowerment of girl child”.

All the contributions generated from our wedding will go to:
Rishi Chaitanya Ashram
For Project
Shakti- Empowering girl child,
NH-1, Gannaur, Sonepat, Haryana
Ph: 09896263821, 0130-2216500

Inspiration can come in many forms. I got the inspiration from the ceremony meant just for me. Everything was beautiful and fancy around me. I wasn’t facing ugliness or bitter truths of life. But the lesson I learnt from all this was that we should never stop trying in our hearts to feel beautiful and make lives of others beautiful too. Rest of it will be seen. Good things always find their ways. Just the way mine found its destination.

For the brides to be….
The joy of helping others unconditionally can come in many forms. We just need the right attitude. With the right intention and a soulful heart we can find ways of helping others in any and everything. Good intentions are at least the seed of good actions. Everyone ought to sow them and leave it to soil for the seasons where others can gather the fruit. We can turn celebrations meant purely for us in something bigger and unique. To all those beautiful women out there who will someday enter holy matrimony, if you really intend to make it holy and sacred, then look in the mirror and ask yourselves how you can make it so? And if the idea is not clicking in your head then probably by reading this you might get a brain wave.
Before you enter this beautiful phase of life, just pause for a while and think of all those wonderful things that happened to you. Like your education, the positive environment that supported you; your parents, friends and family who helped you through. Think of all the factors that made you who you are. Go deep and think more, think of those women and beautiful girls who were not as lucky as you were. And then think of the power you have to make it right. How can you make it right when you are just a speck in this universe? But you are that speck in this universe, which when put in motion, can bring in great kinetic force. You already have things so rightly placed in your life like your parents, your education, big celebrations throughout your life. It’s time to make it more than that. Why settle for good when you can make it the best. You just have to tweeze things a bit.
As you prepare for your wedding day, in the scheme of plans, ask your near and dear ones that instead of giving gifts, they can make a contribution to an authentic institution, working zealously for empowerment of girl child. If they really want to bless you, share your happiness, then they will never show their backs to you. As said, you just have to tweeze things a bit.
Any wedding celebration in the end just becomes a mere memory in form of a video recording or a photo album. But the celebration you will bring upon a life of a girl, just like yourself, will last forever. In her heart and in yours, and in the days to come, you will revolutionize how celebrations are done. The purest pilgrim can happen when you allow a being like yourself to expand and extend her capacities. Education is the biggest pilgrim and making it happen for a girl child will be your pilgrimage. Celebrate it with your near and dear ones. Be a part of the revolution. In the grand scheme of universe, a speck can turn around lives. That speck is you. So make it happen.