Monday, February 04, 2008

A Lucknow Wedding

A Sindhi gem-trader based in Bangkok marries a Thai girl. In Thai style. Stylish, tranquil, very Buddhist.

They then come to Lucknow, where the boy's family lives, to repeat the rituals in a gurdwara. The priest, meanwhile, has forgotten to brief his folks that a pink turban is a must. So, everyone waits while three people dash off to find a long, pink satin cloth from which a turban will be made. The girl's two sisters accompanying her (two of 10 other siblings, mind it) are aghast and amused but maintain a straight face.

Many Sindhis have descended from Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune... all hosted in a hotel where 'running hot water' refers to housekeeping staff scampering floors with buckets of warm water; breakfasts, lunches and dinners are occasions to catch up, to meet cousins for the first time, to discover that a cult brand 0f t-shirts is owned by a nephew in Colaba who I've never met...old uncles are bonded with, babies drooled over, gossip is encouraged and mirth flows over some rather horrid paan, guitar strumming happens over a bonfire and presents are exchanged while unpleasantries are whispered.

Free time is spent rediscovering my mother's old school and home, the grand old Imambara and the bylanes of old Lucknow where bangles, saunf, munchies and mojris are bought.

Along with, if you please, red chillies by the arty brother in the khaandan.

Wonder what the poor bride had to say - she went from a red silk sari to a stunning white satin gown admirably. Her palate, however, has probably been laid numb by the curries and chaats that were omnipresent.

All in all, a hectic, crowded two days of socialising but a great way to escape from this mad world of work.

Pity, there aren't any more weddings coming up. But Ms Nair should consider a sequel...

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