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Wedding Ceremonies In The City As Bhubaneswar Revives Post Cyclone Fani


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08 May 2019

Sangita Agarwal


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Bhubaneswar: The people of Temple City Bhubaneswar are resilient, strong enough to confront the fury of nature which shattered the beautiful city in its entirety on the 3rd May, 2019, as cyclone ‘Fani’ hit the Odisha coast.

Life was not as usual for denizens of Bhubaneswar, with daily chores and future schedules and scrambled up. But what about those families which planned weddings on that day, or post the unforeseen calamity?

It is not an easy affair, rather inauspicious to postpone such events. Bhubaneswar witnessed the celebration of a number of weddings, all in the midst of a restoration and rebuilding work which have been taken up on war footing.

But organising these events with limited or no resources at one’s disposal has been a herculean task. Vikash married Surabhi on the auspicious occasion of AkshayaTritiya, two days after cyclone Fani made landfall on Puri, 60 kms away from the State Capital.

The wedding took place in the midst darkness, broken trees and debris spread all around the city.It was when people are struggling due to lack of water and power, but their families decided to move on as per plans but keep the ceremony simple.

Surabhi came all along from a faraway town in West Bengal will some selected relatives to Bhubaneswar where Vikash’s family had arranged their stay and marriage venue. But it was not decided this way.

The bride’s mother said, “We had our tickets to Bhubaneswar from Siligudi for around 60-70 people on May 3rd and were supposed to reach on May 4th morning. But due to FANI, it got cancelled. We had no clue what to do as there was no connectivity in Odisha and we were unable to contact the bridegroom’s family in Bhubaneswar.

“We decided to move to Calcutta in a Volvo bus overnight. Then booked a dharamsala for the guests in Calcutta and made them stay till further plans. The trains did not resume, so we cut down our guest list, and booked air tickets for around 30 persons. Our luggage was also cut down, due to weight issues. After lot of problems, and a huge pinch in our pockets we reached Bhubaneswar on 6th morning. All the rituals started as soon as we reached and we just rushed in completing those so that we could have the engagement ceremony, sangeet night on that day followed by marriage and reception the next day.”

The bridegroom’s parents were quite tensed. His father HarikishanAgarwal had given advance payment for every arrangement, but FANI played spoilsport. The venue (Odisha Gujarat Bhawan) did not have any steady power back up. Moreover, the caterers also asked to cut down the food items from the list.

Vikash moved around the city on 4th and 5th just to arrange a genset so that his marriage moves on in a very smooth manner.The guests had already arrived at his place and were staying in darkness.Urmila, his aunt had reached with her family of 2nd May itself. The situation was quite grim. Though everything was set and advance and the payments done, the arrangements had to be cut short, said Vikash.

All’s well that ends well. The occasion was auspicious and celebrations went off in order. This was the story of one family, while many other families belonging to different economic classes, managed to pull off weddings by exhausting all resources at their disposal.

This instance highlights the character of Bhubaneswar and its denizens. Battered by nature’s fury, yet resilient to get back to normal.

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Vikash Agarwal, Groom

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