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    After 3 Failed Marriages, A Woman Started A Photo Project That Questions Wedding Rituals

    Sapna Bhavnani married her tattoos, her cats, and the city of Bombay (amongst others).

    This is Sapna Bhavnani, a Mumbai-based hair stylist who’s been married and divorced three times.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153205287022484&set=t.747705173&type=3&theater
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153205287022484&set=t.747705173&type=3&theater

    She recently told the story of her gang rape on Humans of Bombay.

    Four years ago, while in Berlin, Bhavnani wanted to try on a wedding dress but received judgment for the way she looked.

    “I was refused because of my shaved head and ink,” she told BuzzFeed. “The guy looked at me and simply said, “You’re getting married? Who the hell would marry you?”" After this, Bhavnani began questioning the rituals surrounding marriage and what they mean.

    "When you’ve already been married three times, this whole theory of "till death do us part” makes no sense," she told BuzzFeed. "Words like "forever", "infinite", "eternal", "permanent" describe the ink on your body better than the human standing in front of you at the altar."

    She decided to change the perceptions around marriage by getting married multiple times, to people and objects that she loves and respects. She worked with multiple stylists and photographers to catalogue her marriages in a photo project.

    She started out by marrying herself.

    Photo by Vijit Gupta, Hair & Makeup by Mad O Wot

    Her vow to herself: "With this marriage, I promise to love, respect, and cherish myself in rain and shine. Till death do us part."

    Bhavnani told BuzzFeed, "This marriage was my first and the most important. An acceptance of me as the world saw me; strong, fierce, independent, determined and the real "me," which also had emotions wrapped in those layers. As an activist i sincerely believe that one cannot help others till they help themselves."

    She got married to her cat.

    Photo by Abheet Gidwani, Hair & Makeup by Mad O Wot

    Her vow to her cat: "With this marriage, I promise to be there when you get old and crabby (not that that will ever happen). When your meows gradually fade to silence, I promise to be your foundation. I've become strong now for you to lean on me. My sweet feline, I love you. Till death do us part."

    Bhavnani told BuzzFeed, "When I came out with my story of being gang raped a few years ago, Logic was the one I leaned on the most. I was single then and Logic filled the gap like no man ever had."

    She got married to Bombay.

    Photo by Vijit Gupta, Hair & Makeup by Gurbani for Mad O Wot

    Her vow to Bombay: "With this marriage, I promise to make you as beautiful as you make me feel; by walking gently on your skin, by planting smiles on your naked rocks when the hot sun beats down on them and by not judging you for the garbage thrown by us. I am Bombay. I am you and you are me. Till death do us part."

    Bhavnani told BuzzFeed, "This city has given me so much and that's just it: I've always taken."

    She got married to her ink.

    Photo by Bikramjit Bose, Hair & Makeup by Hriya Marfatia

    Her vow to her ink: "With this marriage, I promise to bear all the pain and blood shed without complaining. The only story left to tell would be ours, but that would change with every new life. You are me and I am you. Till death do us part."

    Bhavnani told BuzzFeed, “My nani always had the best stories to tell me and most of them were so ridiculous but still she made them feel so believable. I loved my nani. Before she passed away she only told me one thing: “make sure you have stories to tell your children; children don’t really care about how much money you have in the bank, or whose hair you cut, or what car you drive. Give them magic.” With every story I weave a line on my body.”

    And she got married to her disappearing ink.

    Photo by Bikramjit Bose, Hair & Makeup by Hriya Marfatia

    Her vow to her disappearing ink: "With this marriage, I promise to accept your infidelity as unintentional. Your disappearance will not signify abandon but abundance. My stories will be written with soul instead of ink. Till death do us part."

    Bhavnani told BuzzFeed, "With ink comes the additional fear of what one would look like at seventy while shit gets saggy all around. When memory starts to crumble and the ink starts to leak and most of stories are forgotten for better or for worse."

    She got married to her roots.

    Photo by Rafique Sayed, Hair & Makeup by Karishma at Mad O Wot

    Her vows to her roots: "With the marriage, I promise to explore the shit outta you, unafraid of consequences. I promise to show the world how beautiful and gentle you really are, even though you exist in a place we all are conditioned to hate from childhood. Your presence in our National Anthem to this day makes me realise your absence even more. The white colour of my skin makes me wonder of the men that came in and out of my lineage. Never has anything or anyone had my attention like you. You have rooted yourself inside me and i know this journey is going to be the longest I've ever had. Bring it on. Till death do us part."

    Bhavnani told BuzzFeed, "I had no idea how immersed in arts and poetry and music the Sindh culture really is. Why did my family not teach me my language? Why didn't they take me to see our old house? Why did they feel that speaking of our roots was unimportant?"

    She got married to a fan.

    Photo by Sushant Chhabria, Hair & Makeup by Mad O Wot

    Her vows to Sumair: "With this marriage, I promise to be your chomu forever. I don't use words like "forever" 'cuz i don't believe in them, but somehow it feels apt with you. Even if I am lying, I know you will be ok with that. And that is exactly why I will always be around. Till death do us part."

    Bhavnani told BuzzFeed, "Sumair is a handsome bugger from Pune. He used to read my columns in the paper. One day he came by the salon to see me with presents. He said he wanted a Haircut but what he really wanted to say was "He loved the shit outta me." But I knew that already."

    And she got married to her BFF after he died.

    Photo by Abheet Gidwani, Hair & Makeup by Mad O Wot

    Her vow to Shivraj: "With this marriage, I promise to never take you for granted. There were moments when you reached out to talk but I was always busy. 'Cuz no one pays any attention to those who smile all the time. You are gone, but you are not. I have become the woman who smiles all the time. Till death do us part.

    Bhavnani told BuzzFeed, "Shivraj A.K.A. Mr. Postman was my newest best friend. He didn't give me any other option really. I didn't know anything about him; not even that he wasn't a real Sikh but a South Indian experimenting with religions by getting into them; literally. Before I realised he was everything I ever wanted in a friend he decided to move on to the next world. I really got to know everything about him at his funeral, through his notes, his friends, his family. I sat there dressed like him (in his clothes) wondering how the bastard managed to get into my core so quickly."

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