Small, lean and green wedding

Irish Valsamma and Hitha are getting married with no gold or dowry, on February 19 by planting trees, serving kanji and payaru.

Irish Valsamma must have told the story dozens of times, repeated the same lines over and over. But once you put the question to him, he gives away a short laugh and talks like he is talking about it for the first time. It's his wedding. His and Hitha's. Hitha, who grew up in a house where religion and caste were not followed. Hitha, whose parents didn't fill the columns for those for her or her sister at school, and told them that the day they wish to follow a religion, they were free to do so. At 22, Hitha says, she still doesn't feel like following any. She is happy being non-religious. Perfect, Irish thought, when he met the family years ago as part of an environment camp they were all part of. Irish had dreamed of a simple wedding that followed no religious customs and had no gold and dowry. And when three years of friendship with Hitha turned into love, his dreams were coming true. The couple will have a 'green' wedding on February 19, Irish had announced on his Facebook page a week ago, and it's got thousands of likes and comments and people calling him up to appreciate the good gesture.

Hitha with her parents and Irish.Hitha with her parents and Irish.

“There are many people who want to have simple weddings like these, but they bow down to parental pressures. And parents are afraid of what society will think of them,” Irish says in a phone call from Malappuram.

His story goes way back to the time of his parents' intercaste wedding. His mother had passed away when he was very young and his father had remarried. “I was raised a Christian and my dad would accept me only if I became a Muslim — he is an orthodox Muslim — and I didn't want to do that. So I started living on my own when I turned 15. Everything has been on my own terms and I turned out alright,” he smiles.

Hitha, who is in Bengaluru finishing her final year in Ayurveda, joins in a conference call, and says her sister Milena who is a naturopathy doctor will also get married at the same venue, the same way. “She’s getting married to Prabhu from Chennai. Their family is also happy with this arrangement.” Hitha and Irish have invited other couples to come to the venue if they wish to get married there the same way as them.

The wedding will be marked by planting of a tree in Perambra, Kozhikode, near her house. “It will be just a gathering of friends; there will be singing, dancing, and all. We will wear our casual clothes, as always. And it will be all nature food — kanji and payaru. There will be no non-veg or alcohol. And to everyone who comes, we will gift a sapling each,” Irish says. Joining them for the wedding is also the members of the cycle groups Irish is part of — Cycle Club and Team Malabar Riders — and they will all come riding their bicycles.

Irish's idea of a simple wedding comes from the days he has seen his neighbour suffer, because the girl's parents had only 20 sovereigns to offer as dowry in place of the 40 the groom's family had demanded. His respect for women and womanhood goes so deep that he changed his last name to his late mother's — Valsamma. “I don't believe in making speeches. I want my life to speak to others,” says the young man, who is involved in environmental work, taking awareness classes for children.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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