Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I got hitched in Punjab

Don't worry, I'm just kidding. But if I weren't, and actually had a wedding, my wedding would bear practically no resemblance to the Sikh wedding which I attended, along with four of my friends, over Fall Break. The lucky lady? Karin, a 32-year-old Punjabi who has spent more than 12 years living in the U.S.; my Indian-American friend Deepika grew up in the same apartment building as Kiran in Cincinnati. When Kiran's original plan to marry her Love in America fell through (her Indian family would not condone the love marriage), she finally agreed to return to Punjab for an arranged marriage with the Indian called Mandeep.

Though I was looking forward to the wedding, I was half-dreading it as I knew it would carry on for days and would therefore impede my independence that I treasure. We were going to be guests in Kiran's home, so I knew (correctly, as it turned out) that we would have to attend pretty much every instant of the festivities. Despite my anxieties, I was one of the five travelers, and as a guest, would have to learn how to adjust to others' schedules and needs.

Okay, let me sum up the wedding, if I may:
3. Excessive food, dress, and stress

4. Intrusive cameramen recording every instant of these four days
5. An actual wedding ceremony which lasts less than two hours

 "Casual." Really?!

 Dancing: only the good friends and close family took part each night for three days straight. Some
dancing was mixed, some was gender-specific. Very catchy Punjabi bhangra music! It was so much fun, but a smidgen repetitive.
 The bride got her arms, legs, and feet hennaed. The other females had the option of getting their hands done, as my friends and I did. 

Can anyone guess which hand is mine?! 

 In one of the larger ceremonies, the groom is weighed down with rupee notes; he looked nervous.  He gets to keep the money.

 Just a funny picture of a traditionally-dressed Sikh helping himself to Indian sweets at one of the mixers, where the bride's family went to meet the groom's.

The bride's family schleps gifts (heavy blankets, gold jewelry) to the groom's family; a type of dowry.

Me in the sari! We had no idea how to put it on, so we had to go to a beauty parlor and pay the ladies to help us (it took a bit of finagling, pinning, rolling, etc.) Glad I finally got to rock it, even though I was not wearing the proper footwear and had not showered that day. People were really shocked/excited to see Westerners dressed like this, and some young girls asked to take our photos and email addresses.

By Day 3, my friends pretty much wanted to skiddadle from the festivities. Somehow Deepika convinced Karin that we had to leave to go visit with some of her family (partially true), so we were liberated to continue on our journey to the rest of northern India. We left pretty much directly after the actual wedding ceremony, which only close friends and family (including us) witnessed. 

People, when it comes to weddings, keep it classy and simple, alright?! The best stuff should come after the wedding!


Catherine Leigh said...

4 days?! How stressful...I can barely imagine dealing with planning a wedding that lasts a few hours!

Michelle said...

LOVE THE SARI! Glad you are having a blast!!

Esther said...

What fun. A real traditional Indian wedding. And you look terrific in that sari.

Love, Esther

Daddle said...

Don't even think about geting married there!