If I were asked, “What is one thing you’d change and experience in the past, if you had the superpower to do so?”
I’d probably answer, “Nothing. I’m happy with whatever happened in life, happy moments taught me to appreciate life and sad experiences taught me to value life.”
But deep down, I know and you know it too, if given a chance we wouldn’t hesitate to go back in time and make it all right, fix the broken pieces, mend things and make a perfect future for ourselves.
Well in my case, I will always reproach not having the experience of “gupha” in life.
I remember visiting my sisters during their gupha and I remember how badly I wanted to do the traditional “bara chonegu.”
But my mother wanted me to go to bihar.
Yeah bihars are shortcuts and easy way out in everyone’s busy schedule but I don’t know I’ve always felt like I have been deprived of enjoying my cultural right. (No offence to anyone.)
But no worries, I’m a fantasy girl, always loved to live in fantasies.
I’m really sorry if I exaggerated something or missed out anything in this article. As this is NOT MY STORY. Its just me fantasizing about my missed life event.
Being born in a culturally rich Newar community of Nepal, I was exposed to numerous rituals and tradition, rules and regulations from an early stage of life.
Nine years ago, when I was merely enjoying the winter vacation of my sixth grade, I was taken to a priest to get an auspicious date to “MARRY THE SUN”. Yes! It may sound implausible in the scientific world but Newar girls should marry the sun before they reach puberty. This ceremony is called “gufa tehegu” or “bara chonegu” in which they are kept in darkness away from the sunlight and any male contact for 12 days.
I was particularly nervous and extremely worried for the next 12 marked days of my life. The thought of being locked inside the four walls of the room predominantly scared me as I was outgoing and loved to visit different places than sit idly. But the 12 days didn’t turn out as I had imagined. It was indeed more exciting, and I learned a whole lot of things that I couldn’t have learnt otherwise. I was taught the basics of life, to do cleanings, to cook, to do make-up and wear different cultural outfits and ornaments. Overall, I was taught to be independent.
Every passing days were becoming more interesting and appealing as I was exposed to the cultures of our society and various norms and traditions. My relatives visited who spoke to me of how my body will now change and transform into woman, how I wasn’t a child anymore and how I should behave. I was given education about virtual world, sex, and mensuration. This traditional ritual signified the transformation of my girlhood into womanhood, childhood to adulthood. All in all, I was taught what it means to be a woman.
The days went by in a blink of eye. On the 12th day, I was woken up by my mother before the sunrise. I purified myself by taking bath and was dressed in bridal attire and make-up. I stared at my own reflection in the mirror for a while, my eyes were lined up with kajol, my cheeks were rosy and my full-lips were red with lipstick. I was draped into a red sari and my hair was tied into a high bun.
“Are you ready?” I heard a vague voice.
“Yes!” I answered to myself. “I am ready to be a woman.”
I was escorted by my mother into the terrace. A veil covered my head and face. I could hear and sense the numerous people in the terrace who were waiting for me. Someone handed me rice and flowers. My mother lifted the veil, and for the first time in 12 days the sun embraced my face, my body felt warm, and I opened my eyes, I opened my eyes to the same world but now with different perspective.
The wedding ceremony began completing with the custom of applying vermilion (sindur) on my forehead. I was now married to the sun. I was told that from now onward the sun will protect me from evil spirits and even in a case of untimely death of my human husband I would never be a widow which would prevent me from the tortures of the society.
The life after my gupha has been totally different. I was treated as an adult. I no longer spent my leisure time playing outside, I had numerous chores to do and help mother in her daily tasks. I was allowed to take life decisions and exposed to the real world. This ceremony marked a significant change in my life and lifestyle. I was no longer a wailing child, I was a fully grown-up woman in every aspect.