My first Bollywood wedding

It’s late Saturday afternoon and I’m here in my hotel room. After a long massage I returned to my room for a hot bath, wash my hair, start the process of getting beautiful for tonight. I ordered a salad from room service and picked at that, and just now have got up from my bed where for the last 30 minutes I’ve been reading. Soon enough I’ll have to dress – suit, tie, a splash of cologne, a big smile. Right now, as it is, I’d just as happily spend this Saturday night quietly.

That’s not a reflection anything really, other than perhaps an over-chilled state of mind. This morning I was up early in suit to attend the Indian wedding ceremony in a temple in the Indian part of town. Though I grumbled about being up so early – 6am – I was up for it. With shoes off I stood and watched and waited, fascinated by the variety of things happening in the temple – worshipers standing before the temple quietly giving themselves to their religion; the priest – or whatever they call them – bare-chested and with a medicine ball for a belly attending to the daily ritual. In the background a constant stream of music, like snake-charming music, barreled along at a good tempo, the thump of the drum, the tortured wail of – a trumpet?

Then the ceremony began. Fozzy was in an Indian outfit out of respect for his wife and her family. Nali was done up in the full and extravagant regalia  of an Indian bride. We circled them as the priest performed his rituals of marriage, his assistant beside him. On the ground were a bunch of bowls with different things in them, and a brazier in which coals glowed red. All the while the Indian music continued without a break, a cacophony of music right of a Bollywood movie.

All round it was curious. Back home a wedding is performed in solemn silence. Here the noise was so insistent there was no chance of understanding what was happening, even if I knew the language. All the while people are snapping pics, and worshipers wander by, and a little man directed the two photographers here and then, stopping occasionally to consult with – or instruct – the priest, or else rearrange a necklace of flowers around the grooms neck even as the ritual was going on.

I was glad to be there. This was an interesting experience, and probably not something I’ll ever be witness to again. I was myself. Fascinated as I was my eyes travelled over the interesting faces, pausing now and then to take in a more interesting face, and body to go with it. I felt my usual charged self, on top of things, engaged and interested and willing to participate if the need arose.

Now and then I chatted to people I didn’t know, and lined up for a feast of a cooked vegetarian breakfast. Then we returned to the hotel.

I had a short nap, did some shopping at Mid Valley Megamall, and the rest you know.

I’m mellow for now. Most of the kinks have been ironed out of me by a succession of massage, but I still feel a tad dopey, and not 100%. That seems normal for me after flying. I know that as the moment comes nearer, as I don my suit and knot my tie and admire myself in the mirror, that I will feel that slow infusion of anticipation. Tonight is the reception, the fun part as Nali’s dad said, eight courses, a bunch of booze, perhaps an interesting cultural experience, and opportunities as yet unexplored.

I may be more circumspect than at other times. More thoughtful and reflective. That feels right. Maybe. Inclined more to watch and learn, than to do. Yet I expect that cometh the moment I’ll be in there again, like Flynn, lapping it up, engaging, laughing, teasing, maybe even flirting. There will be that part of me ever watching, logging the impressions; but the other side of me, the side most people know better, will likely be at the forefront, the public face of H smooth and unflappable and just sometimes a lot of fun.

Guess it’s time to begin the process. My uniform awaits.

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