Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Indian impressions

The last 2 days people have repeatedly asked me “Well, how was India?? How was the wedding??” …and each time I’ve found myself speechless. Not knowing what to tell, or how to describe my total immersion in another culture for three days. Unfortunately, I have the same issue when it comes to writing about it. But, I’ll try.

We arrived in our hill top hotel in Udaipur on Friday morning, after a day and night of travelling (and no sleep). We got out of the car, and were greeted by six Indian ladies in sarees, singing, putting flowers around our neck, and putting a red dot on our forehead. Wedding festivities that day were Mehendi (all the ladies get henna tattoos on their hands), and Sangeet (family and close friends of the bride and groom sing and dance, lots of food, and lots of partying till very late at night). Saturday was the day of the actual marriage ceremony, with the Baraat (the groom travelling to the bride on top of a decorated horse, surrounded by a procession of male friends and family, and two bands) and the Hast Melap (a multitude of rituals, going on for 2 hours). Again partying till very late at night, and again lots of food. Sunday we got up very early, travelling back to Mumbai, where we spent the rest of the day discovering the city. We flew back to Brussels on Monday morning, 3 AM.

I remember our trip not as the above schedule though. For me India was bright colours, the constant smell of roses in the air, the taste of unknown spices, balmy nights in gardens full of candles and colourful lampions, non-stop dancing on Bollywood hits, the pride of strong traditions, surprise after surprise, the sun on my skin, dust everywhere, deafening rhythmic music, the crazy beehive-buzz of Mumbai, with the ongoing noise of honking taxis, the sea breeze on top of the Intercontinental Hotel, watching the sunset. And being able to share all this with P and with friends.

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