Abhishek & Sayanta | Big affair in a small town

The streets of the eastern part of India always hold millions of stories. When Abhishek invited me to photograph his wedding in Siliguri, a small commercial town in West Bengal, I was elated. 

The street photographer in me did some walking around the town before this inter-caste marriage would take all my attention to its culturally rich traditions and rituals. 

I was photographing a wedding after five long years and it had a lot for me to witness.

This small town has stories at every corner. Its god-fearing, god-loving people, their stories and businesses, their old and young, but most strikingly, in their rituals. With me, Nikita, the sister-in-law of Abhishek, will tell you the story of this marriage. You’ll meet with her quite frequently, in different frames, in different rooms, and feeling different emotions. 

A man with Mehendi painted on his hands and feet, decorates his face, cupping them in his palms. As soon as we lay eyes on the Marwadi groom and the Bengali bride, we can barely unsee their joy-filled smiles. Generations of traditions passed down from one to another, they are still the centre of our lives. 

As the Bengali bride gets ready, her eyes show impatience in her, to be with her love. In the folds of her dupatta, and the tresses flowing down her shoulder, you can witness the intense will to be with one another. Nikita stands by the young bride, hoping she feels at home, wishing she looks her best on this auspicious day. Despite all this madness and dancing, the child in us will find the softest of lights. Her little daughter hides behind her, as I click in their direction. I see the traditional and fun Mama walking around fulfilling his duties, and enjoying the fun rituals along with! The shapes and the shadows redefine the way we think of marriages, and this small town, inter-caste marriage successfully manages to take my breath away, at every turn of the day. But what stays with me much after the marriage is the relationship about to bloom beyond Nikita and Sayanta, a weave of understanding between voice and silence in an hour of need.

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