We've had an incredibly busy weekend so we thought we'd share the highlights....
Friday night: We decide to have our neighbor friends over for A Christmas drink. The key word here is A. As background, there seems to be a mass exodus from Bangalore in the next week. Everyone heads to their respective home countries for extended holiday vacations. So, we thought we'd wish everyone well and have A friendly drink. It was a great night. Tom managed to get a fire started in our fire pit/grill and everyone brought snacky things to share. These type of potluck events get interesting as our friends are German, Irish and Canadian. We had cheese whiz, Bavarian sausage and chocolate and cream crackers. I was in heaven. Our German friends also brought their "hooka" pipe. Basially this is a water pipe through which you smoke flavored VERY mild tobacco. (really, no really). The oddest moment of the night was watching our friends sit down with their kids (ages 13, 10 & 7) and smoke hooka together. They totally admit that they would never do something like this in Germany, but as they say, what happens in India, stays in India. Everyone headed home at 1:30am and we were in bed by 2:00. So much for A drink.
Saturday: Tom and I awoke thinking . .. Naps Naps Naps ... But, TSI had an intercompany Cricket match that we had committed to bringing the kids to, so we were out the door at 9:3am. I have to admit that I know nothing about Cricket and after Saturday that hasnt changed. It is not an intuitive game. The kids had a great time though... they chased balls, drew with sticks in the sand, found an abandoned garbage pit and went looking for snakes in the weeds. Your typical wholesome Saturday morning in India... After a few hours of sufficiently driving my co-workers mad, we packed the kids up and headed home for lunch, baths and naps. For ONCE they cooperated and ALL of us had a 2 hour nap.
Saturday night: We woke up late for our next gathering. A wedding reception of a coworker followed by a party at our English friends house. My coworker insisted that I bring the kids, so the plan was... head to the reception, stay for an hour, meet Raj (our housekeeper) at our friends party, send him home with the kids, have the driver pick us up in 2 - 3 hours. This was a flawless plan, until you factor in Bangalore traffic. Needless to say, after sitting in the car (in a traffic jam) for 1 1/2 hrs, we had to give up hope of making it to the reception. The kids were starving and we were only 1/2 way there. We bailed and found the most fabulous Chinese restaruant. The kids got to eat noodles and Tom and I were able to enjoy a drink. We did the Superman change of clothes in the car and were ready for our next party. It was a rooftop party in the heart of the city. They had a tent, a groomed lawn, fabulous kebabs and a DJ. We met some really cool people and drank some decent wine. Plus we didnt have to clean up, so all in all, a good night!
Sunday: Today was the day. Our driver is finally getting engaged. It is an arranged marriage and you'd think that this was his last day on earth for how nervous he is. Now, dont get me wrong, he has wanted to get married for the last 4 months, I just think that the "gravity" of the decision is finally sinking in. For the engagement there is a big ceremony and he's asked us to specifically wear our best Indian clothes. The program started at 11:00 and was scheduled to go to 3:00. Having never been at an Indian engagement, I had no idea what to expect. Well... It is almost undescribable. 1st you arrive at a "hall" that is basically a grade school auditorium where they have for some unexplicable reason turned on the heat. There is a 16 piece band and 14 of the pieces are drums. People are sitting 2 to a seat and everyone is wearing their best and brighest clothes. ALL the women have jasime and flowers in their hair and the kids are running around like its Christmas. Then, there doesnt seem to be any start or stop to the ceremony. People talk, visit, stand, sit, move around...all through the ceremony. After 1 hour of this, the kids were getting a little antsy to say the least. I take them one at a time out for a potty break and a little fresh air. Another hour passes and Billy cannot be contained. He has spotted the velvet love seat that is on the "stage" and is bound and determined to sit in it. After 2 major meltdowns 2 feet away from the happy couple, I am sure they are wondering what they are in for. Jimmy of course had found the "boy posse" and was running up and down the stairs screaming, wrestling and chasing all the other boys ages 5-10. Kay had been swept away by one of Saravnans "aunties" and was getting her cheeks pinched by everyone in the room. We finally made it to pictures. This is an interesting part of Indian ceremonies. The couple stands on stage and EVERYONE files by, one by one and has their photo taken with the "happy" couple. This could go on for hours, I'm thinking, and it did. Saravanan had thought of everything though and one of his uncle led us to to a room that had cheese pizza and beer. THANK GOD!! We managed to wrap up a little after 1:30 and naps today consistented of a few minutes of shut eye in the car.
We came home, took a shower and went to bed.