My friend and (former) colleague Vikram Raman got married this past weekend in Bangalore, and we were not going to miss the fun if we could help it. Before reading on, the full set of photos (87 in all) are here.
The weekend began with a visit to Idiom Design, where our friend Theos is spending his summer as an MBA intern. Theos, Stephanie and I found our way to Highnote and B-Flat, a restaurant and club (respectively) in Indiranagar, where we found – much to our delight – AMERICAN MICRO BREWS ON THE MENU.
Let me repeat: American. Micro. Brews. Specifically, Fat Tire and Rogue. Besides Dogfish Head, what else could a guy ask for? Bangalore, you rock.
From dinner and beers, we went downstairs, where an otherwise excellent rock band (with electric sitar player!) suffered through the wholly untalented miseries of their lead singer. What’s more, the bass player was an even worse vocalist. At the end of their set, he launched into a version of “Ain’t No Sunshine” that elicited high pitched wails from every stray dog in a 2 mile radius. Seriously, this dude was BAD. Bad enough that the owner of the bar, a woman, had to get on stage, stop him and take over. She was decent, but compared to him, she was freakin Aretha Franklin. Yeesh.
As for the wedding, it started with a reception on Saturday night, followed by the ceremony on Sunday. A few highlights:
Stephanie and I with the couple, Madhupriya and Vikram, on stage at the reception. This is when the couple sits on a couch under a couple of klieg lights, accepts gifts and well-wishes, and takes photos. And sweats, the poor guys.
The former roommates – Pankaj, Vikram, Tilak and Pratham. I had e-mailed with Tilak a bunch of times through our NextBillion connection, but we’d never met. It was a really awesome small-world moment for me (social enterprise nerd that I am). Also, this is a great shot since all the guys are wearing black. They swear they didn’t coordinate…but we won’t know the truth…
The reception was a hoot. The food was great, all the aunties and uncles were curious that Molly, Theos, Stephanie and I were there, and it was fun to catch up with folks.
Now for the big day. We got up at 6:00; Molly and Stephanie fired up YouTube and searched “How to Tie a Sari” – Theos and I offered tips and pinning assistance. Finally ready, we swung downstairs at the hotel through the restaurant to grab a quick coffee and tea before going to the ceremony. Our hotel was next to Bangalore’s central railway station; plenty of travelers had the same idea as us and were grabbing an early breakfast.
To say we attracted attention would be an understatement. Group after group of folks came up to us, the ladies admiring Molly’s and Stephanie’s saris; the men told Theos and me, “Your women are looking too smart!” – we agreed, shook hands and laughed. It’s amazing what a little local fashion will do in terms of winning the hearts and minds – and curious looks! – of strangers.
We arrived in time to witness a ceremony that’s typical in Tamil weddings called Kashi Yatra. According to the internet:
This is an interesting ritual and adds an element of colour and drama to the occasion. After the mangala snaanam, the groom pretends to leave for Kashi (Varanasi/Benares), a pilgrimage center to devote himself to God and a life of prayer. He carries a walking stick and other meagre essentials with him to imply that he is not interested in becoming a householder. The girl’s father intervenes and requests him to accept his daughter as his life partner. He exhorts him to fulfill his responsibilities as a householder and thus follow what is written in the scriptures. The groom relents and returns to the pandal where he is received by the bride.
Once back in the fold, Vikram and Madhupriya were garlanded and did a series of other rituals that are all listed here. Thank you, Internet, for not making me explain all of them!
Let’s just put it this way – the rest of the day involved eating (breakfast!) more rituals, socializing with friends, witnessing the key moments (the tying of the sacred thread) and more eating (lunch!)
Curious about the rest of the photos? Here they are!