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Published: March 21st 2019
In Delhi, my next couchsurfer, Rohit, picked me up from the station. First we took my stuff to his apartment, had some food and then we went to a market to buy me an indian dress. This because Rohit was invited for a wedding and told me I could come too. didn't want to show up in shorts or in jeans, so we just went to buy a cheap dress on the market.
The wedding was very very different from ours. First of all, the brides wear red-gold dresses instead of white. Then, in our weddings, the entire day revolves around the bride and groom. In this case it was more like people came for the free food and pictures. Let me get into the details:
We arrived around 18:00 and the groom didn't arrive until 22:00! Rohit told me this was normal. The later the groom arrives, the more he shows his importance. Here in India, about 80% of the marriages are arranged, which was the case in this wedding too. When we arrived, we ate from the buffet almost immediately. I thought it was so strange, but I was told it was normal, so we ate. Carrot Pudding
was so good! (I guess I like carrots.. or deserts in general.. haha). a Few hours later, I started noticing people were leaving, they didn't even see the couple yet! Again, Rohit told me this was normal. The guests of the bride would always come first, have some food and leave. He said that also most of them were farmers and had to get up really early to work on the land, so they can't stay up super late. Close family of the bride would of course stay. I noticed a car next to the stage with the couch on it. Apparently, in most weddings, the father of the bride buys a car as a gift for the groom. So, if you are a guy and you need a car, just get married in India 😉. Finally, we heard the groom arriving. We went outside to see what was going on. The groom sat on a super decorated carriage, pulled by horses. There were people playing instruments and the grooms' family and friends were dancing like crazy in front of the carriage. Fireworks were shooted into the air and even though they arrived, it took another half an hour before
they would actually enter. When he entered with the rest of his family, I went behind them and Rohit pulled me back, He said it would be super weird if I would arrive with them because I'm not family. The entrance was a tunnel made of colorful fabrics. In the middle they would stop to make pictures one by one with the groom. I think this took another half an hour. We passed the tunnel from another side and waited. When the groom was inside, he sat on the couch on the stage that was also decorated by colorful fabrics and flowers.Then the bride came in. Rohit told me she probably had waited in a room for hours, already dolled up. Her family held a sort of scarf above her head while she slowly walked towards the stage. Again, lots of pictures were made. This time of the bride and her family. When she arrived at the stage, the fun began! Every single person was coming on stage one by one for.. guess what.. more pictures! This time with the groom and the bride together. By this time I was hungry again, so we had some more food. Suddenly, someone
came to get me on stage too. I didn't really want to, but she insisted. I got on stage, sat beside the bride and they took a picture. The bride didn't even look at me, she was just staring at the camera with a steel face, not even a smile! I thought, maybe she was done with making so many pictures. Boy was I wrong! When everybody had taken their picture, they went back to the tables to eat some more food. In the meantime, the couch was removed so they could take pictures of the bride in different poses. It went on forever. Then the ceremony started. The couple sat in front of the fire and the priest would tell them to throw things in it. The guests were seated all around the couple. Rohit told me we could go now. The ceremony would take about 2 hours he said and it was getting cold and late, so we left. He told me that at the end of every wedding, the bride has to cry to show her family that she is sad to leave them. It's a tradition and has to be done. I asked, what if they
marry out of love and she isn't sad at all? Then she'll have to fake it he said. Like I said, very very different from our weddings, but still interesting to see how other cultures celebrate such an important day.
The next day, we went for a round trip through Delhi. First we visited Akshardham temple. We weren't allowed to take our phones, so I have no pictures. It wasn't because you can't take pictures but because of security reasons you can't take any electronic devices (you could place a bomb in it). They are super strict on security rules anywhere here. When you take the metro, your bag goes through a scanner and every person goes through a detector. Something they might consider in Europe as well with all those terrorist attacks going on everywhere lately.. Anyway, the temple was very beautiful. It was made out of pink sandstone, and italian marble. It was super detailed. Inside there's a golden statue of the yogi this temple was dedicated to.
After this, we drove through New Delhi. What a difference! The traffic in Delhi is absolutely crazy. Nobody follows any rules, they take over both left and right.
Then there's cows, dogs, rickshaws, entire families on scooters, beggars knocking on the window every time you stand still and I could go on and on. And the honking, it NEVER stops! So when we drove into New Delhi I was in shock. There were police officers on every roundabout. Everybody followed the traffic rules, the lines on the roads were actually visible, there was no honking and the only animals I saw were monkey's. This is the district where all the embassies are based as well as the parliament building. It's also the place where you can find the India Gate. We got out to walk around a bit. There were stands with food close to the gate. We ate pineapple with salt and other spices. It never occurred to me to put salt on fruits, but I had watermelon with salt before in Surat and it actually tastes really good!
Then we drove to Old Town, where traffic was even more crazy then anywhere I'd been so far. You really have to be careful where you walk because you could step into cow-, dog- or even human shit. I'm not kidding! There's rubbish everywhere. We wanted to
visit the Red Fort, but I had to pay a lot as a foreigner to enter, so we just took a few pictures from the outside and went away. We walked to the famous Wali Gali street, where they sell Paranthe (fried bread with vegetarian fillings) They were really delicious! Rohit told me that this area is apart from Paranthe also famous for shopping for wedding dresses. Almost every shop we passed had people inside trying on dresses. I saw often men accompanying the bride, so I told Rohit that in the Netherlands the bride usually only takes other women with her to buy a wedding dress. He then replied that here the tradition is that the uncle of the bride pays for the dress. The shopping is very different as well. It's basically a small room with pillows on the floor. The salesman pulls out dresses from the shelves to show the buyers. The shelves are covering the wall from the bottom to the top. I think they don't have a stockroom and that everything they have is in that same room. It was really interesting to see.
After eating our Paranthe, we went back to his apartment
to pack. That same evening we would take the night bus to Rishikesh. I'll make a seperate blog for that.
We came back the 12th in the evening and I went straight to the airport to catch my plane to Bangkok.
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