Monday, January 12th, 2009...7:37 am

Wedding Recap & Final Thoughts (India Post)

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I’ve been home for a few days now and I’m just getting back into the swing of things. Actually, I’m sure the “swing of things” will smack me in the face as soon as I step back into the office this morning. It’s nice to be back stateside. Enjoying the luxuries of our first world country helps put some of the stuff I’ve experienced into even better perspective. A bunch of people have asked me about the actual wedding so I wanted to jot down some final thoughts and memories before they escape.

The Wedding
Every night from Sunday, December 27th through Saturday, January 3rd there was a huge wedding event and celebration. Some of these parties were more traditional Indian affairs and some really were just huge parties. Regardless, I went all out every night so it seems as though it all blended together in one big spring break like party week/wedding celebration. I would put Hip Hop Night, New Year’s Eve celebration and Punjabi night in this “huge party” category. On Punjabi night, the theme was “Singh Is King” which is currently a hugely popular Bollywood movie and also happens to be Param’s last name. To help celebrate, Param had some of the most popular Bollywood singer’s perform including Mika Singh. Here is a video of Mika performing on stage. They must have played his hit song “Singh Is King” at least a half dozen times and I went wild each time the anthem was played.


The coolest part of the actually wedding ceremony was the Baraat, which is the marriage procession. According to Wikipedia, “it is customary for the bridegroom to travel to the bride’s house on a horse, accompanied by his family members. This often becomes a huge procession, with its own band, dancers, and budget. The groom and his horse are covered in finery and do not usually take part in the dancing and singing; that is left to the “baraatis” or people accompanying the procession. The term “baraati” is also used to describe any invitee from the groom’s side. Traditionally, baraatis are pampered extensively by the bride’s family.”

I was most certainly a baraati. First, all the guest had turban’s tied before the ceremony began. This was really the only time non-sikh’s wore turbans during the wedding. All of Param’s friends and family set up about one half mile away from the wedding. Param, in traditional Indian garb with the coolest looking sword I’ve ever seen, mounted a white horse. A full on military marching band led the charge as everyone proceeded to march, dance and sing our way to the party. Wedding guests (especially the older dudes) were “making it rain” with wads of 10 rupee bills (about 20 cents) and servants and band members would rush to collect the bills. Fireworks went off and the energy was unbelievable. It felt like we were on our way to the Big House for a night game against Ohio State! Here are a few videos that don’t do it justice but give you some idea. Check out the action


The actual wedding ceremony, called the Anand Karaj, was the next morning. It was short (less than an hour) and all the guests sat on mats with napkins to cover their heads at the Sikh temple that was at the farmhouse hotel. A minister/guru was presiding over the wedding and text was read from the Sikh holy book. Afterwards, there was a big brunch that was joyous but a bit more muted then the nighttime parties.


I’m leaving out a ton of other cool stuff like the Mendi where girls get henna tattoos. It was hard to keep up of everything that was happening throughout the eventful week!

Other stuff

  • The food was delicious. If you’re a fan of Indian food let me know as I’m down to hit up some Indian restaurants in the city. If you’re not you should give it a try. Indian food is often called the “national dish of England” because it is so popular in the UK. Each night at the wedding they had an amazing buffet (video link) that was probably one hundred yards long. I also had the chance to eat at some great restaurants in both Delhi and Mumbai.
  • It’s necessary to be super cautious when eating the food and to not drink the water. “Delhi Belly” is a common parasite that plagues tourists. Luckily, most of the people I was with were able to avoid the dreaded food poisioning. From what I hear it is one of the most intense, horrific cases of food poisoning imaginable and can ruin your trip. Obviously, it pays to be super careful and there were a ton of “rules” I followed as precaution like staying away from prawns, making sure the servers didn’t touch food with their hands, not eating street food and only drinking bottled water. Still, I consider myself pretty lucky and throughout the trip it was probably my biggest concern or fear.
  • Indian shopkeepers love to bargain. It’s considered part of the whole shopping experience and they fully expect you to partake in high-stakes negotiations. They are super sharp so if your not on your game they’ll get the better of you. Here is an entertaining tape of Matt bargaining on price for some shawls and scarfs. Matt tends to develop this fake hindi accent when talking to Indians and it’s pretty damn freaky. Here’s the blow by blow video.

  • I’m pretty sure traveling is one of my favorite things to do in the world. This is the third amazing trip I’ve had since I traveled through Australia in college. I’m not sure if they were “life-changing”, as that’s kind of deep, but they have all been extraordinarily enjoyable. It’s seems hard for me to not have an amazing time when I have complete freedom, little responsibility, a new adventure everyday and I get to see parts of the world and people that I never before experienced. I am also able to travel with such a positive state of mind. It seems like nothing can get me down because I refuse to let it. Even my 30 hour trip back to the US was no sweat. I hope I make it a priority to continue to travel throughout my life.
  • It was very cool to be in Param’s world, with Param’s closest friends and family, for a few weeks and to spend quality time with a bunch of people from the office. Most of the people in our office are young, smart, motivated and actually pretty cool. Perhaps I might even be embarassed by some of my behavior if it wasn’t for Vin stealing the spotlight with his escapades and antics! For some reason, I usually keep my distance from them as I really seem to separate work and life in my mind. Both Matt and Gavin were amazed how different I am out of the office. I’m thinking and hoping that was a compliment.
  • Here is the link to all 18 videos that I’ve uploaded. Most of them have been embedded within the blog posts but if you read these posts through email or don’t click through to the site you may have missed them. They are all about 30 seconds or less and some are pretty entertaining and really give you a feel for what stuff was like.

    Blog Thoughts
    It amazes me how closely you all read my posts and followed along on my trip. Often, some of you will mention a post or two in general terms but for these India articles lots of people brought up specific stories or ideas that were buried within a post or video and it’s awesome that people so thoroughly enjoyed reading about the trip. I blogged way more than I thought I was going to and it definitely was time-consuming. The encouragement made it worthwhile and kept me writing even when it started to seem like work a bit. I received so many short notes that just said “this is great keep on writing”. So some of thanks for all these posts go to you guys including Blake, Hillman, Troy, Biz, Neal Bones, Saginaw Bob, Texas Dick, Rosen, Lil’ homeowner, Wolky (great johnny text!), Vant, Weiner, Titanium, Parsa, Mr. Weino (fyi, they didn’t have funnels!), my family and everyone else. It will be cool that I’ll be able to read these posts years from now and jump right back into the moment.

    I’m thinking I might take a break from blogging for awhile (maybe the rest of the month). As I mentioned, at times it has started to feel like work and that I HAD to write. I’m kind of scared of this feeling. Blogging is one of the most relaxing, non-work parts of my week and I’m afraid I might enjoy it less if I feel more obligated to post. In addition, there’s a bunch of things I want to focus on in the first part of ’09 and I might dedicated some of my blogging time to working on these projects. We’ll see how easy or hard it is to not blog. I have a feeling I won’t be away for that long and there’s a good chance that I’ll switch direction and throw something back up here as soon as I get back into work mode. But for now, it’s Namaste (basically that is the only hindi word I know!)