Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Indian wedding, a two day affair - day 1

Indian weddings are crazy, there's no doubt about it. A maze of sounds, colours, tastes and smells.
The one I attended was apparently considered rather formal and short, as the groom's side isn't as outgoing and party loving as the bride's (Punjabi).
It all started on Saturday around noon, with a mehndi function. It's mostly meant for women, but some men came along as well. I've seen quite a few bollywood movies and in more than one did they have a wedding scene, so I had an idea how it was going to look like.

The moment I entered the building where the function was being held, I couldn't stop smiling. The music hit me, saw first beautifully dressed girls and I was sooo hooked up ;)
The function was going on in a big room, on the right hand side they set out cushions on which mehndi girls were keeping themselves busy by decorating the guests' palms, and sometimes feet. In the back, on a little stage, there was a band and two singers performing the most famous songs, to which people where dancing in the middle of the room. There were two cameramen recording everything, a couple of photographers taking hundreds of pics. The bride-to-be was dancing in the middle and from time to time the men of the family would come up with a banknote in their hand and kinda make circles around her, and other girls', heads. I haven't asked anyone for the meaning of this gesture but I'd assume it's to bring them good fortune. There was also a raw of chairs going around the room, where elder or not too-much-into-dance people where sitting and enjoying the atmosphere of the event.
After 2 hours or so the music started dying away and everyobody moved to the garden outside, where they could feast their eyes on the view and then feast on some delicious food. The chef did a great job preparing a selection of southern Indian cuisine. 
We took our time eating and by the time we were finished it was already after 4 pm, so just enough time to had back home, get a tiny bit of rest and start getting ready for sangeet, the evening function. I'd had a very long night on Friday after a crazy party at Balthazar, a pretty cool new space with some good hip hop music (finally!), so took a short nap before heading back out. The fight I had to undergo with myself to wake up in time to dress up was truly something..

But I did manage to get up, take a shower, do my make up and put the beautiful lehnga on. Don't ask me howcome I finally think I look very nice and end up not taking any pictures..
Anyways, we got into the car and drove to the party. I guess sangeet is something like the Western reception, just that it takes place before the wedding ceremony. I think it's also an official engagement party (at least it was in this case), with a ring ceremony in the beginning. We arrived and I instantly felt the energy and glamour of the place. Beautifully decorated space, loads of breathtaking outfits, a stage ready for the family's and friends' preformances..
I was a bit stressed out I would miss the ring ceremony - we were supposed to leave 6:45 sharp and of course left almost an hour later. The guests were told that the auspicious time for the ring exchange was 7:30 and we were still in the car at the time. So I was a bit bummed till we got there and saw nothing'd started yet. The couple was smart enough to know people wouldn't show up on time, so must have lied a bit hehehe
Thus, I ended up waiting about an hour for the actual thing, munching on some good starters and admiring the saris.

It started off with the bride on the stage, receiving blessings from a couple of women, one of them being her future mother-in-law. The bride looked stunning! Next, the groom-to-be climbed the stage, they exchanged their rings, then took place on chairs in front of the stage and awaited the performances. It's a pretty new trend, but a lot of families hire choreographers who put together a show, teaching small groups of people different routines. It was mostly in Hindi so didn't understand all but from what I've gathered, the choice of songs was to somehow show the couple what marriage is all about and how their life was going to look like. All the dearest people performed - the bride's cute nieces, both sides' friends, parents and grandparents (!), siblings, cousines, aunties and uncles.. I thought it was going to be only two or three performances but I think it lasted a good hour! A lot of guests start showing up after or during those, as they find it all boring. To the foreigners present at the wedding it was great entertainment ;)
I coudn't stop thinking I can't imagine any of my friends or relatives being up for it, especially the guys.  And the groom's brothers rocked it! ;)

After the performances it was time for everyone else to join in. Some people stayed to dance, others immediately hit the bar, others still went for the food. And omg, was there some good food or what... Indian from all over the country, sushi, Chinese.. Two huge rooms full of delicious food! Plus, there was a 3rd room with desserts but it somehow took me 3 hours to realise that.. hehe
So anyways, going back to the story. I could immediately see there was good dancing ahead, as  the music was happening and the people were enjoying themselves. I guess my reputation precedes me.. Even before we started dancing I had some aunties come up to me and say : "Are you having fun? I've heard you're a great dacer!" hehe And I guess I kinda let go later during the night .. I've heard I was the most photographerd person, been called a rock star a couple of times, been told I'm too Indian to be true ;) At the same time I almost got bruises on my forearms (after they drink a lot, people don't seem to realise how strong they are.. whenever I wanted to leave the dancefloor I'd be quite literally dragged back), got scratched (a lady was trying to catch my skirt to not let me go) and glass in my foot (this time in the left one; the moment it happened I had three guys running around me, bringing ice, tissues, bandaids, vodka, some spices to stop the bleeding...hehehe). 
All in all, It was a rocking night!

The sangeet finished at around 2:30-3:00 and I was mighty tired but didn't have the key to the place I was staying at so had to hit another party, where the owner of the place was. Ended up coming home at around 4:30 I think, by which time I was a zombie.

Btw, have you ever managed finding someone on fb only by their first name and location? ;)

4 komentarze:

gaurav said...

Sorry if my last post scared you. I was just joking and don't worry u do not have to spend bucks in treating me ...........:)

yup Indian weddings are amazing and specially north indian shaadi My sis is going to get married next month and already preprations have started. I am missing them they are in Delhi.

And that banknote thing that is just to show ur love and appreciate the dance.

Magu said...

If you're referring to the fb bit - I was just wondering if I'd manage to find a person I've met at the sangeet.
No worries, you haven't scared me hehehe

Thanks for the explanation and many congratulations to your sister!!!

gaurav said...

huh fb i don't think you can find by city nd name. but you might get the same through orkut. And it depends lot on name if name is common you will get thousand which makes search a little difficult..

Nd yes i came to know u r good dancer so can you tell me is it possible to learn salsa in 20 days i was thinking of preparing same for ma sister weddin ..

PS: I don't know any thing in dance.

Magu said...

Well, of course it is!
It just depends what you want to do, how much time you have, if you've a sense of rythm, a good partner and how good your teacher is ;)
But a short salsa choreography is for sure doable in almost three weeks!