Monday blues and Atul’s wedding, (part 1)

Before I begin the long blog I have to get off my chest that today was a Monday; a really Monday, Monday. It started off not so great because I went to sleep around 2am, after the long ride back from the wedding in Kolapur, which I’ll talk about as soon as I get my Monday out there. The rain in the morning didn’t help my Monday, the bad awful behavior by some of the kids I worked with this morning didn’t help my Monday, pulling into the parking area of my office only to slip and fall on my bike (I was going maybe 3 mph and didn’t get hurt, but it shook me up a bit) didn’t help my Monday, leaving my office a bit late didn’t help, and getting my pinky toe run over by a rickshaw while on my way home because I decided I should follow the traffic light and stop, definitely did not help my Monday. Work on the other hand, was great (besides the misbehaving kids). My pinky toe is red and blue and a little swollen, and I have a tiny cut. I feel like it could have been a lot worse. Of course I was all shaken up after it happened, and so in shock that I didn’t yell at the rickshaw driver – not like it would have helped because he didn’t even notice and then he wouldn’t have understood anything I said anyway. So I drove off in shock, broke down and cried while driving, and then made sure that I called my mom once I reached home. It’s times like these I really wish I had that best friend here to break down and cry to. Although I have closer friends here, even now in Pune, it’s just not the same as that person or people you’ve known for a while with whom you can just break down and cry.
When I told my friend about my day he wrote back to me and said that today my stars aren’t aligned. I feel like that expression somehow holds more meaning here (as more people believe in star activity affecting your life). I just thought that was interesting.

Last week was filled with adventure, from getting my saree, a crazy Friday night, to going to the wedding and being the only non-Indian around for days. I was going to get my saree on Monday, but Laxmi road, where all of the good saree stores are, is closed on Mondays. Many stores are closed on Mondays. This postponed my saree shopping yet another day. I was very anxious to get it because you can’t just buy the saree and weare it, you have to get the shirt part stitched and get the bottom part of the saree reinforced with extra lining. Two of my friends from work came with me to help me out. I definitely needed it. I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it was. I figured I’d look at some colors with some patterns and would be done. There are so many shades of every color with varying designs on each color. It’s crazy. It was fun though. My friend too a bunch of pictures as a fashion show. We left Laxmi road and went to a different area in one of the peths. It was a great ride. The roads were filled with people, it was hard to maneuver on the bike. There were shops along side the road selling all sorts of household items. I would love to go back there and just walk around and take pictures. As soon as we walked in I knew this was the store in which I was going to get my saree. It was much bigger, much calmer, emptier, and looked like it had a much more organized and bigger selection. You have to take your shoes off when you walk into the middle of the room. You sit down on the floor which is cushy, and the guy brings out various sarees according to the patters you want and your price range. You can even do a trial where they fake wrap it around you with an elastic band. Once you ge the color and style you want you have to get a petticoat to go underneath (that matches the color) and fabric that matches the color to line the top. They have to also then cut the top fabric off of the saree fabric. It’s a long process, but fun! They’re all such amazingly bright and fun colors. I settled on an orange one with a blue lining. It’s so pretty.
I had to get a rush stitching done, which was a big deal for the tailor. I felt bad until I when I actually wore it and he definitely stitched it to someone else’s measurements. Good thing I had two older, more experienced women helping me out who knew to unstitch some of the stitches and made it the right side. Anyway, Nupur picked me up from Deccan on Saturday afternoon to take me to Atul’s house. I felt as if I was a part of the family from the start. I felt so taken care of. I think everyone knew I was a little lost. I didn’t understand most things that went on. I went with the friends in the car to the wedding as opposed to all the family that went on a big rented bus. It took us 4+ hours to reach Kolhapur. It was a beautiful ride, really nice to get out of the city for a bit. The wedding took place in a big hall that had some rooms upstairs where everyone stayed. There were too many poojas (religious ceremonies) to describe between the two days. I think even Atul and Swarda didn’t know what they were doing half the time. The wedding involves not the marriage of two people, but of two families. The man’s family is now responsible for taking care of the daughter. There is a ceremony where the bride’s parents now hand over their daughter to the husband’s family. During another ceremony, the brother of the bride twists the ear of the groom as a warning to take care of her. Many ceremonies I didn’t understand. The actual official marriage takes place before the big ceremony in the morning where they walk around a mini fire seven times, as the husband makes various oaths to his new wife such as I will respect her and other things that I can’t remember.

More to come about the wedding tomorrow; I’m so tired.

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