Friday, August 30, 2013

Miti – friendship mightier than a blood relation

My house, back in my village, was unusually different that day. People of all walks of life in and around the village stopped their fieldwork, and arrived at my house. All of them wore their fresh clothes, neat hair.

The smell of delicious foods flooded everywhere, and the laughter of children simply filled the air. It was a breathlessly exciting day in the village, everyone around looked happy. By the way, it’s not wedding or any other pujas taking place in the house. A miti ceremony was taking place between my father and his friend. They have long known each other; were good friends.
However, that day they decided to become mit, a friend in Hindu culture that was considered way precious than a blood relation. It was widely practised in the southern Bhutan, but now gradually disappearing. And to become a mit with your friends, you had to undergo the miti ceremony, rather vigorously.

All the villagers, relatives and children crammed in a place where the ceremony was taking place. My father and his friend sat on the mats facing each other, all cheerful and a little bit nervous too. Their wives (and my own mothers) seated next to them.

The village elder began the ceremony, chanting a prayer. It had lots of rituals, in fact, to be followed solemnly. After the prayer was said and done, two friends were barred with a cloth piece, signifying that they were before strangers.
They prostrated to each other.

The cloth piece was removed, meaning that now they were no more strangers. Again, they prostrated. For the next bit of time, they exchanged khadars and gifts.
The village elder, once again, continued the prayer as the two friends exchanged rings. The prayer ended, the rings exchanged - eventually, they were pronounced as miti, precious friends.

The two friends, tied the miti knot, would remain as miti, for eternity. They would unfailingly show respect for each other and consider enormous support for each other, in any circumstances.
Then the two miti would go around the room, talking to the fellow-villagers. They would put tika on their foreheads and distribute money to each and every one. In return, they would receive blessings and prayers from all the villagers. 
Refreshments and alcohols were distributed to all the guests, young and old. After that, a feast was served, delicious shel roti and lunch.  

As the night fell on the day, more people gathered. It meant more foods, more drinks. Some would play cards. Young boys, neatly dressed, would court the village beauties. Others would drink and dance hard, all night, until the next dawn.
Note: I wrote this post only to record the miti ceremony. It was hugely practised in the past in southern Bhutan, but today gradually disintegrating. Also, it’s to remember the powerful legacy of my family, and place, what I am born into, what we pass down, and what we preserve. 

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