Pune, Goa, Bangalore, Delhi
Well now that I’ve been back from my trip to India for 11 weeks, I guess I can write a little something to keep the crowd entertained and informed.
The main reason that I went to India for three weeks was to attend the weddings of two of my good friends. The two weddings were in completely different parts of the country, with different customs, foods and levels of extravagance. At both, however, I was treated with so much hospitality and kindness, it was overwhelming at times.
As a guest of the wedding I was put up in a hotel, as well as fed at least one meal per day of the wedding (which for the second wedding was six days). We were loaned (and gifted) saris to wear by the groom’s mother at one wedding, and it was insisted that we sit with the immediate family for meals at the other.
The weddings themselves were unlike anything I had ever imagined. At one wedding, the groom arrived on horseback at the back of an hour-long procession with all the attendees, as well as two bands.
The venue was redecorated daily, each day with fresh flowers, a new color scheme and a buffet with enough food to feed an army. We quickly learned to eat only a little bit at each meal, because it was guaranteed that the evening would consist of every auntie and uncle asking if we had eaten yet, and insisting that we eat more, regardless of how much we instated that we were full.
While we usually did not understand what was going on, there was always someone around willing to explain (or at least attempt to explain) and we were practically forced to take part in every part of the ceremony, including performing in a sangeet, getting mehndi done before the marriage, and staying up until 4am to watch one get married (since this ritual can only be performed when the stars say so).
I am so grateful that I was able to take this trip and spend these special days with my dear friends. It is a trip I will surely not soon forget, and one that I hope to take again soon when more of my classmates get married off in the coming years (hey, I have to wear all these sari, shalwar kameez and Choli I came back with!)