Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saravana weds Sunita

The much anticipated wedding of our driver Saravana to Sunita has finally arrived and what a production it was.

The Friday before the wedding had us at the home of Sarvana to witness the Puja ( blessing/prayer) of the groom. The entire family is present and they apply a colorful mixture of different herbs to his face,arms,head and feet. The groom to be dressed all in white, was escorted to the puja spot by his Uncle and then each of the family, including Tracy, applied the mud like substance until he was completely covered. The we all were then painted on our faces and then we washed up and left. Quite interesting.

The following day was the reception ceremony. The Hindus have the reception before the marriage as not everyone is invited to the actual wedding ceremony.

We arrived at the reception hall around 5:00 in the afternoon admits a great deal of fanfare.

The Loudamericans 3/5th dressed in Korean Hanbok"s and Tracy in a Saree and Tom in a navy blue wool suit (the groom demanded it) and was only about 95 degrees!

The waiting had begun as this event goes on and on and on and we never really know what is happening. All of a sudden the "orchestra" starts to play as loud as they possibly can the singer begins to sing off key and loud while moving around the throng of people in some bizarre Vegas nightclub/lounge lizard dance while everyone there pays them no mind. This will happen two or three times until the singer either has performed all the songs required or someone just asks then to leave because they can not take it anymore! I am not sure which.

At this point the crowd rises and gets into line to give their congratulations to the "couple" and their family. The people parade past them and get their picture taken and hand over any gifts they may have.

I am unsure how many of the people in our picture were actual members of Saravana or Sunita's family however there were several.

The kids at this point have gone beyond meltdown stage as well as haven eaten all the "western snacks" we brought. Their colorful hanbok's were dull and dirt cover their faces sweat covered and their hunger overwhelming as we headed down stairs for the dinner.

The traditional Hindu meal served at these events is veg only, rice,some curd,chutney,roti,you get the idea all the food is runny and served on a banana leaf with no silverware it was a mess.

The kids ate only rice but we managed to fill them and us up as the food was very good.

We then bid everyone good bye as we sadly took Julie to the airport.

Billy was very cute as all the way to the airport he kept saying to Julie, "take me with you Julie, take me with you"!

He was telling her Julie I love you Julie as she was standing in the two block long line for the terminal..We will miss her and if you have not read her blog it is a couple of entries back.

Sunday we got up early and headed back to the wedding hall for the actual ceremony itself. The event is not unlike the event the night before however we were all decked out in our formal Indian wear. There were many of the same people wondering around the groom in a traditional headpiece and white outfit the bride in one of the 75 Saree's purchased for the event.The photographers as usual set up right in front of the wedding alter and not allowing anyone to see, not that people were watching.They were all just milling about as before talking and every so often something would happen and people would rush to the couple to see. There are many rituals that occur at the wedding, the couple receives 7 wreathes of flowers and walks 7 times around the alter,7x7, interesting. There is a fire that is there throughout the ceremony into which oils and flowers and prayers are placed, not unlike a burning bowl, the couple eats only veg food to help cleanse their bodies and make room for the new life and experiences that are ahead.

We were feed another fabulous meal and bid or farewells. All in all quite the experience. Our driver is now on holiday until the 25th of June at which time we are sure to hear about all the behind the scene issues and family drama that always surrounds events such as these!