Threshold ceremony began with big pomp and show. All members of Mahaale family and other fiends had come to attend the ceremony. They were all appreciation for the way this village girl achieved this position and that too without any male support. Elderly members blessed Veena and prayed for her further growth. They were comparing other boys from the village and said, they should learn from Veena something and do rather similar feat in their career. They also cherished friendship of the Arabian girl and Veena. Shree had come but he looked more interested in other matters. He wanted to find out if he might get a chance to do something in the city to supplement his income and for that, he was discussing possibilities of any export business with help from his newly found friend in Kamaal. He showed sparse attention to Ibna excepting greeting her at the beginning. Ibna behaved similarly and all that fitted properly for the occasion. Kamaal's friends who had visited the village had come with special gifts to commemorate the threshold ceremony.
Ibna looked more interested in the religious ceremony and other those things particularly the fire to appease the deity she looked with amazement and for that she was keeping company of Veena's mother. Veena's mother also was enjoying that Inba was taking interest in those rituals. Ibna told her that they the Arabs do not have any such elaborate services and opined that such rituals add flavor to the occasion. She whispered to her that her brother Kamaal has requested their priest to come and get blessings of Allah for the occasion; wanted to know if that is allowed by the family. To her surprise, Veena's mother immediately agreed to that and told it to Veena's father about that. He with folded hands said that the priest is most welcome. After that Ibna looking to her brother said to him in Arabic that he can call the priest as if the priest was waiting to get the approval. Kamaal with a sweet smile and a nod of approval called for the priest on mobile and soon the priest in his typical attire entered the living room with some of Kamaals friends, whom Veena had never seen, where the Hindu ceremony was arranged. The priest looked to the Hindu ceremony and after greeting with appreciation to the Hindu priest requested all that all please be silent while he praises Allah and request the almighty to bless the girls for their future. This appeared very much different from the Hindu ceremony because while that was done nobody bothered to keep attention for the ritual, everybody was making all the noise around so much so that nobody could hear the mantras priests were chanting. After it was all silent, he began to prey for Allah and the prayer continued for sometime, after brief pause, he told the meaning of the prayer to the attending gathering since the prayer was in Arabic and not in any language that they could understand. This small change added considerable seriousness to the occasion that it deserved. The gathered people were all Brahman; they felt embarrassed that they did not give the occasion the seriousness it deserved, even though, that aptly was essential. When we call God, we must maintain some decorum but we Hindus do not do it and this unsophisticated mannerism of Hindus came under criticism; they agreed that Hindus should learn something from these people and improve. All that condemnation of their crude mannerism was in Marathi not accessible to Kamaal and his friend and that saved them from their reaction of ridicule. Ibna understood that censure but gave no reaction to that as if that was not very important to her. However, she told later to Veena's mother that probably Hindus are not very careful with these mannerisms because, for them the God is their mother, as usual children often take mother for granted, and that may be the reason for this carelessness. Mother thanked her for her defense but all the same did not accept it and said we Hindus must improve our ways with our Gods. We Hindus are the only stupid people who do not care to show simple respect to our Gods, we pass jokes on our Gods, write satires and even make plays showing our Gods in not very respectable manner; all these things are sure signs that Hindus are not civilized enough. They must change these habits and stop defending them. On that, Ibna kept quiet.
Veena had invited all her superiors from her office and they all came to attend the ceremony. After the lunch, they all dispersed and some members of Mahaale family began to prepare to leave for their village. Immediate family decided to stay in the flat. Kamaal whispered to his sister that there are so many people and so she should come with her and join Veena to stay after the family goes to the village however, she refuses that and tells him that, this is her home and will stay with Mahaale family.
"Brother, please do not bother for it, I have stayed with them at Ghatla and they are not new to me."
Veena has achieved her first ambition; we shall see how things move in future.
This Story continues in the next posting.
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