Owwww, my head. What do you mean I have to get up in the morning and we have to go eat and get drunk again? Wasn't one day enough?
|No wonder they call him Sunny|
Well, I wanted a North Indian wedding. Nobody said it was going to be relaxing. The bride and groom got at most one hour of sleep for maybe 4-5 nights in a row, due to the endless pujas happening at all hours of the day/night. And yet despite the enormous stress and sleep-deprivation imposed, I was constantly amazed at how Sunny could keep his smile and energy throughout, and exhibited an even greater level of awareness of his guests' needs (and characters) than most people do on a regular day.
I managed to drag myself through the minimal physical preparations (get dressed, brush teeth...oh what the hell, I'm a foreigner, nobody will notice or mind if I stink, hehehe). I don't think we had breakfast, as we shortly all gathered at a venue in town for the traditional dham (feast). There, we waited our turn for food while observing, mingling with, and photographing the crowd. Dham is an auspicious lunchtime meal where rice and vegetarian curries are served, eaten with the hands while sitting on the floor (although I'll never forget the hilarity of Yuan asking for a spoon :P nor the organisers' kindness and understanding in providing her with one).
This commotion caused Yuan and myself to be adopted by two of Sunny's cousins seated next to us. They proceeded to charm us, kidnap us, and make us try on pretty clothing at their home. Yuan and I decided on our outfits for the big ceremony the following day, and the four of us girls agreed we would meet again at their home to get prepared together.
Two thoughts. 1) Damn (or dham, hehehe...sorry), I am getting chubby - I really wanted to wear a sari but none of their blouses fit me. 2) Everyone kept commenting about how their mum looks like me. I saw a photo of her when she was younger, and the resemblance is super cute! She expressed her wish to speak more English, because she wanted to ask Yuan and myself many things, get to know us, and speak to us more closely, like daughters. Argh, another motivation to learn Hindi. In the meantime, her daughters had to play translators, and I appreciated her efforts to speak Hindi to me more slowly and simply (I could start to pick out some important words - dil, pyaar, beta...). I'm beginning to understand the sentiment when everyone calls each other 'auntie/uncle', 'brother/sister' in India.
That evening we all headed back to Sunny's family's place for mehendi. We found the place more decorated than before - with lights and drapes in the garden (the boys had apparently been at work while the ladies played dress-up, hmm). So mehendi was in part what I had anticipated - all the ladies sitting around making henna tattoos together. But before that, it consisted in a puja where Sunny was the one being covered in mehendi paste, as friends and relatives took turns applying a bit of the stuff to his hands and feet, followed by that thing where you twirl a 10rs bill around the person's head. Clockwise, as I was almost immediately scolded by the ladies surrounding him when I started off in the wrong direction.
Photos: Wedding in Chamba