Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kolhapur - Part 2

So it was dead 3am in the morning, and I found a Chinese girl greeting me at the door and I was like...


How exciting is it?

So I was there with my mouth half open for like a few seconds, and she was looking at me with her just out of bed eyes.

Finally... "Am I at the right room?" I asked.

"Yes. I've been expecting you. Come in!" She said, with faint Indian accent.

I dragged my luggage in and watched her getting back into bed.

"Where are you from?" I asked.

"I'm from Manipur, north east of India. I'm Indian." She smiled, "My name is Angana."

"My name is YY... Please. You sleep. I'm sorry to wake you at this hour." I said, "trying to think where Manipur is, beginning to appreciate how diverse India is. "I'll come to bed when I'm done washing."

"Ok. Good night."

It was a very big but basic bathroom. There was a shower head, a sink, a bucket with ladle, and toilet with washer.

No toilet paper.

Sleepy... I filled the bucket with cold water, bathed, brushed my teeth, washed my face... and then went to bed.

I fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.

I woke up around 6:30am. it's already bright and sunny out there.

Kolhapur was quieter than Mumbai. I can hear motorbike puttering around, but they hardly honk.

Probably no need to.

I stayed in bed for awhile... read a bit of book (I can't remember which book I brought with me now...), and then moved near the window. The air condition was to cold.

The window panel was wide enough for me to sit on, so I continue reading there, with curtain drawn so the sunlight would not disturb Angana, who was still sleeping.

I was not sure what the exact plan was, because there was a last minute temple wedding, which I was not quite informed what time was the session, and where it will be held. Basically I will have to depend on Angana.

Angana woke up just after 7:30am...

We went for breakfast. It was a very simple and clean vegetarian breakfast.

And then we went back to the room and chill.

I asked her what's the plan, and she said just wait for them to call. we probably leave after 9:30am only.

So we chill... watched some TV (Bollywood MTV rocks!), read some book. Talk a lot about other thing like what India is all about and what Manipur is like, what your father do, what your mother do, how many brother and sister do you have etc..

9am, we start getting ready. She helped me drape the sari. and then we started doing makeup... in less than half an hour, we are ready, and waiting for someone to call.

9:45am, phone rings.

It was Emma.

"Hi YY. It's nice to hear your voice..."

So her story was, she and Ben went down to wait for a bus... but there was not any bus waiting for anybody, so she doesn't really know what's happening and thought whether or not they were left out of the convoy.

I told her we were waiting for someone to call too...

Angana started calling Anju's brother, Keshav.

Apparently they should not be any bus, but cars arranged by the groom's family and so for and so forth...

Apparently everyone should be at the club or at the temple already...

Apparently, we and Ben and Emma was left out.

Apparently, now the fastest way is to hop on an auto and get to the club so Keshav can arrange our transport from there.

So, I told Emma, you know, I think we just get an auto, everyone left already.

And then, 4 of us was at the lobby, me struggling to walk properly in my sari... trying to get an auto across the road.

Emma and Ben got an auto and went, Angana and I got the next one in less then a minute, and we went to pick up another guy, Robbie, from another hotel.

And then, we were at the club 10 minutes later.

We paid, and went to Anju's room.

She was getting ready and there was many girls admiring her sari...

She was stunning!

She looked up as we arrived, when a lady was doing some final touches on her sari, she told her mom, "Mom, help YY to draped her sari again?"

My drape was on the wrong side of my shoulder.

So Anju's mom, Mini, pulled me aside and start donning the sari for me.

A few minutes and a few safety pin later, the sari was done. And I felt alright.

So we chit chat and hangout with a few other, I got to know Anusha, Aishwarya, Sai Dheepa and Bala, Aruna, Randeep and Keshav (finally we got introduced).

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Pretty ladies
(From left to right: Randeep, Sai Dheepa, Aishwarya and Anusha)

After about half an hour later, all of us was arrange to hop on a few cars, with Anju's cousin, and we were well on our way to the temple for the wedding.

I was quite excited.

10 minutes later, we arrived at the temple and something didn't feel right.

After asking a few people around, and a few phone calls later, we were at the wrong temple.

The misunderstanding was because Anju's cousin can't speak much Hindi so he pronounced the name wrongly, hence we were at the wrong temple.

It was quite funny and we laughed about it. Everyone put their hands up to the temple direction to seek forgiveness, and then hop on the car and off we go again.

We rushed to the other temple and the rest of them already there, the wedding was just about to start.

Unlike South India, the Hindu temple here are quite simple. No idols towering the sky, just plain white stupa modestly sticking out just above the roof of the other buildings.

The wedding was quite small, but it was nice. It was a Maharathi wedding. A lot of rice and ghee were used... on 2 coconut was used, but not broken.

First, we put the bride and groom on stage, and then 2 persons would hold up a piece of cloth so they can't see each other.

The priest will recite and at some point, everyone would throw rice and them. A sign of happiness, prosperity and good luck.

And then, the cloth would drop and they would see each other.

The Priest would then go and start a fire at one corner of the temple, this one was next to the stage, while we waited.

Now it's time for them to put thali (Gold chain) on the bride... presents from relatives.

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And then they adjourned to the fireplace and sat.

The priest will start reciting, and then the groom will spoon some ghee and pour it into the fire.. with the bride hand on his arm.

That gone on for about 20 minutes... at one point, Keshav, was to tease the groom for marrying the sister.

The groom would tie a string around the bride wrist. Think it's significant of they are married and their lifeline is now tied together.

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I wish I know the language, at least I would know what they talk about.

Anyway, moving on, the ceremony finished, they are married, and everyone, well, not EVERYONE, rushed to the canteen where they served lunch.

Angana and I sat down to take a break. we had been taking photo and it was getting hotter.

Keshav came to invite us for lunch, and we said let's wait for the other's to finish first.

"It is a shame to say, " Keshav smiled shyly, "That people just rush to the food everytime when the ceremony is finish, instead of waiting for the host to invite."

I didn't notice that, but I did notice most Indian do not believe in cuing up. Even when it comes to friend and relative's party.

Anyway, when the crowd subsided, Mini came to invite Angana and me to join her.

It was a wholesome lunch. I really enjoy it.

Mini and I talked a lot. She used to work in Malaysia and she knew some of the people I worked with.

After lunch, Keshav arranged transport for us to go back to the hotel.

It was a very hot afternoon.

Kolhapur is so flat and so bare, there were hardly any trees or green. You get direct heat from the sun everywhere you turn.

Angana and I decided to stay in the room and chill, watched Bollywoon movie and music video (Men! Watched them move!), watched a little bit of cricket, and sleep...

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This is Angana and me :)

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