Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Part 2 - Behind the Lines: Imbedded in an Indian Wedding

As the still Lucknow evening unfolded, I was only partially comforted by the saying, ‘life is not a destination, but a journey’. There were moments on our way to wedding; phase three when it appeared my destination could be the premature ending of the journey – badly.
There were two reasons for this. The first was the traffic. Despite a glance in any direction at any given moment that would have alarm bells ringing, I never once felt a tragic road accident in Lucknow would befall me. Making our way through its litany of main roads, roundabouts, laneways and dirt tracks, there was evidence that flew in the face of such confidence. These included the volume and array of vehicles, people and animals near, beside, behind and unseen for almost the entire one or more hour journey. Yet, somehow, I trust the phenomenal skills, patience, awareness and experience of every person (and animal) that enters a roadway of any description each day. Most survive unscathed.
The second was starting out at 6.30pm and not arriving until after 10.00, via two other venues. This made me think life and phase three Indian weddings were, in fact, endless journeys.

Once we had passed the colossal framework of the soon to be ‘Hi-Tech Townships’ as these towers stood like haunting sentinels in the darkness, we immediately turned left into a dusty, bumpy dirt road. Fortunately it led to the grounds of the ‘Black Dog: Life is worth the wait; life is in the pause, Genesis Club.’ Whatever and wherever, this was about to finally unfold and I sensed the wait was  going to have proved worthwhile.
One reason for such a delay was coordinating the convoy of the many family guests who attended phase two – our team (of the bride to be). Once we had assembled we were armed with gifts to take in. The instruction was given and we moved forward through the ‘tunnel of trust’; a one hundred or so metre tented corridor festooned with vertical lines of light. For awaiting us on the other side was Team Groom and they were amassed in their many hundreds.

We had to arrive at once to show greatest respect and make the greatest impact and place our gifts in the designated area at the same time. At one point in India’s history, we may have borne gold, goats or swords. We instead would woo them with sweets.

If I had thought phase two was as glam as it gets (and I did), that tunnel of trust had actually come out on another planet; ‘Planet Indian Pre-Wedding Phase Three’. This place was so vast, so audaciously lit, so well set up and so generously catered, I feel sure it could have be seen from the moon despite the colour being almost exclusively blue.
We were in strutter’s paradise. But all class. This was about laying it on the line to prove both families were worthy of each other. I don’t think any member of either team presented as anything but civilised, friendly and eminently worthy. The ‘whitie’ from Team Bride was a possible weak link as he wore the same suit, though a tie and different shirt than during his phase 2, well… phase!

There were subtle and time honoured protocols that only a full Ph.D. in such matters would come close to deciphering. There were photo opportunities for all relations with the bride to be, with the groom to be, then together. More small ceremonies and greetings and then… the dancing again.
Both teams were there for the bonding boogie and no one left disappointed, most at about 2.00am! Tomorrow I will be attending the wedding bit – the actual ceremony. Apparently it’s huge…


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