Well, nothing takes it out of you like an Indian wedding. A relative of Matthew and Jeeva’s was married yesterday, and we were invited to attend.
Challenge 1: Getting there. The wedding was taking place in Tiripur, about an hour’s train ride northeast of Coimbatore. We (the BYU students and twelve-year-old Edwin) left Chavadi by bus around 7:30 on Sunday night, and reached the train station around 8:15. Unfortunately this is the last week of summer vacation for India’s schools, so a lot of other people were traveling that night and we weren’t able to get on a train till 10:15. We were fortunate enough to get a seat but there were a lot of other passengers who wanted to get on that train, too. I really don’t know how to describe how full our car was by the time we pulled out of the station, but let’s just say there were almost as many riding on the luggage racks as in actual seats.
Challenge 2: Sleeping. The bride’s family, who hosted us, generously gave us a room to sleep in that night. They gave us each a pillow to use, and even spread soft blankets over our bedmats for us to lay on. With as late as we came in, though, we didn’t get to bed until nearly 1:00 am, but were instructed that we would be leaving for the Hindu temple at 5:00 in the morning and would need to be ready by then. We actually didn’t wake up until 4:45, and actually didn’t leave the house until about 6:00, but you don’t have to be a sleep doctor to know that we did not get enough sleep that night.
Challenge 3: Patience, patience, patience. Like a lot of things in India, attending a marriage involves a lot of sitting and waiting. We sat and waited for the marriage ceremony. We sat and waited after the marriage ceremony. We sat and waited before and after breakfast. We sat and waited until lunch. It really is a fun time to watch people and see them interacting, and to meet some people ourselves as well; however, it’s hard not knowing very many people, and not knowing the language that most everyone is speaking around you. Especially for hours and hours on end. Especially when you’re tired.
Sum up. Really, it was a great event. Probably the most enjoyable wedding I’ve attended in India. Our hosts were incredibly generous towards us. The bride and groom seemed genuinely happy to be marrying each other, a feeling that isn’t always apparent (though often present!) in Indian weddings from an American perspective. It was fun for the ladies to get dressed up in fancy saris. The food was wonderful.
To be honest, though, there’s a part of me kind of me dreading the next wedding invitation.