Welcome to India where the cows eat hay and we drive auto rickshaws everyday

Written 21 November 2013

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First stop on my trip – Indiaaaaa. The whole experience was AMAZING. I haven’t been to India since I was eight, so it was quite exciting to be back, and with friends, and to attend Sushma’s wedding. It was great catching up with Sneha, whom I hadn’t seen for over a year, and hanging out with Aditi and Sruthy. The flight itself felt like it took FOR-EVER, for some reason, and was full of crying, whining, annoying children (those of you who know me would probably know I have very little patience for children). Not a pleasant experience at all. *shudder* Anyway, our flight landed slightly past midnight, and we met Mufeedha and Faiz to take the van/bus to the hotel that Sushma’s parents had very kindly arranged for us. The hotel (Grand Hotel)was pretty fancy and the rooms were huge. Met up with Sindhu who had taken an earlier flight and spent the rest of the evening getting acquainted with Sushma’s other friends (Dhivya, Harvind and Han Chin) who were also there for the wedding.

We had initially planned to spend Monday getting all prettied up for the wedding, but in typical India style, there was a bandh, strike, so none of the shops were open and the transport didn’t work either. Ended up spending the morning hanging out after a delish breakfast and then taking a walk around town. It was blistering hot and we walked for quite a while before ending up at a hotel (Avenue Centre) for a buffet lunch.

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Headed back to the hotel after that to get dressed for the evening function. Everyone looked lovely and Sushma was so gorgeous in her sari! It was a fascinating ceremony, where the groom, Vineet, was supposed to embrace bachelorhood and head off to Kasi, and had to be wooed to stay with the promise of marriage to a wonderful girl, i.e. Sushma.

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After he had agreed to stay, there was also a little ceremony where the bride had to grind some things in an old-fashioned stone grinder. We hypothesized that it was probably to show off the housewife-ly skills of the bride to convince the groom he had made the right choice. It was all great fun, followed by amazing food.
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Photo credit: Harvind Vinod

The next morning, we had a houseboat trip. We took a two hour bus journey to Allappey, which was highly entertaining and amusing, primarily thanks to Vineet’s uncle Kumar. Such an energetic man! There was lots of singing and dancing on the bus and the two hours flew by quite quickly!
The houseboat trip was great – we got to know some of Vineet’s friends, and had more amazing food plus some extra local fare (karimeen and some coconut thing). Great fun.

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Took a nap on the way back and then got dressed for the evening event, the sangeet. It was absolutely incredible. It was a huge carnival like you see in the Bolllywood films. I didn’t know people actually had such things and was stunned. There was a henna booth, a guy doing caricatures, a lady giving out bangles, a popcorn and cotton candy stand, a live band, a magician, FIREWORKS and so much more. It was really amazing. Sushma looked like an absolute angel. I swear, she was glowing. Vineet was also very dashing and they make such a cute couple! I honestly don’t think the sangeet could have been better even if they had tried.

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Wednesday morning was the actual wedding itself. Everyone looked amazing in their saris and when we got to the wedding venue, we got a sneak peek of Sushma. She was so gorgeous and radiant, and I think seeing her in all her wedding finery finally hit home the idea that she was getting married. We all became kinda emotional at that point and had to leave so we wouldn’t ruin her makeup. The wedding started off with the baarat, to welcome the groom. there was an elephant leading the procession, followed by singing and dancing family and friends and finally the groom on a horse drawn chariot. Amazing stuff and it was so much fun! More weddings should be like this! Sushma and Vineet looked stunning and just thinking about it makes me super happy (:

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Congratulations to the newlyweds! After the wedding ceremony, we were enlisted to participate in some sort of game/ceremony where we had to steal the groom’s sandals from his cousins and haggle with him to return them to him so he could get off the stage. Very amusing stuff. Then was lunch, and back to the hotel to rest for a bit before the reception. I went to get a head massage during that time – as we say in Singapore, it was super shiok, and I could have sat there all day. But I couldn’t, so I got dressed for the party and packed up most of my stuff to send back to Singapore with Sruthy. The mood at the party (at least amongst our group) was kinda subdued, partly because the trip was coming to an end and we were all pretty tired by then. It was still pretty fun and Sushma and Vineet had the post-wedding glow going for them and looked fantastic as usual. People (Varun, Sruthy, Aditi, Sneha) started leaving one by one and the party came to an end after some dancing and about an hour of saying goodbye in typical Indian style.

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All in all, it was an amazing experience and I had so much fun in these three days. Seems like my trip is off to a good start, and I hope the rest of it continues in the same vein. I’m just about to board the flight to Dubai to see Zehra, and I’m super excited! Keep watching this space for more updates!

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Till then, goodbye and good life!

Title credit: Welcome to India, MC Vikram and Luda Krishna

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