On November 24 Nirmal’s cousin was getting married, and Rafiq, Pushker and I were invited, as well as several acquaintances Nirmal had made — European tourists whom he’d met at his shop. He never told us his cousin’s name, and I was not introduced to her at the wedding. There were too many people, and she was so busy. Indians are much more casual than Americans about who they invite to weddings, even though their affairs are just as lavish and expensive. Come one, come all.
I didn’t get to see the groom arrive on the white horse. Indian wedding rituals go on for hours, and it would have been over an hour from the time the groom arrived on the horse until the ceremony began. Nirmal brought us to the house where the wedding was taking place right at the point when the ceremony had just gotten started.
The bride and groom were symbolically tied together and circled the flames several times.
Every time the bride passed too close to the flames, one of the women seated nearby would reach out, gather the bottom folds of the sari and gently pull them outwards to keep it from catching alight.
There was lots of dancing and eating, but I didn’t see any alcohol being served. A smart idea, not having drunken wedding guests.
We were rowdy enough as it was.
There were obligatory group family photos against a lavish backdrop. This is the bride’s side of the family. My friend Nirmal, looking like a game show host in his white jacket, is on the far left.
There were so many beautifully dressed women at the event, I didn’t even care if I captured their faces or not. They were gorgeous, coming or going.
It’s not at all difficult to get invited to an Indian wedding if you want to see one. Making friends in India is easy if you are open to it. Indian families are huge, and there’s always going to be someone getting married at any given time. If you have an Indian friend, your chances of being invited to a wedding are 100%!