Stars circling around each other

It is said that in faraway southern India, where millennia-old customs reign, one tradition is able to enliven the spirits: When wedding festivities come to an end, the newlyweds are led out into the open air to gaze at a celestial glow.

A pair of double stars enthroned in the distance of the sky catches the eyes of the two. For unlike most double stars, which remain in fixed order, Arundhati and Vasishtha are always circling each other.

This is how the bride and groom are supposed to learn and realise that respect and support are indispensable to live a fulfilled and happy life together.

Many young people today do not know this. That is why traditions, customs and rituals have been developed so that such things are not forgotten.

When the young couple Mohini and Sundar got married, or rather were married, the master of ceremonies, i.e. the priest of the local temple, took the two young people outside and showed them the pair of stars in the sky. Try as they might, they saw many twinkling stars, but not the double pair of stars. Not wanting to add to the burden of the already tired priest, the two nodded politely and assured him that they had seen them. As is well known, newlyweds in South India have a certain duty to put the most beautiful secondary matter in the world into action and the night is short after such a wedding celebration.

But first, the back story. Sundar, the groom, was convinced of himself that he was born to devote himself to the fine arts. However, his parents, who financed his studies in advertising and marketing, forced him to take a job in Europe. At first he was not happy with this decision, but in retrospect he was happy with it.

His talents as a draughtsman and poet were highly praised by his relatives. Art, however, was not yet ready for his works, they found. One day, while he was at work in Europe, he received an urgent call from his thaaimaaman, his mother’s elder brother, to come home for an urgent family matter that would not tolerate delay. It was pointless to ask why, as family tradition dictated.

Shortly after arriving home, he suspected the reason and became angry. He reproached his elder sister for not telling him, although she was otherwise a detailed reporter. He was to be married off, but the pictures of the young women they had chosen for him did not interest him much.

But a remark by his mother made him sit up and take notice. One of the girls was a well-known waayadi, that is, someone who speaks her mind and is not easily subordinated. However, the mother did not wish such a girl for her son. She put the picture and the girl’s CV aside in the hope that the son would choose another girl.

Sundar, however, noticed it, became all the more curious now and took a closer look at the girl’s photo. This self-confident, but somehow also somewhat cheeky look, caught his attention.

He was all the more disappointed and his male pride hurt when he learned a few days later that the girl was not interested in marriage for the time being. The Thaaimaaman did not want to hear all this. He called Sundar to him and informed him that he had analysed the horoscopes, the bride’s family health, and financial stability, her position in society, the bride and groom’s code of conduct and that Sundar had nothing to worry about. A meeting and talk with the bride had already been arranged.

Sundar’s friends from school days congratulated him, but Sundar was not ready to get married. Then something happened that he would not have thought possible. At the first meeting, the girl made a tremendous impression on Sundar and she clearly said that she, just like him, was not ready to get married. She still wanted to do her master’s degree and a lot more. But all in vain, for Sundar was hopelessly in love. He was just talking nonsense, he would agree with her on everything, but the elders and relatives had already decided. Then he explained to her that he was an artist, but at the same time a successful marketer. He was in the process of applying to be a groom, and eventually a beautiful wedding took place.

On the wedding night, Sundar joked about the old rites and customs, such as looking at the double stars together. The two weeks of leave flew by and Sundar travelled to Europe to find a bigger flat and take care of other formalities. A week later he called his wife from Europe, his mother was on the phone. When he asked her why she had answered the phone, she reacted angrily. Indignant, she complained that he had not called her, that he only wanted to talk to his young wife, and whether this was thanks for her raising him, etc. After her complaint, he hears his wife greeting him lovingly and asking about him. Everything was prepared, he told her,  and she could come to him in three weeks. Then he said softly, “Mohini, imagine, an astronomer friend told me that the double stars Arundhati and Vasishtha really exist, they are also called Alcor and Mizar”. Mohini did not understand at first what her husband was trying to tell her full of euphoria. This time she did not speak much, but just listened and looked forward to her journey into family life.

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