Grab a cuppa and some snacks before you join me on this particular journey. And for my Indian friends don’t you be tutting and rolling your eyes. This is a U.P. wedding originating from near Moradabad and not a posh city affair.
As my dad is the oldest living member of the extended family it was important for all of us to be at this wedding. I do not recall having been to one in India as an adult. The wedding house was decorated but the monkeys kept breaking the flower chains 🐒🙄. A supply of mattresses and pillows had been delivered – not sure about that! My OCD would not have allowed it. Luckily our house is next door.
The cooks set up four days beforehand; they would prepare all the sweets that would be needed as gifts. They would also feed the entire household and any guests for the duration; breakfast, lunch and dinner. What a great idea. It freed up the household from routine chores. The guys just got on with it morning, noon and night. I wonder if I could set them up in my back garden permanently🤫. Would need friends to visits as their karahis (woks) were XXXL.
Breakfasts ranged from
⁃ samosas and jalebis
⁃ chole bhaturas
⁃ potato and onion pakoras
⁃ bread pakoras (being fried below)
Bread, potatoes, carbs, sugar and oil !! What’s not to love? Just don’t tell the doctor🤫. Or Nitasha Buldeo !!
Lunch would normally be two curries, chappatis and dinner,similar. We did also get “tairi” (vegetable pilau). Someone or other would pop round and say “food is ready” and like lemmings we would trot over. All were amused at Sam and me constantly taking pics of the food. I think they thought it was all new to us…😬.
Sweets or mithai
⁃ Khasta kachori (savoury)
⁃ Shakkar pare
⁃ Laddoo (below)
⁃ Gulab jamun
The cooks can be seen packing the sweet boxes below. This finished box is shown further down.
Basically heart stopping coronary blocking party pack 🤔. I avoided any tea (those who know me know what a delicate and sensitive subject this is for me. So stewed, sweet, milky tea with cardamoms wasn’t going to get past my lips.🤢)
Enough about food. Let’s move to clothes. I had been super organised and banked a couple of outfits in Kolkata. My sister in law however arrived empty handed and needed support shopping. It would have been rude to leave her to do it on her own. Below is one outfit that got away.
The day before the wedding all the women had henna applied. I’ve also shown below the henna design the bride had. Crazy detail!
When the day arrives finally ! We have someone come to make us look beautiful. Note to self (yes another one!) – avoid tikkas (pendant on my forehead) unless you want to appear skewed all evening!
Everyone is looking super smart as the evening wedding preparations approach. Below are my two gorgeous nephews from London.
Sam in her lovely lengha with groom and his mother.
My dad looking like a midget next to my nephew and groom’s brother.
Shavvi on a horse as one does ! Setting off for the wedding hall.
The baraat (the wedding party)stops a short distance from the venue which is to hold 1600 guests. FFS who even knows that many people. I was told 800 from each side; I thought well that seems more reasonable 🙄. The groom by now has moved onto a carriage type affair and my nephew joins him.
We danced along the roadside to a what can only be described as a mobile band and disco 😀. As they say band, baaja (instrument) , baarat! It’s also common for notes to be thrown about for band members to pick up/take. My abiding memory is the sheer noise and the smell of the burning lanterns.
(Slightly skewed tikka 🤷🏽♀️)
Health & Safety freaks look away now. Yes that is a firework being set off on the road whilst traffic is going past. 😳
The baraat is welcomed by the bride’s family.
Total chaos but managed to capture my dad, brother and nephew.
And just Incase anyone was in doubt that there was a wedding on the agenda.
After entering the hall guests either sit or can go and eat. In fact lots were already there and enjoying yummy food. I can’t even begin to explain the variety of food available. Just awesome. Below a photo of roomali roti being cooked.
Above – The groom’s aunts. Again the skewed tikka!
Even mum managed to be get through all the hullabaloo of the evening.And my tikka is finally straight .. hoorah.
The bride and groom meet on the stage and exchange garlands; Jai Mala. Then normal photos and dancing.
They are not actually married but having their first dance. I’m slightly bemused by all this. It transpires that the marriage ceremony (phere) is to take place during the early hours of the morning. Let’s just say the yours truly went home at 12.30 but my 82year old father made a magnificent effort and came home at 6am. He will always do what is right.
The day after the wedding there is an event called “koria” (all the women get together to sing and dance including the bride). This is after singing and some dancing throughout the whole week. God bless her, Damini was on show. She was pretty cool;not only pretty and bright but she can also sing and dance. Thank god this was not a requirement in my time. I would have been sent back.
It is at this time that locals and elders come and see the bride. In the old days the bride’s face would be covered by her long veil. People would bless the bride and also see her face “moo dikhai”(literally translates as face showing).
During the days following the new bride comes and gets blessing from the elders of the family “aashirwaad”. This involves touching their feet. Below Damini with mum.
Wedding aside there were numerous occasions when people went for my feet. I would step aside or hold out my arm to stop them. Surely I am not old enough to be giving my blessings. This is one Indian custom I can’t cope with but understand that it holds a lot of meaning for and gives pleasure to many. Who am I to comment!! Britasian from Bedford 🤷🏽♀️?
It was a wonderful week of being totally immersed in a traditional Indian wedding complete with traditions and rituals. The latter often debated at length between people as to what was the “right” way. This is absolutely normal and nothing to be concerned about – no god is going to be offended. The standout had to be the food and dancing along the road. I hope I have done justice to the efforts of the cooks in my review, I certainly did in my eating!!
My Indian friends may be wondering why there hasn’t been any reference to “timing”. Indians are renowned for being late. I’ve obviously let the side down again by being punctual and often early. Shame on me. Needless to say that because of this casual attitude to timing I missed two ceremonies. One because it was running late and I had to be elsewhere and another because we thought they would be running late but rather rudely they did it on time – good grief !#expecttheunexpected (copyright Glenn Meek).
The only other thing I would note is that all family members need stamina for this type of occasion; you have been warned.
I will be partaking in carrots and hummus for sometime !!!