Kolkata - The Bakshi family - Part 2
Trip Start Nov 16, 2008
32Trip End Feb 07, 2009
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The 2nd wedding is upon us and we arrived in Kolkata to a very warm welcome by Uncle Padam and driver. After loading our rucksacks into the car we soon headed off to the family Dutt household where we had a fun packed 4 days planned in.
Kolkata had a very different feel to it than other cities that we visited. For a start the whole city went Maradonna mad as he flew into the city literally a couple of hours before us. However, not having to check through customs, he was whisked off via a private helicopter to his luxury hotel. One does ask the question of why Maradonna has visited India, let alone Kolkata, in a nation dominated by cricket and very few recognised football stadiums?!?! Still, it didn't stop the city going barking mad with all the press talking about who was the greatest player ever...Pele, Maradonna, or Kruyf...
Sorry... back to the blog (thieving short-arsed stupid fat permed ponce)!!
Day 1 - Mish was starting to feel the full effects of the Indian food and started to feel sick (probably due to the food she ate in Agra with our termite infested chicken curry)... and after a good night sleep she was to be back on form. Uncle Padam started as he meant to go on and introduced Mike to the drinks cabinet with choices galore (No I didn't hide any!). Met the family guard dog Copper, Nani and of course Aunty Vini (whom most of you met at our wedding) and then Suhanjna (aka CK), Rajesh, Mehak, Sugandha (aka "hopalong").... After a gorgeous home cooked lunch and a quick nap Mike headed out to see a full Indian wedding at a local hotel with the groom being the centre of attention and arriving on a horse with a full entourage of family, friends, a band and loads of music and dancing
After they finished (only 30 minutes of dancing later) the whole family for the groom meets the bride's family at the door and then the groom dismounts and heads inside to meet the bride. Those most striking part of this wedding was the colourful clothing, the sheer amount of flowers and trimmings and also the lavish food laid on inside... Next the bride and groom meet each and then exchange garlands and then sit on stage to greet the whole family and friends who all take it in turns to head up to the main stage to congratulate the couple and then present their gifts. This part took about 2 and a half hours and the photographers were all jossling for position to get the best shots.... After the gift giving, next came the blessing with the bride and groom heading outside to have the religious ceremony and declare their commitments to the fire gods with each of them giving 7 declarations to each other (the walking around the fire 7 times). Didn't stay for this part but will soon experience this for ourselves on Day 2.
Vini and Padam had already sorted out the clothing with Mike to put on a hat (of the turban variety) and a full Kurta (or Dhoti)...basically a long shirt that goes over some pyjama like pants and a matching scarf and Marisha with her Katan Silk Lehnga (think that's what it's called) with bangles, head scarf etc..... plus some jewellery (Aunty Vini's earings from her wedding day and gold necklace present from Nani).
Day 2 - Our Indian Wedding! Well not the whole thing as we would need to be in Kolkata for a couple of weeks plus poor Aunty Vini would have spent a year organising it!
We experienced the Indian vows part of the wedding which is what Mish's Mum and Dad had when they moved to India over 25 years ago. After dressing in our wedding attire we watched the caterers cook up a feast in the garden whilst friends of family arrived. Unfortunately, the priest who had previously married Vrinda (Mish's other cousin) had taken a fall and could not attend but a young priest took his place and the ceremony began!
Mish was told she needed to look shy, serious and avert eyes which was pretty impossible to do when she was saw Mike in his turban! What a stallion he was!!!
The whole thing lasted over an hour and involved lots of chanting by the priest which we obviously could not understand as well as certain rituals that were performed such as the lighting of the fire (inviting the fire of God to witness our union.....no less). The fire was a yummy smelling concoction of sandlewood, herbs, ghee, sugar and twigs and was lit in Padam and Vini's home - pretty brave if you ask me
Our scarves were tied together symbolising an eternal bond and we walked around the fire 7 times whilst the priest chanted holy verses. Each step signifies strength, food, progeny, family, prosperity, happiness and life-long friendship. Mike also fed Mish a sweet which is a promise of fidelity and love and he also put sindoor (red powder) on her forehead to welcome her to his life as his partner - aaaahhh! It also signifies to others that this woman is taken!! You'll have to excuse some of the squinting in the pictures and the smoke played havoc on everyone's eyes although it is difficult to see this smoke in the picutres.
Nearly everyone had to go outside to get some fresh air and one such person, in fact a member of the family, thought it would be a good time to fall over and severly sprain her ankle. With Sugandha screaming with pain and the men ushering her into the house..... it was necessary to visit the local hospital for an X-ray. So one piggy back to the car and 30 minutes later Sugandha was back and with nothing more than a badly sprained ankle and a embarressed look on her face!! Tsch.... some people hey.... any excuse to get out of work!! hee hee.
Day 3 & 4 - After some quick computer engineering fixes to the Dutt computers we headed out to Kolkata from some shopping therapy and visited the local market, a food place that does these chicken rolls that are to die for (courtesy of Aunty Vini) and then onto KFC (courtesy of Mehak and Mike) for some Zinger burgers.....yum yum
Day 5 - Our last day in Kolkata was spent with Marisha having a lie in and a good ole gossip with the family and Mike was treated to a game of Golf by a family friend "The Colonel" at the local private club of Tollyganj. The boys back home will be pleased that I was still shite but didn't leave the 18 holes early!!! But what an amazing course. You are not allowed out without a caddy and you have to be a member of the course to play... unless of course you sign up as a VIP. This is definitely a place to come to play Golf as a caddy only costs about 200 - 400 rupees (about 4 pounds max) and to play golf costs the same!!! This kind of course back home would have easily been 100 pounds or more!! The added bonus was the fact that the caddies are actually good instructors and help you with your game all the way round
Back to the Dutt household for our final tasty Indian meal and then some final moments of reminising our time in India with the highlights being our time with families in Delhi and Kolkata. A big thank you to everyone, you made our time so special in India and treated us like a king and queen. We leave with some fond and cherished memories which we will never forget. Don't worry, we won't leave it another 10 years before we're back! Love to you all and thank you sooo much for such a great time. xx
Our final traffic filled journey in India was back to the airport for our trip onwards to Vietnam via Singapore. Goodbye Dal Makhani & Chicken Biryani and hello to White Rose & Noodle soup!!