Lucknow Part 15 – The wedding

This place is part of the old market; I noticed the name Noor market on one of the boards. There are plenty of shops lining the streets and even though it was really hot at 2pm, there were still huge crowds thronging the place. We were hungry and tired and we really didn’t know where we’d be able to get a ride to the other side of the city. We finally reached the main road (or what seemed like the main road) but even that was crowded. Walking further ahead we reached a junction where the crowd thinned out.

There were a few stationary autos and we asked them how much they’d charge to take us back to our hotel. They quoted a crazy fare saying they’d have to drop us and return empty handed. We tried our luck with Uber and Ola on a couple of phones – it took us a while but we finally got a couple of cabs. The fare turned out to be a lot lower than what the auto drivers quoted. Rather than head back to the hotel we headed to another restaurant that was close to our neighborhood – a friend had visited this restaurant earlier with his wife and they said the kebabs here were really good.

So it wasn’t the original Tunde kebab that we dined at but a restaurant which claimed to have been started by the grandson – it was called Grandson’s Tunday Kebab! Maybe there are many such restaurants in Lucknow claiming to be related to the original one – this one was located on the first floor; small space but it had indoor seating and they said they were still serving lunch. We tried all the variations in kebabs (galouti, shami, seekh, boti) that they had as well as their paratha and rumali roti – I am not a fan of mutton but even those kebabs were so well cooked that it didn’t feel rubbery. Similar to what happened at Chappan Bhog the waiter here also after three rounds of ordering, thought we were ordering more dishes for takeaways! I was still conscious while eating – didn’t want to stress my stomach but I did try everything; just that on a normal day I would have done a few more rounds of this delicious food!

A walk would have taken us a while so we hopped into an auto. As we neared the traffic circle close to our hotel, the auto engine was struggling and making weird noises – exact same situation like that in the old market place; we were on the verge of moving backwards. Fortunately the driver managed to get it past the upslope and we reached our hotel.

Heading to the wedding place

By 7pm we cleared our hotel room and headed to the marriage place. We went in multiple vehicles but I don’t know if the experience in the other vehicles with regard to honking was any different – the driver would honk when the road was clear ahead of him, he would honk when traffic was at a standstill and he would even honk while all the vehicles were moving. It was almost like for every few seconds the driver was programmed to honk irrespective of the situation on the road. We were thankful when we reached our destination. I as well as our gang leader had another marriage invitation in the city – we thought we could spend a couple of hours here and then head to the other one but after seeing the slow moving traffic and the distance between the two places we decided to opt out of the other one; and since I wasn’t feeling normal, I wasn’t keen on attempting a long ride either.

I had never been to a North Indian wedding and this particular wedding as per the bridegroom would not be considered a lavish wedding. I found it hard to imagine what a more lavish one would be like! The place for the wedding looked grand like a palace! There was a red carpet down the middle leading to the main building and on either side of the lawn there were a row of food stalls. We went up to the first floor of the building and dropped off our luggage in a room. And from the top we had a great view of the entrance and folks did photo shoots.

Everyone who was present in the venue was dressed splendidly except for me and a few others from our gang who were in casual western attire! Everyone’s dress literally dazzled – lots of colours on display and you could sense the richness of their attire. One of the relatives from the groom’s side told us, “Many people use these dresses only when attending a marriage.”

Each food stall served a different set of items and all the food was freshly cooked. We had variety from the typical North Indian chaat items to the South Indian dosa to even some continental with sandwiches, mocktails and noodles. The stalls serving the main course (which lined the left side of the lawn) hadn’t yet started functioning – the right side was dedicated for starters! We went as a gang and just like we did in Chappan Bhog, we would get two or three plates of a dish and share it amongst ourselves. We went from one stall to the next following the same routine.

And if you thought this wasn’t sufficient starters, for those who are really close to the family there was a special arrangement of snacks and tea outside the premise. We were also invited to join the family and treated to some food there. That also happened to be the place where the song and dance started. One vehicle had a loud speaker on which Hindi songs played and another vehicle carried the groom. People started joining the crowd and the procession moved extremely slowly – it probably took an hour or 90 minutes for the gathering to make their way to the main entrance. All through the way we had the dancing – there are a few who would join the dance for a short while and drop out while a few enthusiasts danced all through the way. There is an unbelievable amount of energy on display; even the elderly join in eagerly to shake a leg.

Since our gang had come from South India to attend the wedding, there was a song played just for us as well!

Entering the venue with the crowd
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