Getting Married · Protestant weddings (and, in my experience, modern Jewish ones too) focus on compressed drama, if you’re late you’ve missed it. The party can stretch out, but the ceremony itself, it’s pretty well “I do, I do, rings, man and wife, kiss, applause, That’s All Folks.”
Hindu weddings, it’s another story, the ceremonies can stretch out for as short as a couple hours or as long as two or three days, they tell me.
In E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India there’s this lengthy discourse about how Indian ceremonies are just totally out of sync with Western notions of Time and Choreography. But that’s just because E.M. was tight-assed, go with the flow and you’ll have a good time. We had to leave early because we had a five-year-old about to implode, but nonetheless here are some highlights.
It started in the parking lot, with a lot of drums beating and a Cadillac convertible being pushed around, you gotta like that. That’s Rohit in his fabulous outfit because this parking-lot thing is a Groom’s-party thing.
The Crowd · It was stiff with Internet luminaries of one flavor or another, I’m mostly not going to drop names but it was fun to see some of the people. The kid got to piggyback on Doug Cutting reading Magic Schoolbus stories to his boys, and I got into some enjoyably-loud arm-waving with Eric Rescorla about Unicode in Internet Protocols.
The Ceremony · The picture above is what most people saw, all the action took place in this lovely little white gazebo which (for the duration of the event) became sacred to Lord Ganesha; but mostly all you could see was the back of people’s heads.
The ceremony was complex and went on for a couple of hours, my attention wandered and I felt guilty but then I noticed that many of the crowd’s Indian contingent were chatting and strolling and generally relaxing, so I decided that was OK and went with the flow.
A bit of wandering around yielded a couple of pictures that I think capture the feel of the ceremony:
There were some really sharp dressers in the crowd. These ladies had good seats right beside the ceremony and the one in blue stood up at one point and sang beautifully.
Every time I tried to get a picture of Smruti, glowing in gold and green, something got in the way, but I did manage one shot.
After the ceremony, we gathered outside in the delightful California dusk and the newlyweds circulated, here’s a nice shot of Rohit and Lauren, I have no idea what they were talking about.
Good fun all in all, thanks a heap for the invite, a pity the kid took us away before the speeches and dancing, and many many happy years together to Rohit and Smruti!