Gahhhh.... sorry I haven't posted this (or anything else) in a while, it's not even like I've been that busy.
Last weekend I drove with my dad and another doctor from the city about 6 and a half hours to a wedding in Guna.
We left around 11:30 on Saturday just as the hottest part of the day was starting which meant that sitting in the back where very little of the air conditioning every made it was little hard at times. I slept for most of the ride. Around 2 or 3 we stopped of lunch at one of the roadside "motels" that can be found scattered along almost every major road that goes through rural India. These stops originated in Punjab as a place for truck drivers to stop, rest, and eat in the heat of the day before continuing when it cooled down. There are woven rope beds for the drivers to sleep on and most of the stops still serve predominately Punjabi food. We had brought our own lunch from home and ordered hot daal and cold sodas as well.
When we arrived at our destination we went in and made the proper greetings and paid the proper respects to our hosts, which included sitting down for a cup of chai of course. We then had a few hours to rest and get ready for the wedding reception which we arrived at around 8. I had my own room in our hotel which was amazing because I haven't had my own room in what feels like a really, really long time.
We were only at this wedding for the reception but unlike when we go to wedding receptions in Indore, we didn't just come for dinner and leave. This time we arrived before the bride and groom and I stayed all the way to the ceremony at 3 in the morning.
The moment we had arrived at the reception area a man came up to me and asked if I was Kelsey. When I said yes he asked if I wanted to see Pragya, Pragya Dave who was my class teacher at Progressive. It turns out that he's her husband who is a very nice guy, it was fun to see him dance with Mrs. Dave. With my dad's permission he lead me up to the rooms where the wedding party was getting ready. Mrs. Dave was helping put the finishing touches on the bride's mother's outfit. It was really surprising and great for both of us. She was my favorite teacher at school and is very, very cool. I spent the rest of the evening with Mrs. Dave and her niece (on her husband's side). Mrs. Dave was sort of in charge of a lot of the bride's affair since she was the bride's "cousin-sister," the closest thing she had to a sister. While we were waiting for the bride to arrive at the reception we chatted and I was introduced to all of the bride's friends. Niki, the bride, had a close group of friends when she was in engineering school in Indore. The group consisted of about 10 engineers, only two others were girls, who had all since moved to different parts of the country. This was the first time in a while that they's all had a chance to get back together and you could tell that they were having a lot of fun, plus Niki is the first in their group to get married. I also learned that Mrs. Dave had resigned from school and now plans on being her husband's assistant. Mr. Dave is an astrologer which is a much bigger profession in India than it is in America. Astrology is very important to how you live your life.
The bride arrived to the reception under a canopy held up by her close friends and family. While waiting for the groom's party to arrive on horse back there was a lot of dancing and joking around with the bride. Mrs. Dave had once told me that she loved to dance and I could tell. She also made me dance with her and the bride's friends. It was a lot of fun. Even if I hadn't danced I couldn't help but have fun watching everyone else dance because they clearly were having a great time.
|The bride with her father and uncle under the canopy that she arrived to the reception under. Her mother is behind her father holding the canopy up.|
|My class teacher from Progressive, Mrs. Pragya Dave, dancing with the bride's friends waiting for the the groom's party to arrive.|
Some of the elders started to get impatient because the wedding couple took a very long time getting to the stage because the kept stopping to dance with their friends. Before I go one I should stop and say that this was a love marriage in comparison to the arranged one I saw earlier. The bride is from Indore (so most of the her side was also from Indore) and works with the groom. He proposed to her and her way of saying yes was to tell him to propose to her father. Luckily they are of the same caste so everything worked out well.
|The wedding party making their way to the stage.|
|The bride and groom trying to exchange flower garlands on their friend's shoulders.|
I got to help the bride change out of her lehenga into a simpler sari. The wedding lehenga was extremely heavy and big and the bride was a very petit girl. I don't know how she managed to wear it for so long, not to mention all the jewelry she had on. At one point she turned to me and joked about Indian weddings saying that didn't is seem silly that one girl needed 5 others to help her undress. Despite the relatively quick change, considering the amount of clothing, jewelry, makeup, and hair that needed to be dealt with, many relatives started to get impatient. The bride's father, uncle, brothers, and friends frequently knocked on the door asking what was taking so long and harassing the bride and her "attendants" in a good natured way. Finally, around 3 in the morning the ceremony started. Many of the relatives had fallen asleep in one of the other rooms at this point. Some were woken up, others were left in peace.
As per tradition, the brides brothers were allowed to try to steal the groom's shoes during the ceremony and hide them until he paid them off afterwards. Everyone removes their shoes before sitting down on the mattresses around the canopy. Traditionally, only the bride's brothers can do this in this case her close guy friends were considered brothers as well. Unfortunately for them the groom's family didn't make is easy. At one point, the boys sent Mrs. Dave's son to try to steal them. He got the wrong shoes...
|The wedding ceremony (unfortunately the wedding photographer had a really bright light on his camera). I was sitting behind the bride with Mrs. Dave who sat directly behind her to assist if needed.|