“Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. Don’t force yourself into love; don’t be possessive, for these are not the traits of love. Love is freedom.” Khalid Gibran.
The tassa drums roll. The hands resonate through the Royal Indian Palace hall. Guests stretch their eyes toward the doorway, expectant. Outside, the bridal party is poised for its grand entrance. Rajindra and Kelly Ann Maharaj will make their first walk down the aisle as husband and wife.
Rajindra and Kelly Ann Maharaj
Thunderous applause and cheers, hoots and whistles, greet the couple as they enter, arm in arm, proceeding slowly to their seats at the head table, beneath a canopy of red and gold tapestry and fringed brocade. The tassa drummers follow cutting hand after hand while the beaming bride and her proud groom seat themselves. (Just to make it clear, people’s hands were not really cut. A hand in tassa drumming represents a beat or musical note and the execution of the hand is referred to as a cut, hence the term cutting hands. Tassa drummers play seven different hands, most popular being the nagara.)
Preceding the bridal party to take their positions at both sides of the reception table are Kelly Ann’s parents, Seeta Heeralal and Ricky Rampaul and Rajindra’s parents, Ena and Bhadase Maharaj. Heading the bridal party and leading the group into the reception hall are the beautiful flower nymphs, sisters, Daviann and Brianna, following are the young couples; Brittney and Sanjay and Aishwariya and Satish. Making their entrance are the adult couples; bridesmaids and their partners; Keisha and Timothy, Roxanne and Shaun, Suzette and Joshua and Melissa and Donny.
Rajindra and Kelly Ann were married under Hindu rites on Sunday, October 18, at the Prem Bhakti Mandir, Jamaica. Today, Friday, October 23, the Reception takes place at the Royal Indian Palace, on Atlantic Avenue, Richmond Hill.
Shedding the lehenga choli worn at the mandir, she emerges in a strapless off white wedding dress with a lightly tanned trail, a delicate tiara on her head and lovely white pearls and diamond necklace . It suites her slight frame, a perfect dress for a perfect bride. Rajindra complements her in a black tuxedo. A regal couple for a regal affair at a royal palace. Incidentally, I am also the mistress of ceremonies for the evening’s programme.
Raj Seepersad, Kelly Ann’s uncle, moves a toast and pays hearty tribute to her. He wishes her a successful and lasting married life. Donny and Melissa, her cousins, also move toasts in her honour and congratulate her on her marriage. Toasting the couple on behalf of Rajindra are his aunt Tara Dadwah and his cousin Natalie Dadwah, guests from Canada. His maternal uncle, Mahabal Jadoo, who flew in from Trinidad for the wedding, brings best wishes and insists that the family will meet again, perhaps before 2010 closes, for the baarahie celebrations (the birth of their first child). He receives accolades on that one.
Tassa drummers perform at the reception.
Then a surprise twist in the evening’s programme, a dance dedicated to the couple by Rajin’s rakhi
sister, and my daughter, Florencia Suzette Gosine. She dances to the late Kanchan’s Mare Akiya.
It is truly a surprise and guests show their appreciation with lively applause.
On that note the couple takes the stage for their first dance of the evening. The bridal party follows with the couples dance and then the parents’ dance. In the spotlight are Kelly Ann dancing with her father Ricky and Rajindra dancing with his mother Ena. Then they switch, Kelly dances with Bhadase, her father-in-law and Rajindra dances with Seeta, his mother-in-law.
Following a musical interlude they cut a three-tier white wedding cake to signal the end of the formal program. Then the party starts. Guests take to the floor joining Kelly Ann and the bridal party in a medley of dances to the DJ music. Then the tassa drumming starts again, this time, Rajindra, an experienced tassa drummer takes control of the bass drum and cuts some sharp hands to which Kelly Ann dances and rolls her hips in a beguiling manner. It’s a dance between husband and wife who shares coy looks and knowing smiles.
The night wears on and the party is in full swing. Kelly Ann dances non-stop, facing dance-off challenges from family members and emerging victorious until the DJ signs off and the last tassa hand is cut. Exhausted she flops into a chair, a bemused look on her round face. She achieves her goal, to enjoy every moment of her reception. The next day she tells me she had lost two pounds that night just from dancing.