When I say I was overwhelmed by the wedding in December, it is an understatement. After we settled in, there was constant activity at my cousins house for the wedding preparations. Every day there was activity, more family visiting, more ceremonies, more rehearsals for the the festivities (Pre-wedding and wedding).
For 5 days we didn’t even leave the general vicinity of the house we were staying in. Shopping, eating, shopping, eating, dance rehearsals, wedding preparations and daily evening festivities were the order of the week. For these days passed so quickly, that I felt like I was living in a different world. So this was what it meant to have a real Indian wedding!
We were fortunate that we had purchased a cell phone with totally “free” service so we could communicate with the outside world. Keep in mind as a foreigner this kind of purchase has to be done by a native. For approximately $80 I got a phone which had dual Sims and unlimited data, voice and text messaging. Outstanding!
We were able to get currency exchange at the local market (thankfully), so we were able to spend cash freely. Keep in mind, the de-monitization issues were still visible everywhere. No money at ATMs and getting change when you do spend money was not easy.
With every day wedding activities and shopping, by end of day, we were exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Keep in mind of the first day or so we were both having jet lag issues, so sleep was a commodity!
Anyway.. we survived and back to the wedding preparations:
The love within the family for each other and their togetherness was absolutely genuine. What I realized is that family is family no matter if you are in India or outside the country. First and second generation cousins who had never met each other were spending hours upon hours and days together and enjoying each others company! Every day was a blast! When you have a large family like mine (I have like 17 first cousins), and of course these cousins have their kids!
Generation 1 (me and my cousins) and Generation 2 (the kids of my cousins) were so amazing and so in tune with what needed to get done for the wedding. There were three major event preparations happening simultaneously.
- My aunt’s 80th birthday celebration and the wedding preparations. Two nights before the wedding was my Aunt’s 80th birthday celebration. This was a dual event as in addition the the birthday celebration, there were simultaneous Henna being applied to all the women and girls that were part of the wedding celebration!
- Dance Rehearsals for the Dance party (Sangeet) the day before the wedding ‘
- Wedding preparations (including all Hindu religious pooja’s and food preparations on a daily basis
All of the above was going on in the same house we were staying!
My Aunt’s birthday celebration was a huge success. She had no idea about the party and she was absolutely overjoyed. For me it back fond memories of my mother and how great it would have been to see her here enjoying her younger sister’s 80th birthday party!
The night before the wedding was the Sangeet (singing and dances) celebration at a hotel near to where we stayed. OMG, the preparations, the dance rehearsals (your’s truly did perform a dance – which we will not discuss further), and the performances at this event were a sight to be seen. Let’s just say the alcohol was flowing and and everyone was having a great time!
The next day was the wedding! This wedding was an all day affair that included wedding and reception. There must have easily been a combined of about 500 to 750 people at both events. Of course my cousins and our huge family out staged everyone at the wedding and reception. We are absolutely a loud bunch of people! Someone called me their ring leader, yet I do resemble that remark!
To see a wedding like this is kind of overwhelming! To see cousins and family you have not seen in years is such a joy and you get a sense of belonging. This is something I absolutely feel at times here. I really don’t have any close relatives that are in NJ and my cousin in California is quite a distance away.
Pre-wedding shopping that my daughter and I did was endless. My daughter and I had to buy our wedding outfits and even though it was pretty straight forward, the choices were amazing. As I had said in my other posting, everything was just a taxi ride away at the local market area in Vile Parle East. Even after converting into dollars the purchases were a tremendous bargain!
By the time we got home from the wedding reception, we were exhausted!
The day after the wedding, my daughter and I took a taxi tour of Mumbai.. This was amazing! The crowds, traffic and the sights and sound of Mumbai was visual and audio overload! Let me leave details on this for another post!
The wedding celebration my daughter and I experienced, is something that neither one of us will forget for a long long time. It was exhilarating to spend time with family and to see the love that my family showed towards each other was something I have NEVER experienced.
To say that this wedding was “A big fat Indian Wedding” is an understatement, but from what I understand, most weddings in India are like this!