Location: The sofa that may or may not be the roof over the head of Francois the mouse.
Currently Listening: Melt your heart by Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
Weather: It's warmed up a tad, still very much coat/glove weather.
The second I got to my uncle's flat in Mumbai, I was whisked off to the salon to get a much needed haircut. Don't worry it's still long, but I have a heck of lot more layers and bangs. I think it kinda looks like Ashlee Simpson in her Pieces of Me days, which I find troublesome, but sometimes it falls nicely. After that, we all left for the hotel in Powai, ate a terribly late dinner, and crashed for the night.
The new hair.
My aunt hired a choreographer to teach everyone a few dances to perform at the Sangeet that night. It's essentially a talent show for the bride. A few of the married couples performed a dance - OMG hilarious to watch them learn how their dance. All of the wives complained about how their husbands had two left feet - and then all of the cousins learned a dance that made fun of the groom. We all ended up forgetting the steps except for my cousin Divya, who can actually dance.
Prabha Nani (My grandmother's sister) doesn't need dance lessons (or singing lessons for that matter). She busted out to a rather sultry song. It was pretty much fantastic.
Got a tiny glimpse of India outside the hotel when Dad and I went shopping. Picked up a few presents for loved ones and a kurti (Short Indian top, which is long by American standards). Seriously, I needed about 10 outfits for the whole weekend 'cause weddings are like living in a Bollywood movie where you have a costume change every 5 seconds.
Several quite talented ladies came to decorate the women's hands with mehndi (Henna). Meanwhile, the men kept themselves busy with poker. My hands look pretty awesome right now, but later confused the immigration officer into thinking I was just married. The food at the Mehndi was so so tasty. People were making papadi chat and aloo tikis right on the spot for the guests. Papadi chat is like these wheat chip/crackers covered in yoghurt, spices, sweet and hot sauces, tomatoes, onions, and variety of other toppings. Think of it like an Indian version of Nachos. Aloo tikis are like mashed potatoes patties fried until golden brown. They are salty, spicy, and an eensy bit sour because they put aamchur, which is mango powder. They also cover these in the same toppings as I mentioned before. I was happy that the open bar (which was available at every event- although quite surprisingly the drinking age is 21) served fresh coconuts to drink the water from. Refreshing!
I was completely amazed by this guy making bangles at the Mehndi. He melted and shaped beeswax and swirled in colors from the blocks of solidified paint.
Later that night we attended the Sangeet. At the bar I found myself a kiwi margarita! This could be completely ordinary, but I've never heard of such before. The open bar led to a rather drunken night of dancing for the entire lot in the hall that literally was transformed into a discotheque with crazy lights and blasting techno-bhangra. Prior to this, my relatives all performed dances for Monika.
I did a little number with my cousins Neha, Divya, Vibhu and Pranav.
It was interesting to say the least......
We also had a little champagne-cake birthday celebration in there somewhere to celebrate Neha's 22nd birthday. Rule#1: Neha's birthday first, Monika and Ram's wedding anniversary second!
The next morning my cousins and I went to Monika's room where the bride and groom's sides exchanged gifts. I got a shnazzy gold evening purse!
Traditionally, the groom arrives at the wedding on horseback. The groom's side leads him dancing all the way to the Mandap (the tent where the ceremony takes place). It's like a great big parade with a band and everything! Holy crap was it hot though! It must have been a hundred degrees and with all that dancing, oh boy.
Just before we decorated his face with all of those flowers for the Bharat. Haha he couldn't see anything!!! The flowers are supposed to hide the bride from the groom's view.
The wedding ceremony was fun to watch. It's nice being related to the groom 'cause you automatically get a good seat in the mandap. I can't imagine how terribly hot Monika must've been under all those layers of fabric and jewelry!
After a shower and much needed nap, I made my way to the reception. Lots and lots of foood. Greek food, Thai food, lots of desserts, and of course Indian food. I think I am becoming more and more okay with Indian food which I've rejected for the greater part of my life. For whatever strange reason, Mumbai has a noise ordinance so the band had to stop playing at 10:30pm because we were outside. Rather unfortunate in terms of dancing, but later there was dancing inside the convention center.
Left everyone more than tipsy at the reception at about 12:30 (the party did not stop apparently till several hours later) for a quick nap and left an hour later for the airport to catch my 4am flight to Paris(That was pretty much awful timing). Must comment on the complete disaster of the airport in Mumbai. They had 12 people manning the gate to keep boarding in order. What the heck! How unnecessary. Oh wait, this is India and no one follows any rules or understands the concept of a line. Oh did I mention they changed the gate of my flight and failed to announce it? Yeah, there's something called a screen. Get one so I can least figure it out on my own if you don't tell me! Also, I was really annoyed that they hired the equivalent of Indian "dumb blondes" to work the airports who just flirted with people via cell phone instead of answering my questions like "where the heck do I go?"
Anyway, I made it eventually to Paris so that's all that matters. I actually felt a bit of relief like I was returning home.