Our Wedding in Pushkar, India
|This travel journal is part of a series of journals, which are all written during a long trip between november 2007 and may 2009.|
> Back to Pushkar
07-01-2009 The busride from Bikaner to Pushkar takes six hours, but we don't have to feel bored. We drive through picturesque little villages, where colorful women are chatting or working on tiny courtyards.The huts are all very simple, but they look so very beautiful in the golden sunlight of Rajasthan. And then we're home after all, back in Pushkar. Immediately people recognize us and they wave and smile. Kids are shouting when they see us. A silent come-back at Shakti Project is not an option. Enthusiastic we're taken in.
Fiona prepared a room for us and we make plans for the rest of the week. In the evening we walk into Pushkar for diner, but we can't escape shaking hands every two meters and we have to tell everyone why we came back so soon. Some kids, but also some adults, are dancing through the streets when they hear what we came back for.
We go for a visit to our friend Rakesh to ask him to be our wedding photogrpaher.
> Buying Wedding Dresses
08-01-2009 Peter goes out to buy clothes with Ramsingh and Surendra, while Yvonne takes Fiona and Manda with her. The guys go to Ajmer by taxi, the girls take the bus. Ajmer is not particularly big and unevitably our pathscross each other. The men have completed their shopping by that moment however, while the women still have to get started.
Due to the short time and because Sunday is a day off for everyone we decide to postpone the wedding one day. Sunday 11th of January will be the big day now, according to the superstitious Indians a much better day, since it will then be full moon.
09-01-2009 Yvonnes sari is ready today and needs to be picked up in in Ajmer. Meaning more shopping time for the ladies and some time to spend with the kids at Shakti afterwards.
During a diner all together we try to find out what the program for this Sunday will be. That's not so easy as it seems, since everybody in India knows exactly how a traditional wedding goes and they seem to find it hard to understand other people don't have the slightest idea about it. By the end of the evening we have a rough idea of the course of the day after tomorrow and we prepare the last few things.
> The Day before the Wedding Party
10-01-2009 As soon as the Shakti kids went home Yvonne, Fiona and Manda are visiting the beauty parlour for the henna applications. An Indian bride has the most wonderful henna patterns on both her hands and feet. After application the henna needs to dry for a few hours, which is rather chilly at night, without a jacket and socks. But even in India one should suffer to be looking good.
Officially the bride and groom aren't allowed to sleep in one room before they're really married, but because no one wants to sacrifice the whole night to sit with a stick between two rooms, we're both sleeping in our own (shared) bedroom anyway.
> Getting Married in Pushkar
11-01-2009 At five thirty we wake up from a cluttering sound from downstairs; Fiona is baking our wedding cakes.
After a quick breakfast we both disappear in separate rooms to prepare ourselves for the big day. Manda helps Yvonne with make-up and clothes, while Rakesh and Peter enjoy themselves taking silly pictures in the "boys-room".
As early as eight thirty Satnarayn arrives, a twelve year old boy we asked to become Yvonnes brother. In India the brother gives the bride away and the brother arranges everything for her on the wedding day. No brother, no wedding. Satnarayn is not the easiest kid at Shakti, but Yvonne bonded with him the past few weeks. We knew he would be the brother right away. Now he's waiting at the door and even though he's not yet allowed to enter, he stays there untill as he's finally allowed inside the house and he doesn't move from Yvonnes side for a second today.
Two hours later Yvonne's finally ready, while loud drumming indicates the band has arrived too. However, the bride needs to be extensively photographed and so the drumming and trumpeting continues. Then the door opens and the moment's there. Dozens of kids and adults are waiting outside, all of them wanting to take a look at the bride and shake hands. Meanwhile the band produces a deafening noise. Yvonne gets into the waiting car, with Satnarayn and Manda. When the car drives off, a whole bunch of kids start running along.
While Yvonne waits at Shakti, Peter leaves the house too. His face is hidden behind a curtain of flowers. A wonderfully decorated horse is waiting for him and on horseback he also goes to Shakti. All the men and boys are walking with him, dancing on the beating of the drums.
While the bride and groom are waiting in separate rooms for the start of the ceremony the entire village drops by to see what they look like. Shakti has never been this crowded.
When the Holy Man is ready, Peter and Yvonne see each other for the first time. At real traditional weddings this is the moment the bride and groom really see each other for the first time, sometimes the face of the bride is even veiled. The priest changed the wedding room into an actual party with coconuts, all kinds of seeds, powders, spices, incense and a fire. We sit down next to each other and our priest starts with his blessings of this marriage. In the meantime he carries out all kinds of operations and from time to time Peter has to sprinkle a bit of water somewhere or add some coloured powder.
Some of the children are watching it all with interest, and in addition to our own photographer and friends there are also a number of adults in the room with video and photo equipment, which surprises us a bit. It's only later when we find out that they are from the local newspaper and television, thinking our wedding is interesting enough to cover in an article and news item.
The ceremony ends with lots of smoke and fire. Together we walk around the fire for seven times and then we're sent up on the rooftop, where a tent has been built and the children are gathering. Suddenly the men with the cameras are also there and two microphones are pressed under our noses. All kinds of questions are asked and they film and photograph us, while someone else writes everything down. It looks like we're real moviestars.
It doesn't take too long and then it's time to put on the wedding flowers. They are huge necklaces of flowers, each one of them at least a few kilos of flowers, that we're supposed to hang around each other's necks, to show we're giving our heart to each other. Applause and congratulations follow and some kids brought gifts. Even the poorest family of all are giving us something. It must have cost them at least a day's income and that makes it the most special gift we ever got.
And then there is food. A real banquet of different dishes is brought up here on the roof and Ramsingh, Mukeshh and some friends and acquaintances are working hard to serve everyone. Just like every other day there's prayers first and then the feast can start. The kids love it and so do we. As icing on the cake there's also the cake from Fiona, which we cut together, to Western tradition. We even offer kachua, the house turtle, a piece of cake, but he prefers his daily tomato.
We say goodbye and we're taken back to Fionas place by car. This was it, the party's over. It was a day to never forget!
Peter & Yvonne wedding in India videoPeter & Yvonne wedding in India video will show here
Click on the film up here to look around at our wedding in Pushkar, almost live.