After a long day of traveling from Bangalore to Coorg, it was time for our next wedding ceremony. This event was more of a reception with a lot of dancing and food, and it’s where us foreigners finally got to perform the dance we’d been learning and practicing every night! I’m excited and nervous for that, but first, lots of photos of the family.
Then it’s time for dancing! I know I said this before, but I have no idea how they planned this wedding and learned as many dances as they did.
There was even a skit performed about Nitish and Kamala’s courtship which had us all cracking up. Or maybe shocked and confused.
Nitish sang “Leaving On A Jet Plane” to Kamala, which was adorable.
Unfortunately, since I was dancing, I don’t have any pictures of our super awesome Bollywood style dance, but I know Meike has a video that I’m hoping she’ll send me someday, and if she does, I’ll be certain to share it with you! We got a lot of compliments on it from the families, though I think maybe they were just being nice.
After dinner, it was time for more dancing! There was traditional Coorgi dancing out front (which kind of reminded me a bit of Greek dancing), and more the more typical DJ and loudspeakers dancing inside, playing a mix of western pop and Bollywood hits. I snapped a few photos of the Coorgi dancing before setting my camera down to enjoy the rest of the evening.
The next day we had a quiet morning (and real, Coorg Coffee!) before our next ceremony.
This one was much calmer and more serious than the previous evening and if I’m remembering correctly, after it was over, the groom (Nitish) is considered married, but it’s not until the ceremony in the evening that Kamala is considered married, too. But don’t quote me on that, I could be wrong!
I can’t remember the exact meaning of this part of the ceremony (it was conducted in Hindu, Sanskrit and English, so we only caught part of what was happening) but rupees are placed on the ground and Kamala and Nitish take a step to stand next to each while the officiant says some words, and I believe it’s supposed to bring them good luck and wealth in their marriage.
When they return to their seats, we’re given a handful of flowers, the bride and groom are covered with a blanket, and we all throw our flowers at them. It’s pretty entertaining!
Then it’s outside for pictures!
That evening was our final ceremony in Coorg and we finally got to wear our sari’s! Since most of us foreigners had never worn one before, we had some women come in to dress us.
In the picture below from left to right is Goli’s mom, Meike (from Germany), Goli (grew up in Iran but moved to Toronto as a teenager), Sierra (American like me!), Tehara (Sri Lanken but lives in the UK), Maggie (my favorite Bulgarian) and myself. We’re quite an eclectic crew!
One of the things I love in these Indian ceremonies is all the different things they do and the meaning behind it. Tonight begins with family members cutting down palm posts while Nitish watches over in a chair nearby.
Then we all head inside and Kamala comes in, and I have to say, this may be my favorite of all her wedding clothes. There have been so many and she has always looked lovely, but tonight’s seems to have extra decoration and flowers.
We watch the ceremony, eat even more food, and go outside for the most interesting part of these ceremonies for me. Kamala and 2 women carry water on their heads that they are supposed to be bringing to Nitish while all the party guests dance in front of them, slowing the way. This is supposed to test the bride’s patience at being separated from her groom and show that she will make a good wife, but it’s just for fun these days. All us women get to take a turn carrying water with her, and Kamala tells me that when her friends were getting married, she would help make sure this part would last for hours, so now it’s finally her turn for payback.
Normally these things can last until 3 or 4 in the morning, but around midnight, we got a noise complaint from the neighbors and had to move it along. I felt kind of bad for Kamala since I knew she really looked forward to this, but I was definitely exhausted by this point. After making their way inside, Kamala and Nitsh come out to say their goodbyes to family and drive off into the night!
I’m so lucky I got to be invited to these events. There was so much happening and I didn’t keep up with it all, but I really enjoyed every second. Tomorrow we head to Kerala for a relaxing time on a houseboat before flying back to Delhi for the last ceremony. Congrats again you two!