India (Vadodara)

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After a very brief overnight we hopped a flight south to Vadodara (a name that looks simple but has made every Indian we’ve met laugh when they hear us try to pronounce it). We were there for Ankesh’s wedding (a friend of Greg’s from RPI). First of all a huge thank you to Ankesh, his now wife, Richa, and both of their families for all of their hospitality. Everyone we met was so wonderful and did such a good job making us feel welcome and helped us to at least sort of understand what was going on. So much happened that this is another post where I think I’ll only be able to capture the highlights and even then not completely.

We were met at the airport by one of Ankesh’s relatives. He was wonderful and explained a bit of what we could expect from the next few days while we were en route to the hotel. Once there we met up with Ankesh who helped to fill in the rest of the timeline and explain that the first event would be happening in just a few hours there at the hotel.

After a lovely lunch, where we got to meet some more of Ankesh’s family, a couple of his cousins and their daughters took us to a local store to rent traditional Indian wear for that evening. They helped us both pick out outfits and I had fun with the girls as they laughed at me trying to figure out how to wear the Sari (luckily they helped me get ready again that evening, too).


The event that evening involved both families getting together to exchange gifts and then enjoy dance routines that they had prepared. Despite some serious encouragement Greg and I convinced them that they really, really didn’t want to see an impromptu one from us.


The next day we spent hanging out at the hotel again with a great lunch and some time spent getting to know some more of Ankesh’s family and friends. At 5PM or so we all gathered in the lobby of the hotel to watch the beginning of the Baraat where Ankesh and his youngest cousin rode a white horse while we processed through the streets leading the way in front of them. This was easily one of the highlights for us as, despite the heat, the energy of the music and the crowd was incredible. After a couple of hours we arrived to where Richa and her family had been waiting. The venue was gorgeous and we had a good time just getting to relax a bit, eat, and chat with some of the people we’d been hanging out with for the last couple of days.



By 11PM or so most of the guests had left (which we didn’t really realize was happening and so feel terrible that we didn’t get to say proper goodbyes to some), but the final wedding ceremony wasn’t set to begin until 1:30AM. We were told that this was because of the auspiciousness of this time and wanting to have it later in the day because of the heat. Although we had to leave soon after to catch our train to Mumbai we did manage (along with only 20 or so other guests) to see at least the start of the ceremony. Ankesh told us that this part of the process would last for two hours or so and then he and Richa would have to stay awake for another four hours to make sure the flame they were watching didn’t go out (and then make it through more events the following day).

Another thank you to Anshul (Ankesh’s cousin who we spent a good amount of time with and who was also taking the train to Mumbai) for helping us find our way. We boarded the train still smiling, exhausted and wondering how it was possible that Ankesh and Richa could still be awake. Best wishes to the new couple and we can’t wait to be able to see them again in the US.

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This page contains a single entry by Kat published on June 6, 2013 4:01 AM.

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