The first wedding at TRUST Children Home was a very special event for all concerned - not least for Banu Priya and her new husband Gomathi Nayagam! As with all marriages (in rural India), this was an arranged marriage and you can read about the background here. Gomathi Nayagam and his family are Hindus and this was a Hindu marriage.
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Banu left the Children's Home around 6 am (following the local custom) and spent an hour or so at the TRUST office, changing into a second sari, before moving on to the Temple and being changed again ready for the ceremony!
Following the wedding ceremony there was a lunch-time 'feast' arranged by the groom's family, which took place back at the TRUST Children Home. Special permission had been received for all the children to be absent from school to be part of this special day of celebration.
The invitation to the evening reception at the TRUST Children Home was sent to everyone in India who had supported the children at any time and to any extent since the Home was started with the first 25 children, after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
I was honoured to have been invited as a representative of the UK Support Group and was delighted to have been there with my wife, Angela, and younger daughter, Emily. It was a privilege to be able to meet so many friends of Thirumaran and TRUST.
It is a measure of the support that Thirumaran has that almost 300 invitations were posted and around 600 people were thought to have been present (and fed!) at the reception. Amongst the 600 were doctors, nurses, student nurses and ancillary staff from the hospital at which Banu Priya had been working as a nurse before the wedding. There was a great range of guests supporting TRUST, the TRUST Children Home and Thirumaran's vision for a more equal society without caste discrimination.
The couple were given many generous gifts and my family joined with the UK Support Group to give Banu Priya a sewing machine. She sews well, I gather, and there is an aim here to give her a useful gift that could give her a little extra independence and security in the future.
In the past it was traditional for the wedded couple to leave the reception in a bullock cart. That is rare these days but Thirumaran had arranged a bullock cart to transport the presents at the end of the reception.
The press and TV were present to report the event and the bullock cart added to the spectacle! But the publicity for TRUST and for the vision of a 'casteless' society were the real reasons for the press support.
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