I feel as though I’ve stepped into the fantasy world of Pandora from the film “Avatar.” The lush, landscaped gardens of Bangalore’s Taj West End hotel dazzle with tiny white lights, some dripping from trees like willow branches. Sitar music fills the air. As I move down the lit walkway, I’m handed a glass of strawberry lassi, a sweet, refreshing yogurt drink. Read more
To attend a wedding in India is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list kind of experience. Whether Hindu or Muslim, Indian matrimonial traditions are steeped in rich culture. The celebration of two people coming together isn’t just between families and friends, it extends to an entire community. Today, Farakh and Qurrath are getting married. Though weddings take place over several days, this is the official religious service and my first time attending a Muslim wedding.
It’s Farakh’s wedding day and I’ve been invited to share in his final feast as a single man. The meal is breakfast, but this is no ordinary egg and toast affair. Farakh’s parents are throwing him a traditional groom’s breakfast, featuring his most favorite Southern Indian dishes. Knowing Farakh and his outspoken affinity for sheep offal, this was going to be good. Read more
The first public festivities of my friend Farakh’s wedding are called the shukrana, which literally means “thanksgiving.” We gather in a room at Bangalore’s chic St. Mark’s Hotel, where the wedding gifts are on display. These are the jewels and clothing that the bride, Qurrath, will receive from Farakh’s family. They are presented alongside an incredible, colorful spread of fresh fruit. Shukrana is a night of giving, being thankful and sharing the joy of two families coming together. Read more
It wasn’t until I had settled into my second trans-oceanic flight within twenty-four hours that I realized a four day trip to Bangalore, India was a slightly more ambitious undertaking than anticipated. The immense distance seemed so much shorter on the route map of my inflight magazine. The thing is, when you’re invited to an Indian wedding in India, you do everything in your power to make it happen. My friend Farakh was getting married. The 20+ hours of travel time, 2:00AM arrival and pitch-black pole position experience were just the gravy. Read more