Kayak, Wedding, Love
“Sir, are there supposed to be snakes in these narrow water passageways?”
I finally asked what was bothering me with every step into the puddle of water.
It was about 6:15 am when the path was barely visible but it was not completely dark. We were a group of 6 people – our guide, an old couple from New Zealand probably in their late 50s, three college kids in their early 20s, and myself.
We had just finished a mini hike through the wetlands of Alleppey to reach a kayaking spot where we were supposed to venture into the open backwaters in kayaks.
As soon as I asked that question, I heard a collective sigh of exasperation from the college kids.
“Why would you even ask that?“ one of them cried while others rolled their eyes and shrugged their shoulders in exasperation. It was as if I had brought out their worst fears in the open.
The guide went one step ahead. He said with a twinkle in his eyes as if relishing our misery,
“Yes, you can encounter a few cobras here and there. And there are also some water snakes but they are not poisonous.”
None of us uttered a single word of response. We just stared at each other with half horror and half confusion wondering if he was joking or serious.
Anyway, thankfully, we never faced/saw any snake. There was a spider or two that entered our kayak while navigating through narrow stretches of water. For a moment, I did wonder if it was radioactive and bit me so I could probably turn into Spiderman later.
Anyway, moving on.
The Kerala Wedding
I am visiting Kerala, an Indian state, often known as God’s Own Country because of its scenic beauty, for the first time.
One of my closest friends got married and I feel extremely privileged to witness a traditional wedding ceremony in South India at a church as opposed to the flamboyant weddings of North India.
I was surprised at the simplicity of the people as well as the environment of the wedding. No fancy outfits (my friend’s cousin told me, pointing at my friend sitting on the stage, “Bro, you are more dressed than him!” :D). No loud music. No over-the-top expression of the extravagance.
And most importantly, the whole thing barely lasted 4 hours in the daytime. This included the church ceremony and a lunch reception, both happening at two different places 4-5 km apart. The bride and the groom even changed outfits in that half an hour gap!
I mean come on! 😀 Most weddings in North India only begin at 9 pm and don’t get done until 6-7 am. Almost everyone involved is drained, sleepy, exhausted, and frustrated. I could never be excited about those weddings for precisely this reason!
Anyway, coming back to the church ceremony, it lasted for about 2 hours. It also happened in Malayalam- an Indian language spoken in Kerala which I don’t understand. The priests spoke and sang for the entire duration.
However, I did manage to catch exactly 4 phrases that they told the couple in English about expressing love.
4 Ways of Expressing Love
I am sharing the phrases that I heard from priests but the description that follows is my interpretation as I could not understand their explanation:
1. Being together
This might seem obvious but it also made me wonder about long-distance relationships. Maybe being together does not just mean being physically around each other.
But, it could also mean being together on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
I once read somewhere that a relationship can hold a mirror and your worst insecurities and fear can come to the surface. A healthy relationship is one where both partners can be together as non-judgmental witnesses and help each other process their inner insecurities and win their battles.
Being together in this way is also a way of expressing love for each other.
Communication is undoubtedly the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Sometimes we forget that people cannot read minds, (unless of course you know Occlumency and live in the fictional world of magic!).
Telling each other how you feel without blaming the other is one part of communication. But, not taking things personally while listening is also an equally important part.
Both need to coexist for communication to work.
It reminded me of one of the five languages of love which is “acts of service”.
Sometimes “words of affirmation”- another love language- might not be enough. Words alone don’t matter to express love. Action is equally important. It might not always be grand gestures of love. It is more about the little actions as well.
I don’t know what they could be though. If I ever fall in love or find such actions by experience, I will let you know. This is merely my interpretation as of now. 😀
This one was tricky for me to interpret. I have never found any resonance or connection with any specific deity or the idea of God as taught to me.
So, I am unsure what would it mean to express love via God.
One idea I resonate deeply around God is the idea of everything being part of the same fabric. The essence of everything and everyone is the same.
That is why in some philosophies they say that everyone is God. Not from an egotistical point of view but a spiritual point of view. God lies within us. God lies in everyone around us. God is not somewhere outside to attain or experience.
From that understanding, maybe expressing love is about recognizing that spark of divinity within each other.
It is not about putting each other on a pedestal. It is also caring about self-love, self-respect, and personal growth because you are aware of your divinity. It is also about encouraging the partner and helping them realize their potential and the divine spark within them.
By remembering and recognizing this essence of God within each other, you express love.
What do you think?
Do you agree with the above interpretations?
What was missing?
Let me know in the replies! 🙂
Until next time,
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