We, as a country, may still have a long way to go in accepting homosexual relationships, but there’s no denying that we have also made some serious strides, especially when Section 377 was scrapped in our country last year.
An Indian gay couple based in the US gave us another reason to celebrate pride by hosting a big fat wedding. Parag Mehta and Vaibhav Jain got married on March 30 in the presence of their parents and family members. The wedding celebration kicked off with sangeet and garba - a colourful night of music, street food and dancing. The venue was loaded with food carts serving chaat and paan-flavored ice cream. There were Bollywood-themed photo ops and mehendi carts as well, but the highlight of the evening was Gujarati garba featuring the couples’ parents, with the guests joining in and dancing the night away.
The wedding was on the morning of March 30, and since the wedding had two grooms, it also had two baraats. Parag and Vaibhav rode in on separate horse-drawn chariots and came to the wedding venue from opposite directions. After arriving at the venue, the dulhas were welcomed by their mothers-in-law, who performed a tilak ceremony to bless the grooms. The wedding concluded with an American reception with guests dancing on hit Bollywood numbers and enjoying the delectable Indian delicacies.
Vaibhav is a research associate with the American Institutes for Research and Executive Board member of the South Asian Public Health Association, whereas Parag is a Senior VP at Mastercard.
Vaibhav came to the US in 2011 after he was driven out of India due to the existence of the Section 377 that criminalised homosexuality. Talking about the struggles of being a gay man in an Indian household, Vaibhav said, “My struggles in India growing up as a gay man were real and often very painful. Parag grew up on the other end of the world in a small town in Central Texas, but his experience and struggles were definitely comparable to my own, if not more.”
Parag, too, described his beautiful journey with Vaibhav in an open letter: “The journey to that mandap was a long but really fulfilling one. It required that the people who love us grow and change to accept the most basic nature of love: that love knows no gender or race or creed or nationality. It also required us to be patient and to communicate respectfully so that we could bring others along with us. No one wants to be the villain in someone else's story. So, part of what Vaibhav and I (and our parents) have tried to do is to help folks who are skeptical about same-sex relationships see that it's okay to champion the love between two people. It's okay to evolve one's fixed ideas about marriage, sex and tradition. It's okay to change your mind and your way of thinking, And, most important, it's okay – and even possible – for all of us to be heroes in this story.”
Isn’t that beautiful?
In a defining post on Instagram, Parag recently posted a picture of his and Parag’s hands decorated with henna and wrote, “Boys don’t get #mehndi they told me. It’s only for brides. But when you’re already bucking centuries of nonsense by marrying the man of your dreams, who says change has to stop at the groom? Be you. Be best. Happy #PRIDE 🏳️🌈”
Check out some of the beautiful pictures from the wedding ceremony:
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