Monsoon Wedding

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June 28th 2007
Published: June 28th 2007
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This is the hand decorations (Mindi) for the wedding
I love India.

I'm currently in Nagpur, a small town of about 2.1million people in the middle of India. I haven't yet seen the stone which indicates the exact geographical centre, but it's apparently only about 2km from the hotel I'm staying in. The monsoon rains started the day I flew into India, with mass flooding and a few deaths. This experience of India is incredibly different from when I was here in January for many reasons. India has again managed to teach me so much.

Nagpur features about 1/2 a page in the Lonely Planet guide stating there's no real reason to visit Nagpur, which makes it great for someone like me. We are the only westerners I've seen here which creates a totally different experience from areas with a high tourist trade. I'm not ripped off at every opportunity, there aren't many beggars and shopping is actually a pleasant experience with bargains galore (I've bought about 10 pairs of earings for about $8). I've been seduced by the beauty of the clothes and jewellery and I'm glad I had the opportunity to doll myself up in Indian dress.

I've been thoroughly spoilt since the moment
Dad and IDad and IDad and I

Dad and I all dressed up for the dance night
I landed and I must say, I'm loving it. I managed to meet someone through couchsurfing who picked me up from the airport, took me out for dinner, let me stay the night, then took me back to the airport at 5am the next day. Since I've arrived in Nagpur we (Dad, his wife Bernadette and I) have been treated like family, with drivers coming to pick us up for meals, getting mindi (ceremonial body art with henna) painted on us with the rest of the family, and over fed to the point that I don't think I ever want to eat again. I also happened to sit next to someone on the plane from Sydney to Mumbai who's husband is working at Canberra Hospital for a year and lives in Nagpur - small world! She's added to the list of people who have totally looked after us since we've been here.

I can't even begin to describe the wedding and people's hospitality. The wedding was totally traditional - the ceremony itself taking a few days, only some of which was done with other people around. It was so vastly different to any wedding I've seen thus far. I've

Needing help getting dressed
got photo's but unfortunately can't upload them right now (and yes, mum, I've got photo's of wearing the saree, including one with people helping me get dressed!). The first night consisted of a small family gathering of about 300 people and was a music night which told the story of Sanjeet (Sam) and Smriti. It was all in Hindi but that didn't matter. As honoured guests, we sat in the front row with Papa-ji, the oldest family member of Sam. We all wore Indian outfits and towards the end of the night Dad was invited up to dance with only one other person on stage. I was laughing so hard but before I even had the opportunity to take a photo, Bernadette and I were grabbed and taken up as well. So with 300 people watching, laughing and applauding, I had my first attempt at dancing Indian style on the stage with just Dad, Bernadette and Sam's uncle. I'm not 100% sure, but I think I managed to be slightly more graceful than Dad and Bernadette - although it seems dad managed to turn pulling up his pants into a dance move. The actual wedding lasted most of the day
Bride and GroomBride and GroomBride and Groom

Me, the kids and the bride and groom on the day of the wedding
yesterday, with about 2000 guests coming and going throughout the entire day. Unlike our weddings which have the ceremonial part fairly quick with everyone watching, the ceremony here lasted for longer than 3 days (by the time you include all the blessings and joining of the two families) with no one point that had everyone watching.

There's so much that's happened, and so much detail in everything. I haven't felt like a tourist this time. I've been so welcomed into the community and family that it almost feels like I'm home.


28th June 2007

Hey babe, Love you, miss you already... more stories would be great! mwah Daniel
28th June 2007

Sounds so wonderful Esther :) I love it when you no longer have that disconnected, tourist feeling and you feel apart of the community. Priceless. What magical experiences you are having! *hugs* Jane
29th June 2007

You sound like you are having a fantastic time! Wonderful to be part of a community as a visitor rather than standing on the outside. Keep us up to date and just enjoy!!!
29th June 2007

I cannot wait to see photos!! And thankyou so much dear Esther for sharing your experiences with us. Everything sounds so incredible. We all miss you heaps already.
29th June 2007

I agree - wow!
Esther - what a wonderful experience you have been able to witness and be part of - such a privelege! You lucky thing! I can only imagine the sights and smells - exhilerating and wonderful! Keep living the dream and take the time to take in and reflect on what you see. Cath (living the reality of back at work after her jaunt through South America - sob)
2nd July 2007

I'm so old, I don't know what couchsurfing is! I'll be intrigued to find out you meet people doing it! Loved reading all about India and the wedding in particular - that group photo is spectacular. I daresay the thought of this trip kept you going through those last weeks here!! Looking forward to the next instalment, it's my first venture into a "blog" site as well - THANK YOU!!
2nd July 2007

Hi Sheila. Couch surfing is where you can sign online to a massive group of people who are willing to let you stay on their couch (or spare room) for free. It's a really good concept of sharing culture and making travel cheaper

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