Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A Real Indian Wedding- Aakash and Sruthi's day in Chennai

On arrival at Chennai a little happy face of Aakash was beaming through the windows of the arrival hall wearing a " Love is in the air T Shirt we had finally arrived. There was so many weddings going on the "The Wedding District" that it took us three attempt to find the correct venue.and that was with the groom in the car with us.....tucked away down a busy lane was the wedding hall. with a grand entrance all decorated with flowers, Aakash and Sruthi names on the entrance flagged with Banana trees. once inside it was a massive 2 story hall with a stage at the end equally decorated with masses of flowers

Upstairs the restaurant, about 20 people ( sitting on the floor) busy preparing the food, masses and masses of vegetables. being chopped and diced , 1000 guests being expected for this evening.

The 3 men strong band, sitting on the floor played all evening very loud, lots of drumming and weird sounds from unfamiliar instruments .

Not having a programme / itinerary it was a little confusing to try to follow the proceedings, but we understood that both families ( ex bride and groom) go on the stage, a lot of talking takes place then the grooms family had over gifts including a blue sari to the brides family- which is taken to the bride to wear.
 The bride appears in the blue sari for a short time before changing again into another beautiful red sari and lots of jewellery and joins the groom on the stage, they adorn each other with flower garlands and the giving of rings takes place. with more chattering. Then its photo time this is unbelievable,  all the guests want to be photographed with the B&G, no persuasion necessary they line patiently and willingly  to have there photograph with the bride and groom
and this lasts for hours. literally about 3 -4 in the meantime the restaurant is open and you can just go and eat as much as you wish.

The meal is a traditional Indian balanced meal of 6 items served on a banana leaf, eaten with the hands, finding this a little awkward the grooms father found us 2 spoons. this attracted an audience of guests nudges each others and tittering as they looked our way. being the only Europeans at the wedding we did attract a lot of attention.but the family greeted us warmly.and with their broken English we did manage to converse with quite a number of guests.

The reception concluded around  10pm ,
The next day the wedding day starts at 8am
how much better could the wedding day be...........

Day 2 To start the day  a ceremony takes place at the local Temple a procession of B&G, immediate family and us to the nearby temple ( 8.15) lead by the  band where a small ceremony.blessing takes place , all the statues got a garland. salvers of food, flowers and charms got blessed.- with us all standing bare foot on the earth. we returned to the hall in procession ( now with dirty feet)

The stage now has various members of the families present and 4 priest  chanting in Sanskrit over a small fire.

When the B ( gold sari ) &G( in an ivory number) join them, they are once again decked with garlands ,and kneel at the fire, The ceremony is quite long. I think it was Aakashs father who got his feet washed( lucky him mine are filthy) The hall was quiet only when the vows where spoken.

finally they parade around the fire on and off the stage and are showered with petals and the yellow rice (which having held for 2 hours in our sweaty hands has now stained our hands yellow). then low and behold the photographs start again.
The wedding ended around lunchtime. 

Overall it was an experience I would not have missed and gave us the excuse we needed to return to India and enjoy  this incredible country.

Our congratulations to Aakash and Sruthi, they make a lovely couple and we wish them  a wonderful life together, . Please keep in touch- Mike and Caroline