...Continued from yesterday:
Randy and Anusha's Hindu wedding, the first of their two weddings on Sunday July 3, 2016, was scheduled to begin at 8:30 am, though by the time we arrived at around 7:45 am the area outside the Makoy Center was filled with family and friends,
Callie, Theresa, Tommy, me, Claire and Miguel
...including the groom, who was out and about greeting his guests and looking good.
Friends Re and Pat
As I was admiring Re's pretty bindi,
...she offered me an extra one that she had from a pack of bindis that had been given to her by an Indian friend,
The groom and and his guests mingled outside, or wandered inside,
...before entering the beautifully set up hall, the stage of which was being prepared by the priests and the bride's family for the wedding.
In a traditional Hindu wedding the groom arrives at the hall riding an elephant.
But before that moment the groom starts out from a distance and approaches the hall dancing until the last few yards when he is carried.
Randy invited (read that pleaded with) his family and friends to dance the distance with him and of course we all agreed, though we were feeling a little sheepish, wondering what moves to do.
But no problem - one of the groomsmen switched on a boombox playing a rockin' Justin Timberlake tune and that got us all dancing.
When the groom arrived at the hall he was anointed by the bride's mother and led inside by the bride's father.
The groom was led up onto the stage to join his parents, the bride's parents, two priests, one (seated on the floor here) who conducted the rituals and another who held a microphone and narrated the ceremony,
When we guests were all seated the priest welcomed us all and told us that we were free to chat quietly and use our cell phones, though also quietly, and that we should feel free to move about the hall.
Hindu weddings are typically five hours long. Part of the reason, as Anusha explained to me, is that most Indian marriages are arranged, and the wedding ceremony is in part a "getting to know you" ceremony for the young couple. However, as Anusha and Randy already knew each other - quite well - this ceremony was to be only two and a half hours.
And it was delightful.
....the other priest, who served as a sort of narrator and master of ceremonies, kept the tone light-hearted, joyful, and humorous.
"Now you are a loser," he joked to Randy at one point as a garland was placed around Randy's neck. "Once you get married you lose the game. Your wife is always right. So you lose your life, but happily. Your wife brainwashes you, but happily. Whatever she says, you say, 'Okay'. This garland symbolizes losing. But happily."
The priest spoke of marriage as not only the union of the couple but of their families as well, and spoke of family and good relationships as a necessity for good living. He also emphasized often during the ceremony the importance in life of seeking health and wealth, and prayed for many blessings for the bride and groom.
Another time the priest said, "See, he's smiling now, you can get a very good picture!"
The bride and groom were hoisted onto the shoulders of their attendants and from this high position they place garlands around each others' necks.
Then each said to the other the most beautiful words of the ceremony: "Whoever I am, whatever I am, please take me."
Soon afterwards there was an intermission, and we were invited to have refreshments from the bar or the coffee machine.
After the break the atmosphere was even more casual, with more socializing among the guests,
When the sheet came down the priest cried out joyfully, "And now they are finally married!"
There followed a few more ceremonies, some fun, as a game between the bride and groom that involved competing for a gold ring in a vase,
Other of the rituals were very beautiful: when the bride and groom linked pinkies - a pinky promise to each other - and said, "together we will acquire energy"; when they were tied together with a long cord; and when they touched each other's heart and said, "My heart is your heart."
And then, for the benefit of those of us who didn't understand, Anusha looked out to the audience and chuckled, "We're done, by the way."
The wedding was followed by a lunch, a buffet of delicious Indian dishes.
During lunch Randy was informed that his shoes, which he had taken off at one point during the ceremony, had been stolen
...and that Randy would have to negotiate with Anusha to get his shoes back.
At first Anusha wanted $500 for the shoes, but Randy managed to bargain her down to a price they both agreed upon.
But as Randy didn't have any cash on him,
To be continued...
by Patti Liszkay
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by Patti Liszkay
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"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
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I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.