We have had a very busy summer, and I really haven’t written about much that we have done here – it’s been mostly about Hayden and his development. One of the big events of the summer was my dear friend Reena’s wedding. She got married a couple of weeks ago in traditional Indian fashion, and it was an event unlike any I had seen before! I was honored to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, which meant I got to attend all five events over the three days.
The first event was just for family and close friends on Reena’s side, girls only. It was a henna party, and we all got our hands tattooed with henna. It was at Reena’s parent’s house which was beautifully decorated. My friend Emily was also a bridesmaid and came in from San Francisco. Very funny story: we got there before a lot of people arrived and decided we should go ahead and get the henna while there was no wait, and we each insisted the other go first but I insisted the most so she did go first. She asks the henna artist if she should get it on her palms or top of hands and the artist says the top is better because it looks nice and doesn’t get in the way as it dries. So Emily gets it done on the top, and Reena comes out and says why’d you get it done on the top? Emily explains, then Reena’s mom comes out and says how pretty Emily’s henna is but why did she do it on the top? Then several cousins come out and also comment that it is on the top. So Emily is feeling pretty self-conscious at this point and decides to get it done on the palms as well (several people did it on both sides). When the artist is finished with her palms, Emily gets out of the chair by pushing down on the arms of the chair – of course using her palms! It takes a while for the Henna to dry so it messed it up pretty good. Then she comes back to where she is sitting and tells us how she just messed up her palms by using them to get up from her seat, and in exhasperation she puts the pack of her hand on her forehead. Of course, the back of her hand is also waiting to dry! Luckily that just looked like it was part of the comedy of errors, but it didn’t actually transfer onto her forehead or mess up the back of her hand.
The next day was a religious Hindu ceremony for Reena’s side, again at her parents house, in the morning and ‘garba’ which is dancing in the evening. The dancing was traditional dances done as a big group in a circle that moves counter-clockwise. We were told that a true sign of a good Indian party is when the white people dance, and we weren’t going to let Reena not have a good party! So we joined in and looked incredibly uncoordinated and ungraceful – the complete opposite of Reena and Such and their families! When I was wearing my bridesmaid outfit the next day I realized that the skirt flowed so beautifully when I swished it around, and it dawned on me that the long skirts they were all wearing would have really helped make the dancing look much more elegant than it did when I danced with my knee-length fitted skirt. Reena’s family was sooo welcoming throughout all the events, and when I went out to dance her cousins would come to either side of me and help me learn the steps. They were like that with everything – if there was a ritual going on they would go out of their way to explain what was happening and what it meant, or when they were dancing as a group (‘free style’ I would call it – when it wasn’t in a big circle with set steps) they would wave me over to come join them. I was joking with Reena yesterday that I am slowly stealing her family because John and I are already quite good friends with one of her cousins, Sunil, who we hang out with often, and now another of her cousins lives in Germany and works for IBM and we hit it off throughout that weekend and were just IMing this morning. Look out – your cousins are next!!!
The next morning was the actual wedding ceremony. Reena was absolutely gorgeous. At each event she looked so beautiful, but the wedding was my favorite ‘look.’ The ceremony was very cool. I could spend days describing it and am not really sure where I would even start and don’t have loads of time at the moment so I will just say that John took some pictures which are posted on this site so maybe they can tell the story a little. That night was the evening reception and that was simply gorgeous. There was food at each event which was fantastic Indian food (although truth be told it took me a while to be ready for any more Asian food after that weekend since I had eaten so much Indian food!). Oh, and at the wedding and reception there were, oh, about 500 – 600 people. It was truly a weekend I will never forget!
We were lucky that the wedding fell during the time Madeline was staying with us so we had a built-in babysitter as I came and went from one event to another. A college friend of Reena’s (and mine) and her husband stayed with us the first night. It was funny because on Friday Cyndi (the friend) and I had one of the events to go to which the husbands weren’t invited to. John was at work, and Madeline was a bit like, ‘what is Mark going to do?’ I said I thought he had some work to do so she could show him where our office is, but other than that they were a bit on their own. Even I had never met Mark before, so I felt badly leaving him, Madeline and Hayden alone for a few hours to make friends. Well, I needn’t have worried as they ended up being kindred spirits! Mark is also British but has lived in the US for 16 years, so I’m sure that gave them some common ground to start with. They had a grand time with big chats, a nice walk down to starbucks, and playing in the backyard with Hayden. Madeline also made him a sandwich for lunch, and he commented on how great the cucumbers tasted so he was in my good books as well because she hadn’t told him they were from our garden – John and I grew them from seeds! They do taste amazing, I must admit, but for him to randomly comment on them without knowing they were fresh was really nice!
Here is a link to Cyndi’s pictures, which have some of the events where I did not have a camera – plus a picture of the famous Mark! 🙂