Kashmir is a place to be for sure. We are still here relaxing after our daughter’s wedding when we had a large houseboat and several small ones accommodating the fly in guests. Our location is on Lake Nageen in Srinagar, which is about 1800 feet above sea level in the lower reaches of the Himalayan Alps. The wedding ceremony and the parties on board were a highlight.
I got to walk Kate down the gangway that served as an aisle from the large houseboat (still here from the British times in great demand by high end tourists). The actual ceremony was in the adjacent gardens. It was also a high point for the 575 locals from his side with many whom had not seen a western style white wedding before. We know the numbers because they just count the plates from the wedding feast. In the end the whole affair that ran over 3 days with local celebrations and events involving us and all the guests and all the related families.
In Srinagar each year there is a defined wedding season that lasts for nearly 2 months. During this week for example there have been about 20 other weddings going on with similar celebrations over several days. They are prestigious affairs and have a large invited community of witnesses. After seeing our wedding, someone remarked that the fashion for wedding may change. Kate, who is fashion designer by trade anyway, has already received some feelers from pending brides for next season for her to do a dress designs such as the one she did for herself.
It seemed clear the community expect newlyweds to take marriage quite seriously. Someone remarked that in a mixed culture weddings when the families think the marriage may fail, the arrangements are far less grandiose. Sometimes they may just be a registry office style affair so it can avoid community embarrassment later.
Fortunately our daughter, who has been coming here for more than 4 years, is well accepted and very well-liked so that was not the case. It became quickly clear to us when we got here that she has already made her mark in the local community and is regarded highly by her husband’s family. We were also afforded tremendous hospitality and have been treated like royalty with chauffeurs to pick us up and daily plans to keep us all entertained and relaxed.
The unconditional generosity and openness made any fears go away about the our daughter taking on a new culture. It become especially clear that the human fundamentals were sound. When we talked with his family we found they too had the same fears for their son.
One of the hardest things for me has been my daughter’s decision to change both her given and family name which is now Isha Kousar. In time I am sue I will learn to stop using the name we gave her at birth. Of course her family name changed by marriage anyway but she told me she had done that by deed poll before she was married so she could make it clear on all the papers that her husband (then-to-be) would not be denied a visa entry to Australia. Her husband’s family of one of substance anyway so that did not make sense that she needed to do that. I suspect it was more motivated by the need to show full acceptance of his world so she could marry her man.
He is a really great guy and someone I am sure I will enjoy as our new son in law.
Our love and best wishes are with them both as they embark on their new journey of life together.