Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Christina got working pretty early on the 10th for there were so many ladies in line and so little time. She churned out some pretty extraordinary styles with the hair and Shintadidi sported a spectacular retro styled bouffant, while Rinididi’s Rapunzelian locks were fashioned into something spellbinding. With the wedding hour round the corner, the ladies trooped away to the Sheraton Parsippany where the wedding was scheduled. We leisurely joined them later on.
There was already another Sindhi-Gujarati wedding in progress that got over before ours got underway. All of the “borjatri” turned out in blue kurtas and Dave’s switch was complete when he joined his brother and cousins with the members of the Ghose family. Shameek looked great in a cream coloured sherwani with exquisite embroidery. I wore a shiny maroon and white kurta while Papa stuck to his favourite grey and blue one. Mintadidi, who was wont to turning heads on New York driveways, looked gorgeous in a red “benaroshi”, with fabulous zari work and looked the demure bride complete with the sparkling white tiara. Shintadidi put her artistic talents to great use for she was responsible for doing everyone’s make-up. Christina was tired by this time having done up everyone’s hair. She looked nice in a black dress.
The tension was palpable was everyone had been seated in the large banquet hall and Jamma was waiting to welcome Shameek in the traditional manner with to the blowing of conch shells. Mintadidi’s friends from Washington DC had the responsibility of carrying her in on a tiny “pire” and then go around Shameek seven times in order to complete the marriage before the priest recited the mantras and completed the auspicious ceremony. It was a really high-tech marriage for the priest was a computer engineer. Swadesh Mukherjee, a bespectacled man conducted the ceremony but the mantras he chanted were a bit awry but then what could he do for the marriage had to completed within an hour.
Shameek and Mintadidi sat on the stage and the ceremony began, finding it a little difficult to follow the Sanskrit slokas. Babandidi compeered the ceremony and explained to the guests the significance of each of the steps. I had the responsibility of giving the “chire” that is dropped into the holy fire. “Chire” being unavailable, popcorn was substituted. Ultimately the ceremony ended and they were declared man and wife. Of course, there was no kissing the bride and stuff over here.
Photo sessions followed for close family while the guests proceeded to the cocktail hour. Catering was done by the best Indian restaurant in Jersey and they did a fantastic job and served up some delectable tidbits. The party was just getting warmed up and people were definitely in high spirits with an open bar till midnight.
A French lady, who was attending an Indian wedding for the first time was really surprised at the sheer elaborateness of everything from the ceremony to the attires of most of the other guests who had turned out at their flashiest best. She asked me to pose for a photo with her for she had never seen dresses as gaudy and garish as the ones some of us were wearing. I was glad to oblige. The food was fantastic at the cocktails and it was a pity that the reception followed within a couple of hours for people, having gorged on the kebabs and tikkis, couldn’t do justice to the lavish dinner buffet.
We all changed into western formals for the reception and the Master-of-Ceremonies, Pia Sen, announced the names of family as they entered and took their places on the stage. We had all been allotted tables and I was happy to note that I was sitting with the young group. I met with Doonie for the first time who had come down from San Francisco with Sarah. Shameek and Mintadidi danced for the first time as a married couple and then the speeches followed. We raised our champagne glasses to toast the newly married couple. Dinner was followed by the formal cake cutting by the couple and then the dance floor was opened by the DJ with some great music. Of course with the night still young, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they literally drank the bar dry.
We drove back home later the next day, and caught the World Cup that was already on in full swing. Mintadidi and Shameek drove into Ramsey later in the afternoon as Mr. and Mrs. Ghose (though Mintadidi didn’t change her surname). Dave and Babandidi took some bare essentials and decided to shift to their Waldwick home while Shameek and Mintadidi were busy checking out all the gifts that they had received.
In the meantime, our Niagara plans had ripened and we were to tag along with Nikhiles Jethu and come back on our own by Amtrak. Bags packed, we were ready to depart for the pilgrimage to Niagara the next day.


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