This thanksgiving, the chosen vacation destination was Los Angeles. An undergrad friend's wedding at the Malibu Temple was the occassion.
Some highlights about the wedding:
- The wangled invitation which arrived about two months ago threw me into a fit of excitement - aiii, at long last, a chance to show off my saree :-D! I finished the accessory shopping immediately - I doubt even the bride was that prompt - heheheh! I later found that pretty much all the women folk had reacted with the same glee at the opportunity to show off desi clothes :-)!
- The wedding was one of the most fun ones I have ever been to. The crowd had a higher percentage of friends than relatives. The friends took the liberty of yelling out their observations right during the ceremony and the bride and groom reacted in real time :-). The entire atmosphere was relaxed and happy.
- The priest was a white guy complete with kudumi et al :-D. He chanted all the mantras in heavily accented Sanskrit followed by English translations. He conducted the ceremony pretty well.
- The wedding food was - WOW! Just like wedding food back in India. I think my friends and I were responsible for finishing up roughly half of the food in the buffet :-)!
- This being Amrikka and everything, the bride's and the groom's family had to pitch in together to decorate the mandapam, do the party favors etc. The end result was lovely and looked quite professional.
- All of us had a tough time digesting the fact that S was getting married. But the radiant bride and the happy groom were on stage for all to see :-).
- The wedding ceremony itself was an amalgam of customs from various parts of India. In fact there were some customs I have never seen before. For e.g., the couple did only four circles around the fire instead of the traditional seven. However, afterwards, the priest made seven small piles of rice on the floor. Each pile apparently represented some quality and the bride and the groom had to scatter the each pile together with their right feet (which part of India is this custom from?).
- In the after-the-wedding party at the bride's parents' place, it became obvious that the bride's family is super talented in the fine arts department. Everyone in their family seemed to know how to sing, play violin, keyboard, guitar - you name it! My friends and I were proud displayers of our clapping talent :-(. However, R in our group saved our collective (ahem) honor to some extent by playing the flute very well :-)!
- I ate so much food that day. The weirdest part was, I was bursting at the seams at the end of each meal time. And yet was ravenously hungry by the time four hours were up. My guilt was somewhat assuaged by the fact that everyone I met said I had become super thin - yaay :-D. (unfortunately this comment was later altered to "You look super thin in a saree. In jeans you don't look all that thin." - sigh)
- The wedding marks the first time I have attended any undergrad classmate's wedding. Finally - phew!
Finally, tip: Never ever try travelling long distance on the day before thanksgiving. It took us four hours to to get to a destination which is normally 2 hours or lesser away :-(!