Lucknow Part 16 – The final hours

There are a few small ceremonies that happened before the main course stalls opened at around 9:30pm. The bridegroom was carried by the crowd to a makeshift stage on the lawn. The bride climbed the stage from one side and the bridegroom climbed it from the opposite side; both of them with garlands in hand. Just as they were about to put the garland on the other person they were in for a shock and so were the spectators when fireworks went off!

Coming to the food – it was like everything that you can think of as being part of North Indian cuisine could be found here – from main course to sweets. There was also a stall where they made fresh hot badam milk – one of my favourite items but i had to be watchful because of my stomach!
From 10pm to about 11pm or so was reception time with everyone clicking snaps with the couple. Luckily for the couple, the hall was air conditioned and for most part of the reception they could sit. In most weddings down South the couple would have to prostrate often when elderly relatives came to the stage – and that itself would be quite a workout. But even without that workout the bridegroom was still sweating!

When people came to know that there were 16 of us who had come all the way from down south to attend the marriage, they were quite surprised.
You’d think that the festivities were over since it was nearly midnight but that’s the time when the couple and their families had dinner together in the lawn. The temperatures do dip a lot at night and I could certainly feel the chill but the couple were sweating profusely. The main marriage ceremony was yet to start!

Not many people stay on for that except close relatives; and after having such a feast it is hard for anyone to stay awake as well! Our gang was given a room on the first floor; the ceremonies with the priest presiding over them also happened on the first floor – the couple were seated in the center while the rest of the family sat a few feet away from them on the floor on cushions while using the walls as back support. The tiled floor was really chill but Rohan and I would step out of our room once in a while to watch the proceedings where we’d sit directly on the floor. There were people who asked us to use the cushion but we said that we were fine – it was crazy of us to be sitting on the floor but there’s something that runs in your head at times where you want to endure through the challenge – I can understand if this were a sport where you keep pushing yourself to play another game and yet another game but here every time someone asked us to use the cushion, we seemed to be more determined to test ourselves; just part of the crazy illogical things we do sometimes! We had a couple of good conversations with a few people and one of them was a basketball coach.

Few folks in our gang caught a nap while a few of us decided to chat through the night – it was after all the last night before we’d be back to our office routines and so we wanted to make the best use of the last few hours.
The conversation drifted into Shaktimaan – an Indian superhero of yesteryear whom I had heard about and seen in papers but had never watched an episode of.
“There was once that Shaktimaan was trapped inside a computer by the bad guy. Guess how did he escape?”
“His assistant printed him out.”
That really is true; there was an episode with this. We all had a good laugh over it – but with the target audience for Shaktimaan being kids and him dealing with computers 20 years or so ago, the episode probably was impressive for the times.

On the return journey while waiting in the airport, we made fun of Manoj who all through the trip kept claiming that he was reading a ‘Chinese fantasy novel’.

And that wrapped up our whirlwind trip to 3 cities in 3 days and witnessing a grand marriage. When you think about it, you realize that the families really put in a lot of time, effort and money to ensure the marriage is staged at a grand scale – truly makes it a once in a lifetime event for the couple. And for those who attend it – there is dance, music, meeting people and awesome food.

(Note: The clip of Shaktimaan stuck in a computer you can find on youtube)

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