Celebrations continued in Kolkata. Managed to sneak in at the right time. Just before the Bride and Bill entered their home – as Man and Wife.
The celebrations mostly involved Bill’s family handling all the appropriate bong looking rituals perfectly. A ton of very energetic relatives who managed to run the show just so. :) The bride, was not herself at all. She was busy being the epitome of virtue and patience (ok, that I am making up… alright, that was true, atleast with the makeup bit ;)). Estimated time for the face painting varied from 2 to 4 hours. End result – priceless. Some distant relatives were actually convinced that the bride was bong ;)
The groom was trying his best to keep up, with an interesting silk kurta, dhothi and topor.
For all the non-bongs (aka the bride’s family), it involved hogging (awesome food) – most excellent fish and mithai, and lets not forget, gaping when any bangla was spoken – hoping we would understand some bit of what was going on.
Also had some other fun gastronomical adventures there, including K.C. Das, Flury’s, roadside Chaat etc.
Did some mandatory sightseeing. Only could not make it to the Belur Math and Kali Mandir… Well, we need to save some for the next time, don’t we. :)
If anyone is still interested in what I wore – here is what ;)
Now for the ‘inside story’
The ceremonies themselves were filled with the hustle-bustle that makes a good wedding. There were people showing up from all over the world – well, some even hopped 4 countries to get there. :) There was a sweet cousin of the bride, who everyone is convinced, was there only because she has a bong boyfriend. (Well, time will tell. I am thankful she was around.) I was the offical photographer for the bride’s family, and was promptly adopted by the rest of the real cameramen.
Given the amount of makeup and photo/video-graphy the bride and bill have been through in the past couple of days, I do expect them to have severe withdrawal symptoms. Friends, please don’t be shocked if you knock on their doors sometime next month and see them dressed in heavy makeup, jewellery and rich silk, with bright lights, clicking pictures of themselves.
Bill’s family was warm and very friendly. They did a great job of entertaining and feeding us. They are also a fun bunch to hang out with – in any city :)
This was my first trip to Kolkata – the city is very interesting. Not all I had heard about the city was true. It was much cleaner and organized than I had expected it to be. The weather was perfect – sunny, cool, not sultry – as it was december. I was not smitten by Flury’s. On the other hand, all the other meals I had there were among the best. Most people I interacted with spoke and understood hindi, so transportation, food, bargaining etc was easy.
Victoria Memorial was very impressive. Got to see some interesting paintings of temples and nature from south india too – like the picture of the Meenakshi temple in Madurai etc. The park surrounding the building was very well maintained and being put to good use by the people. Though it does hurt to think all the money that went into building it, while majority of the people in the state were buried in poverty. Somethings don’t seem to change.
The Indian Museum was huge. Totally beat my expectations. The sculptures from various regions and eras were excellent. Many were in very good condition too. Don’t miss the ones from Java and Bodhgaya, the replica of the National emblem etc. The botanical and zoological collections were impressive in both size and variety. But I did not get to spend much time there.
The Rabindra Sethu and Vidyasagar Sethu were fun to drive by and on. The new bridge is definitely what any tween would call – neat.
Kalighat was an experience. Big crowd, people waiting outside and inside the temple ready to harrass you with all kinds of ‘special’ treatment you can get for the right amount. Beggars, handpulled rickshaws. A goat being sacrificed, right next to the queue for darshan. But also saw the faces of believers, who hoped this would get them a better life (in this world and the next).