My last minute trip to India in February – Part II – Wedding at Pushkar
So we had arrived at Pushkar at around 5AM (just 30 minutes from Ajmer Station). We were all greeted by the grooms family and had been given Pheta’s to wear. Then everyone was assigned a room where they could stay and we were asked to help out in locating their rooms and helping anyone out, if needed. As it was very early in the morning, we couldn’t go back to sleep. So we decided to spend the time getting ready and freshening up after a long day of travelling.
After freshening up, we went to meet the groom and one of my cousins gifted him (soon to be them) an enlarged version of a photograph that I had taken. That was a very proud moment for me that someone had thought that the photo I had taken was good enough to be framed.
That night it was Sangeet and the engagement ceremony. Sangeet is usually the night before the wedding where people from both sides of the family come together to celebrate the wedding. There are usually DJ’s around and performances by the members of the family from both the sides. My brothers and I decided to do a small performance from our side earlier in the day, so we were all looking forward to when we would have to perform. It was a great night out and everyone had lots of fun before the “big” day.
The next day, we woke up early to serve chai and biscuits to the people from the groom’s side of the family – its a tradition that the bride’s side of the family should provide the food/snacks to the groom’s side. We had some people getting the chai and the snacks that go along with it ready and had some people who were taking it to the rooms to give it to them (mind you, this was 6AM in the morning.. Not everyone was awake). As we were in Rajasthan (a state mostly covered with sand) so the temperature got really cold at night and really hot during the day so most of the people were freezing while serving/standing around. I was still a little bit jet-lagged since I had not slept very well for enough time so waking up early was fine but started to get tired really soon as the day went on.
As the day went on, the functions related to the wedding went on and I participated in some but not all. However, I made sure that I ate everything that was there in the wedding. There were so many varieties of every kind of Indian sweet you could imagine and I LOVE sweets. Most of my meals consisted of 90% sweets and 10% other food. I have always been a sucker for sweets and even with all the work, I could not contain myself with all the food that was there. Rajasthani sweets have a different taste which is really hard to describe, it would just be easier to go there and taste it.
On this day, there was a special lunch planned for all of us – Daal Baati (it is a Rajasthani special dish and you must try it out if you ever go there). The way to eat Daal Baati’s are to crush the baati into small pieces and mix daal with it. They say that adding Ghee to this makes it taste better, so we had many people who were taking three or four bowls of ghee with their baati’s. It was fun to watch and surprising to see how people could eat so much. My mum’s side of the family loves to eat together in big plates (or even small plates), so we had about six of us eating out of the plates. Whenever we mixed the food, the plate would be empty in a minute or two. We also took about three or four bowls of Ghee with our good because why not? We were there to enjoy the wedding and not care about how much we’re eating :P. In Indian weddings, there is a tradition to make sure that everyone eats to their potential, so people force others to eat (manwaar) and some people came up to us and fed us Shrikhand. I, myself, had four bowls full of Shrikhand. Its just my marwadi instincts or my genes that let me eat so much. It was fun and I loved it all! 😀
That night, it was the reception for all the people that had come to the wedding. The entrance made by the couple was simply amazing. They both started from opposite corners and walked towards the center before walking together to the stage. However, every step they took, it had to be with the tune that was playing in the background and for each step, there was a firework going off from both the sides. It was something really out of an Indian movie. As the night went on, there wasn’t much to do that night so most of us were just sitting in the cold dark night gossiping about life and Indian things. Everyone chatted till late and some of my cousins stayed up all night playing Poker (I was pretty jet-lagged so I slept 🙁 ).
The next day was the day of the phera’s (Indian version of taking vows). We didn’t have much to do that day so we all got up reasonably late and got ready for the day. Most of the people went shopping around the town or sightseeing around the town since we had lots of time to kill. However, I decided to stay and watch around. Rajasthan gets very hot during the days and very cold during the nights so