Monday, February 28, 2011

Fairytale wedding, the origins

I'm still so enchanted by this weekend and so tired after the last 4 almost sleepless nights that it's hard to gather my thoughts..

But let's take it from the beginning.

In B-town the majority of things happen through the word of mouth. I was lucky enough to find myself in the right place at the right time (yes, again) and one night got introduced to J, a dancer/choreographer working in Bollywood for the last 4 years. Within 10 minutes of having met each other she told me she had a gig coming up and asked if I were interested. All the details were given to me in the following days - it was a hostessing job at a wedding outside of Bombay. I think anyone who's been to an Indian wedding would have to be out of their mind to refuse attending one more:) So I gladly agreed and was looking forward to the event.

I was going to be one of three hostesses, other two being models/dancers from UK. Was scheduled to be picked up at 6am on Friday (kinda went out Thu night and ended up sleeping an hour and a half.. still haven't recovered from that one I think..). Of course there were some problems to begin with - I'd been called the previous night that the driver would pick me up from home and then we'd go to collect the other two girls from in front of one of the malls in Oshiwara. 

The driver's number I'd been sent was not valid, so couldn't reach him, didn't have other girls' phone numbers either. Had been waiting for 20mins in front of my building before I managed to secure the driver's number, then another 10 while being told he was on my street already trying to find my builiding, to finally getting a surprised call from J, who was saying I should be at the mall with the other girls, as no idividual transfer was previewed.. Anyways, hopped into a rick and joined A and Y in the car 5 minutes later. I was really tired but somehowe the girls' looks and accent (a rather heavy Russian one) threw me off - I'd seen the hostesses' photos during a meeting at the client's place a week ago and somehow neither their faces, nor the nationality, matched the picture. It turned out there had to be some changes made due to other shoots the original hostesses had been offered last minute.

And so we set off on a 3 hr long drive to Aamby Valley, a beautiful huge property where the wedding functions were about to take place. I tried sleeping through most of the journey, however poor sleep that was (I've come to realise my car sleepiness doesn't appear when I'm too tired @_@). Woke up just in time to see the mountains which surround the valley and tried to keep my balance while the driver was aggressively attacking the curvy road. We arrived at the reception of Timber Chalets, one of the accommodation spots, and met with S, organizer of the whole event. It must have been around 9:30 am by then, so we went to get some breakfast at the Four Seasons  (honestly a bit disappointing the food was.. however the view on the mountain picks was nice :) ) and met with J to check in.

One of the very typical things for me, when it comes to Indians and dealing with certain things, is how inefficient and go-the-long-way-round they get at times. The property doesn't allow private vehicles on its premises. And that's fine, as long as you provide guests with good transportation otherwise. Aamby Valley has an army of cars, mini buses and golf carts that you can call for, but the stupid thing is that each one of them can only go to certain places.. So instead of making it easier on everybody, they made it such that you usually end up taking at least two vehices to get to your destination. And by destination I mean different joints like restaurants, clubs, functions' venues - every event was in a different spot (and there were 8 funtions in total, if I'm not mistaken).

After the check in we boarded a cart and were brought to our chalet, number 280 to be exact, so we could have a tiny bit of a rest and prepare ourselves for the first 'assignment'. 

In front of our house. There were two spacious bedrooms with bathrooms and terraces. J and me were upstairs, A and Y on the ground floor. Not too shabby if you ask me ;)

Our hood!
At around 11:30 we left for the Conference Center where we were to greet the arriving guests. Together with us were a couple of waiters, armed with wet towels and soft drinks. I have to say I was surprised at how poor the staff was in there. I've heard it's one of India's most sought after wedding destinations, very expensive, but it didn't reflect in the quality of service.
Anyways, we stood there looking pretty and all cheerful saying our 'hello's and 'welcome's for quite some time. It turned out I knew some couples through my boss's family - either they were family friends or relatives. I'd also seen most of them at the first wedding I attended back in January. It was so sweet of them to remember me and always make it a point to ask if I was going to be dancing at the sangeet.. hehe

I think it was about 2 pm when we got a call from J that we should head back home to change and come to the second thing on the agenda - a pool party combined with mehndi.

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