It was Tulsi Vivah … Marriage Day for Tulsi plant with Shaligram, a consecrated piece of slightly flattened, well rounded stone.
I had no idea of the level and extent of celebration that accompanied the baffling tradition till this day, when the wedding took place between a daughter plant of Basil we had nurtured in our balcony and the Vishnu emblem worshipped in a neighbourhood home.
It was a wedding proper complete with a mandap, propped on sugarcane sticks, congregation of people from the two sides — bride and groom, a priest to conduct the ceremony, and food galore. People cried to see the bride leave her foster home; others were happy to see them come together for good. It was a most auspicious thing to happen, an event that merited the celebratory sentiment and that dose of blessedness, with which the gentry felt blissfully inebriated. Understably, onlookers were heard sharing their sense of amazement…and their conflict.
The conflicted thoughts were usual : how can a plant be wed ? To a piece of stone ?! Wasn’t it all regressive, the very opposite of scientific temper ? Is this the 21st Century we are living in ?
I had no such thoughts, no such conflicts. That’s for the kids. Their zeal for the little they know, and inspiration from promises of scientific breakthroughs, was a wonderful thing in itself. Except when I consider its limits and likely basis of things far more obnoxious. The Plant Wed Stone affair was simple, happy and love-filled in comparison.