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Mumbai Marriage Marathons…

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Beware un-married couples in India! If you are caught sauntering along hand in hand or ‘Gasp!’ smooching your guy or gal in public… you just might be hauled off to the nearest temple to get wed!

India’s morality police decreed that couples celebrating Valentines Day with PDA (public displays of affection) should have their romance result in marriage (and preferably producing 4 Hindu babies!)

Such shotgun shadis would certainly avoid all the fuss, fan fare and expense that are typical of Indian weddings.

Given the marathon of marriages of the last few months, that might not be a bad thing (I’m joking ok?).

However it is true that winter is the season for weddings in India. And like long-distance runners, we had to pace ourselves.

For you see…. most Indian weddings are not merely show up for the ceremony and reception… no no no my friend! They are multi-day, multi-event, multi-outfit extravaganzas!

In many cases, the celebrations are not just confined to one location either – nope! They can start with a 4-day ‘destination’ wedding followed by lavish receptions in the city where the happy couple live (or one set of parents do!).

Delightful Delhi Destination Wedding Weekend

It kicked off with a wonderful weekend wedding in Delhi – such a brilliant Bollywood affair deserves its own post!

Beautiful bollywood bash!

Delhi teaser…

Double trouble!

This was followed by a double-hitter – two different receptions in one evening! First up was an ex-colleague’s son’s wedding…. Note my outfit 2nd to right… you will see it again.. and again.. and again! Shameless of me, eh?

Marriage Marathon - Colleague's son

Followed by a family friend’s son’s wedding reception. In both cases we skipped the full multi-day destination weddings to join only the city event.
Marriage Marathon - Family friend's son

Thankfully I was behind the camera for the above pic!

Proud Parsi

Next up was a Parsi celebration with the grandkids of my partners old family friends getting hitched. Like many weddings, folks from around the globe joined the celebrations with drinking, dancing and feasting.

Parsi Wedding 3 generations of friendship

Old friends – My partner’s mother and the groom’s grandmother

Parsi Wedding - Happy couple shutterbug

The happy couple between two of the many well wishers

Parsi Wedding Family Friends

When a boss becomes friend and then like family!

One thing everyone looks forward to with a Parsi wedding is the food! There were at least 4 sittings at this one where each guest is served a feast of bhonu on a banana leaf.

Parsi Wedding Feast

Parsi wedding feast!

And while outdoor venues are required to shut off the music at 10pm, that just triggers pulling out guitars so the merriment continues in a quieter way!

Let the acoustic music begin!

Let the acoustic music begin!

Japanese fan dance

Japanese fan dance

International affair to remember

One of my favourites was a reception for a friend’s wedding.

For once, it was a couple from ‘our’ not the next (or next to next) generation! In this case, the couple live between Tokyo and New York with frequent stops in Mumbai. Unfortunately we could not join the original ceremony in Japan so appreciate all the more when a little of Japan and the US came to us.

Highlights:

  • American folks singer
  • Japanese fan dance
  • More Parsi bhonu

Big fat Indian wedding!

Then we entered into the territory of the BIG FAT INDIAN wedding! Functions spread over multiple days… engagement, mehndi raat then the shadi!

Day 1 – Engagement…

Smith clan...

Smith clan…

Engagement Dance Show

Engagement Dance Show

Day 2 – Mehndi raat…

Punjabi Guju Jain Shadi - Mehndi

Mehndi…

Bride showing off her Mehndi

Bride showing off her Mehndi

Yes... the bride really is more than 6'

Us with the bride… And yes, she really is over 6′

Day 3 – The wedding…

Mandap by the sea

Mandap by the sea

Punjabi Guju Jain Bharat

Punjabi Guju Jain Bharat

Punjabi Guju Jain Shadi Ceremony

Shadi Puja

The most amusing thing was the careful segregation between the Jain wedding reception which was pure veg no alcohol… and the nefarious activities taking place behind closed doors where only non-veg and intoxicants were permitted for the Punjabi side and others!

Naturally this section was labelled the ‘Smith Xmas’ party as it was Christmas eve and conveniently the Smith clan could be forgiven for their Christian revelry… In India there are always ways around rules!

Partner + I at one of the many Mumbai marriages, Dec 2014

Partner + I, Dec 2014

What is also funny is speculation ran rampant about our marital status in response to this pic! Shhhh – Better not alert the morality police!!

This marathon carried on with many more marriages – each with distinctive characters reflecting the varied cultures of the happy couples and their families.

As for me? I’m sufficiently confident that we have finally surfaced from the season that I sent my outfits for dry-cleaning!

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14 Comments

  1. Karolyn Cooper says:

    Explain that again about the “Smith Xmas” section? A separate room at the same function for meat-eaters and beer-drinkers? Brilliant.

    • Good idea, eh? And yes – the hotel staff decorated the entrance this separate room with its adjoining terrace for the smokers too in Christmassy colours with a sign saying ‘Smith Xmas’ party.

      Helped that we not only had the matriarch but also my partner’s sister from Canada and her hubby, brother from Dubai and his wife, sundry cousins and more kicking around. 🙂

  2. Best thing about weddings is always the food! The rest depends on the people attending…but usally I really only focus on eating and pretending to have my mind on social conversations while I secretly plan on how to attack the next dish…

  3. The mehndi is so beautiful. It must take a long time to complete the actual design. I am always amazed by the amount of detail and effort that goes into it. How long does it actually take?

    • Depends on how elaborate and the skill of the mehndi artist. Some can do incredibly complex work in a half hour, others the same time would be needed for a simple design. The bride usually has more than one artist as the mehndi is all the way up the arms and also feet – usually takes an hour or so. The work I had done was completed in 10 mins as I just wanted something simple!

  4. restlessjo says:

    I’m a bit of a sucker for a wedding and I have to confess to longing to attend a full-on henna’d hands Indian wedding, but maybe just one would suffice? 🙂

  5. Wow, I can’t imagine the logistics involved with so many people attending so many functions over the span of days. I guess with all of the combined effort, it would amount to a culmination of partying and festivities I probably wouldn’t want to miss out on (the first time at least)!

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