You didn't think I was finished telling you about that Indian wedding I went to earlier this summer, did you? If you've missed it, I've already talked about some of the pre-wedding festivities, the pre-ceremony photo session and limo ride and the ceremony. I can't not tell you about the rest. Especially since I haven't even made it to the part about the knock-out princess day 2 westernized bridal gown Disney only wishes it had designed.
But before I get to Day 2 and all of its fabulousness, I need to finish telling you about Day 1 of the festivities because the day did not end with the post-ceremony luncheon. After a surreal bus ride through the agricultural fields of northern California, which my seat companion noted bore a striking resemblance to India, we arrived at the hotel for some more lingering and waiting.
I was told there would be more photos and although it wasn't entirely clear, I thought maybe I was supposed to be in some of them so I couldn't change. I had also been invited to the dinner hosted by the groom's family that evening but I could feel my energy waning. After eating a few sweet snacks in a tea room on the second level of the hotel and failing to hold up my end of the conversation with a bridesmaid out of sheer fatigue, we spotted the bride and groom wandering in the gardens across the street. The two bridesmaids and I trudged our way across the street to see if we were needed and discovered a slightly more relaxed couple than we had left in the blistering sun a short time earlier outside the temple. After a few more photos, we all returned to the hotel and managed to talk the bride into sitting down for a quick drink in the lobby bar while we waited for the next event which required the groom's family who hadn't yet arrived.
Unfortunately, the waitress refused to get the bride a drink quickly as instructed and we had to rush back upstairs for another ceremony.
I wish I knew a little bit more of the official description or title of this ceremony but google is failing me and I do not recall the name. But unofficially, this is what I observed. Since the bride's family was temporarily residing in the hotel, the landing at the top of the stairs above the lobby stood proxy for the bride's familial home. A ribbon was tied across the entry blocking the groom from entering the bride's "home." Her sisters, aunts, cousins and mother were the gatekeepers as Raj and his family approached the faux threshold.
Initially, Raj attempted to bribe his way into the home with money and really hammed it up with some witty comments about his bride's worth. The women blocking his entry required more and more money from the groom as they praised her beauty and extolled her virtues. I stood near Ruby as she beamed at the spectacle until she told me she wanted him to do push-ups. I had no idea what my role in this thing should be but I passed the message along to her sisters and before we knew it, Raj was on the floor doing push-ups to access his bride. More dares were issued, one of which resulted in a (um, not so great) rendition of a song about San Francisco. I think.
Finally, after the bride's mother felt sorry for him under all that harrassment, the sisters handed the groom a pair of be-ribboned scissors which allowed him to cut the ribbon barring his entrance and he was welcomed into the "home" and everyone squeezed their way into a small conference room for yet another ceremony.
By this point, the stress and lack of sleep that led up to my very minor role in the day's events was catching up to me. I had eaten very little, slept even less and it was a struggle for me to remain polite, let alone coherent when asked any questions. While I really wanted to soldier on and finish the night out at the family dinner, I knew I just didn't have the stamina to get on the bus and drive 45 minutes, participate in a rambunctious party and wait for the bus to return. I knew the 10 pm estimated return would not prove to be accurate. I learned two broad generalizations about Indians that weekend: 1) nothing ever happens anywhere near the time it is supposed to; and 2) wow, Indians have an unbelievable amount of stamina to attend ceremony after ceremony after ceremony and party afterwards without waivering. I come from low-energy people who can sit on cozy couches in sweats and talk into the wee hours of the morning but find it difficult to stay out in a stimulating environment much past 10 pm.
So, I opted out of the evening's festivities and instead changed into something less beaded and met up with my friends for dinner. It was only about 7 or 8 pm but to me it might as well have been long past midnight. We ate some pretty good Chinese at a recommended Sacramento staple and I grunted responses, shoveled in food and used every ounce of energy I had left to keep from drifting off to sleep mid-meal.
I turned down the invitation to walk to the river and instead returned to my hotel and promptly went to sleep, hoping to rest enough to be able to keep up with the Indians at the reception the next night.