A wedding recap

Katy and I just got back from a little break. We visited the ruins of Hampi in Northern Karnataka. Interestingly enough, this land was also called the “Land of Monkeys!” While, this week was full of great new sights and sounds for both Katy and me, I thought I should try and capture for you a little bit more from the previous wedding week and leave Hampi for the next entry.

For James’ wedding, a lot of wedding invitations had been sent but like in most places of the world, you do not really know how many people will end up actually showing up. Our initial estimates put us around 960-1000 people. The actual count at the wedding put the numbers around 1250-1300. Also, most people in India aren’t able to attend the wedding because of how early it usually is (4:30 PM) and show up for the reception. This wedding was again unusual in that, the wedding itself was performed in a packed house. We had elements of a wedding here in India that are quite similar to a wedding in the US. The bride wore a white bridal gown complete with a veil and a train. The groom and his men wore suits. The bride did change into a more colorful sari for the reception. The difference here was also when the rings were exchanged, James put a gold chain around Anita’s neck. In India, more than rings, its the necklace that denotes a married woman. And to just make things a little more interesting, instead of a bridal march, my brother James sang to his bride as she walked down the aisle with her father. He also was so excited during his vows that when the question was asked if he would take this woman to be his wife… blah blah blah, his response was…”Yea.” At which point the pastor said…”No yeah.. is it a yes or a no?” 🙂 So all in all, it was a “small” cozy affair.

When you have so many things going on at the same time, there is bound to be some chaos. The chaotic parts of most weddings in India happen during the “dead zones.” The dead zone for this wedding was the time between the wedding at the reception. During this time, the couple head out to a studio and get some professional portraits done. Our dead zone was filled with a band that came from S.Tamil Nadu. This was a pretty unusual band. They were mostly clarinet players but had a couple of traditional drummers as well. The beauty of these drummers were that they were exhibition drummers. They danced while they drummed and they did not beat the drums the traditional way. I have shot some video that I will upload onto the site when I get back to the US of this phenomenonal optical illusion. Sufficeth to say… it looked like the drums were being beaten with a long orange ribbon.

The band kept the audience pretty much glued to the seat but once they were done, I had to wait for an excruciatingly long 10 minutes or so while the groom and his new bride drove through rush-hour Bangalore traffic to head home. They finally did make it… we had plans of ushering them into the hall while guys were strategically placed down the center aisle with “confetti poppers.” These long canisters would explode when you twisted them… and shower confetti upon those under it. Well, as you could expect, some went off in spectacular fashion and some were absolute duds. Either way, people were sufficiently impressed. I was the emcee for the evening and I wanted to have a really short program because it was after the program that people could go eat and also come up and meet the couple on stage (and have their picture taken). The latter part of the program could take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours. Fortunately, the couple did show up and the program went by without too many hiccups and then the procession began. We did not get to eat till 11:30ish or so at night. The food was a delightful blend of south and north Indian cuisines. It was a buffet serving both veg and non-veg food followed by ice-cream.

We had our out-of-station guests stay in 3 different guest houses around Bangalore and for the better part of the week, I was shuttling people back and forth. My job continued in that vein till the last of our guests were loaded onto their trains headed home. I am glad I can drive in India but driving a decent sized van through some of the narrowest streets in the city really fine tuned my driving skills. I did scrape the vehicle against a couple of things every now and then but for the most part, life was good! I graduated with flying colors. It was quite an exhausting week for all of us but it was definitely one that was filled with memories that we will relive for a long time.

James and Anita will return from their honeymoon on Monday and then we’ll begin to open the rest of their gifts which right now occupy half of our apartment!:)

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