A Four Day Bengali Wedding: Day 4

by Ekua on February 23, 2011 in India

When the last day comes, you put on your red party dress and get dolled up one last time. You put on your chandelier earrings, your gold bangles, and clip a flower in your hair. You walk into the Oberoi Grand a final time. In addition to the work-required benevolence of the hotel employees, you notice an additional warmth in their smiles that comes with their recognition of you. You like that you’ve stayed in Kolkata long enough to be familiar to people and long enough for the city to become familiar to you.

It’s the only time you’ve arrived fashionably late during the course of the four days, and a cocktail hour has already begun. You join in and smiles and anecdotes about the previous night are exchanged while waiters come by with hors d’oeuvres and bubbly.

You feel like the days have sped by and simultaneously feel like it’s all been longer than it really has been. Like summer camp, you’ve just shared a unique experience with with a new group, an experience that only the group knows, and you’re not sure if you’ll ever see these people again. You cannot fully grasp the experience, the spectacle of it all, the history of it all. It has left an indelible impression on your senses. You agree with the consensus that weddings will never be the same again.

There’s one last Bollywood routine, this time with just the newlyweds, their coupledom now official. Loved ones who have passed on are remembered and it makes you reflect on bittersweet celebrations without loved ones you’ve lost; celebrations you’ve already had and those that are yet to come. There are toasts, and you feel warm and fuzzy when San Francisco is one of the specially mentioned cities when the newlyweds thank those who came from a distance to join the festivities. There’s one last feast and one last surprise revealed in a colorfully lit dance floor in a separate room.

You’re still a bit tired from the previous night, but you dance because it’s the last celebration. You stay till the end, until the music stops. You say your farewells to the bride and groom and you’re one of the last to leave. And you walk out of the Oberoi Grand one last time, feeling satiated and maybe a little wistful. But most of all, you’re immensely glad to have taken part in four vivid days of joyfulness.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Marsha February 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I love this! It’s amazing how something as simple as a change in perspective can become so profound. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

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Ekua February 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I’m trying to break out of a bit of a blogging rut so I wanted to play around with a different approach and I enjoyed writing this post. Now onto the rest of my time in India…

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Naaz February 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Hi Ekua, love the way you write. You have a way of conveying a story that is not overwhelming and focuses on fine details. Where do you draw your inspiration from? What advice can you give to a travel writer like myself? Thanks!

Naaz from Toronto, ON.

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Ekua February 25, 2011 at 2:03 am

Thanks for reading and for such a lovely comment. I really appreciate it. I could probably write a lot about what inspires me, so I will send you an email when I get a chance!

Sunee February 23, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I can’t quite decide if I like the bit about “loved ones who have passed on are remembered” or not. On the one hand, I think it’s a great idea to remember those no longer with us, but on the other hand, do you really want that touch of sadness at your wedding?

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Ekua February 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I think it depends on the circumstances. In this case, it was an immediately family member of the groom and the death was untimely. I’m sure the loss was felt throughout the four days regardless of the short acknowledgment at the reception. It definitely seemed like the family had accepted it and moved past it, but it was still an emotional moment… and I think it was a necessary moment that didn’t bring down the mood of the wedding and it was a beautiful way to honor someone.

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Angela February 25, 2011 at 1:05 am

Asian weddings are so colorful, I would love to attend an Indian wedding and a Chinese one. Where I live in Shanghai every time there is a wedding in the neighborhood I understand because they fire fire-crackers for all the time the couple is passing by 🙂

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Ekua February 25, 2011 at 2:08 am

It’s great to see how people in other places celebrate and especially fun to see how a specific type of event is done differently around the world. When I was in Oaxaca last summer, I noticed they definitely loved to set off firecrackers after weddings as well (and other celebrations too, I think)… took me awhile to get used to the noise!

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Hal Amen March 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Great stuff, Ekua. And thanks for the twitter shout!

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Ekua March 2, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Thanks. I was inspired by the 2nd person call for submissions piece you wrote 🙂

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Rebecca March 7, 2011 at 3:40 am

I feel sad that it’s all over – so quickly!

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