East Indians celebrate their weddings for a full week. They have the Umbracha Pani, the Paspatni and the Sara from both the boy’s side and the girl’s side. Fugiyas (balloon bread), vindaloo and sorpotel are the main dishes for East Indian Catholic weddings. But the vindaloo and sorpotel prepared by the East Indians are quite different from that made by the Goans and the Mangaloreans. During the ‘Umbracha Pani’, all those attending the ceremony go in a procession around their area singing and dancing to draw water from the well, which is used by the bride-to-be or groom-to-be to bathe. East Indian Marathi songs are played and people, irrespective of whether they are Goans, Mangaloreans or East Indians, enjoy them. Some of the well-known East Indian songs are ‘Mary tuze kes lam lam lam’, ’Gaylan Sakli Sonyachi’ and ‘Sakalche Para Sutlai Vara’. Since there are no wells in Mumbai, people go to one of their relative or friend’s house to bring water. The water is brought in a huge vessel (or handi, as it is called). It is then poured on the bride-to-be or the groom-to-be in his or her respective home. After all these rituals, finally, the day of the wedding arrives.
On the wedding day, the groom-to-be sends a car to pick up the bride-to-be and waits for her outside the church. After she arrives, the best man of the groom-to-be welcomes her with a bouquet of flowers. The couple then walks down the aisle along with the bridesmaids, flower girls, best man, page boy, and other family members to reach the altar, where they are given a special place to sit. There, the priest shakes hands with them and offers his best wishes. The Mass is then celebrated and the priest reads scriptures from the Holy Bible, which is followed by a sermon called the ‘homily’ on the sacredness of their wedding.
After this, a grand reception is held in the Church hall or in a hotel.
Here are some East Indians (Marathi Catholics) who have glorified India through their hard work: Gonsalo Garcia — Roman Catholic saint from Vasai; Joseph ‘Kaka’ Baptista — Indian freedom activist and a close aide of Lokmanya Tilak; Michael Ferreira — Amateur player of English billiards; Gavin Ferreira — Olympic hockey player and Genelia D’Souza (Bollywood actress). I too am an East Indian.
Here are some words in East Indian Marathi language to keep you cheerful: Tu kavar hais (Where are you), Varad (Wedding), Rajaar (Rosary), Madrin (Godmother), Padrin (Godfather), Jejus (Jesus), Avar yeh (Come here), Tavar jha (Go there), Kolbi (Wet prawns), Maurya (Fish), Bautis (Baptism), Kumjao (First Holy Communion), Kumsar (Confession).
We East Indians have also produced several East-Indian Marathi CDs and VCDs like ‘Jhansi Chi Rani’, ‘Haun Gaonkar Ami Vasaikar’, ‘Baikocha Bail’ and several others and two East-Indian Marathi movies ‘Tu Maza Jeev’ and ‘Sang Mai Tu Kavar Hais’.
A note to readers: East Indians are the original inhabitants of Mumbai (Mobai, in East Indian Marathi) and their Marathi is a mixture of pure Marathi and Portuguese. However, the educated ones today prefer to speak in English.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)