Sunday, July 09, 2006

An exciting couple of weekends... The Wedding

I have had a magnificent couple of weekends in the last two weeks. Last weekend I was invited to the traditional Hindu wedding in San Jose California of my friend Prakash to his now bride Priya. I drove up to visit my friend Mat from NZ and his Italian girlfriend Claudia just south of San Francisco on the friday night so I could be at the wedding early on Saturday. On the way up I encountered a scrub fire on the side of the road.

This is a random photo of a plumbing van I saw on the way to San Jose.

What an amazing experience the wedding was, the wedding celebrations go on for 3 days and there is dancing and negotiating and partying and singing and celebrating.
It is basically separated until the last day of the ceremony with the bride and groom having their own celebrations. On the first day there was a ceremony where all of Prakash's family and friends spend a good amount of time putting various paint like substances all over him for luck. Afterwards we quickly visited the brides party where there must have been 1300 people. We witnessed some formalities then had to sit in a room while all the ladies from the brides side trys to trick Prakash into eating and drinking trick food. The idea is to pay them off and leave. After a while Prakash and his entourage of which I was involved payed the ladies $330 and quickly departed.

We then went to a party and dinner at another function and there was lots of dancing, throwing of money and eating. I had the honor of making a small speech in front of everyone. Luckily it was after midnight and most people had had a few drinks.

The next day was the official wedding day. The friends of the groom wore turbans and since I am a friend of the groom I wore a turban too.... It fitted nicely and was surprisingly cool. Having the turban told the brides side that we were there to protect Prakash during this particular ceremony.

Prakash then hopped on a carriage which was towed by a horse and we then began to dance and wave our hands in the air in front of Prakash on the carriage. We had a drummer with us and I am thinking that traditional Indian music must have had a hand in the creation of techno... We all had lots of fun as you can see.

After the horse ceremony, we then wait till the brides party comes to the horse and carriage to "convince" the groom that now is a good time to get married. There was a lot of negotiations and a few tricks..... It really was interesting. In the end the bride came out after a ceremony that had Prakash once again get partly painted and covered in string. This time the brides party had to pay the grooms party and I am thinking that maybe Prakash made an advance on his original payment of $330.

We then went in and had a small tustle with the brides party over a pair of shoes and the party began....

There was time when Prakash and Priya sat on stage with the religious person who came from India to perform the wedding.... After that was finished and it was quite some time they were officially married. We then got changed and came back for a massive feast, more speeches, lots of dancing and some beverages....

Prakash and Priya's wedding was a really special occasion and I am very happy that I was invited. I met lots of good folk and yes.... We did manage to have an afterparty which virtually lasted all night.

The next day it was time for goodbyes and I made it home to Santa Monica in just over 4 hours.


Aaron Bhatnagar said...

I hope you told them that your Indian nickname is Puntiki.

Nice turban by the way, make sure you wear one when you come to visit my Dad the next time you are in Auckland.

Rob Good said...

Well if he knows how to put it on I still have it. Problem is when you take them off they need to be redone as they fall apart.

Andrew said...

Looks like a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

Yes I remember the after hours party being extremely long!! I think it was dawn when I finally rolled into bed. Too bad the brits don’t have an understanding when it comes to women stealing. Damn brit stole my girl! But I will have the last laugh since it is I who lives in LA and got the celly number and what of that brit you say? Well he had to go back to England. Aww what a shame. LOL. This wedding was amazing and I got to meet some extremely nice people whom I will never forget, Rob Good being one of them. If you haven’t experienced an Indian wedding then you don’t know what a wedding really is! Well take care Robert and see you soon.

Rob Good said...

Hey Lohen, I thought you were going to give me her #??????? HAHA

Mike J. Stark said...

Looks like there was much fun to be had and then the party started

stef said...

Very cool. Seems far better than any of the weddings I've been to in Korea.