I was so quiet walking around Agra with Eugenia and a Chinese traveler we had known when the Couchsurfer where I was staying called me. We had arranged a dinner together that night and he told me then that he had good and bad news. I told him that, like always, the bad first, and he answered saying that we would not have dinner at home. The good was that we would not have it because he had forgotten that that night he had the wedding of the his best friend’s sister, where we were also invited to go with him. I was a little disconcerted but quickly I said that obviously yes, we would go to meet him at home, because we would not want to lose this opportunity at all. We had to meet him in front of his house and once there we found him wearing a so nice casual suit, while we had totally the look of tourists who have been all day walking. He told us that there was no time for taking a shower or for changing the clothes but he said to not worry about it, since having foreigner in your wedding is something that gives much prestige in India, so they would treat us as suited up gentlemen.
On the way he told us a little more about how it all was. The couple, like Mark, the guy who was hosting us, were Muslims, which is the second most followed religion of India.
The Indian weddings are characterized by lasting more than one day and having attendees that you can count by hundreds or even by thousands. In this case, wedding would last two days and had three hotels full of guests staying, as they were going to be more than 2.000 attendees.
We arrived to the place where the celebration would be and, mother of god, you could easily see that it was not at all a middle or low class wedding, as they had rented a land with grass that the dimensions could be used as a football field. Inside they had several long tables with self service of all kinds of food, many tables with several people already sitting and the end a scenario with more tables where Mark told us to go, as that was the VIP section. We sat and we had already a waiter asking us what food we wanted to have. I told him to surprise us and they surely did, minutes later they brought countless dishes with different kinds of rice, meat, noodles, etc.
While we started eating, what would be the first of many rounds, Mark continued telling us. Today was going to be the first day of the wedding and were going to attend only the closest ones, about five hundred people as they calculated. And the ceremony would be that, while the bride waited in a room there, the groom would be blindly brought by his friends to this place and upon arrival he would declare in front of all the assistants that he is determined to marry this woman who was one of his dreams. Then the next day, and in front of everyone, they would formalize the commitment.
We had not finish everything we had on the table that they brought already several dishes more full of sweets. We thought it was the dessert and that the food had not been that much in the end, but not at all, it was just to eat a little sweet to calm down the mouth and the stomach because of the the spicy that you just ate, so you could continue getting full of spicy food.
But finally we got a truce, as the bride wanted to meet us. We went to the back of the scenario, where can enter only her family and close ones to see her and there she was with her mother hoping to be perfect for the happiest day of his life. Or in this case, for the first day of the two happiest days of her life. He wore a typical Muslim wedding dress, all kinds of jewelry and most importantly, had both arms full of , which creating perfect forms in them, ended up the beauty on their body that the dress had begun. We wished her all the good luck of the world, and we went back to our table, where ten dishes more were waiting for us.
After some more time sitting again in that table, and getting fuller of food than we physically could, we asked if they cared that we would walk a little on our own taking some photos until the celebration began, and we were told that there was no problem. It was letting the camera out and there was an avalanche of children asking for pictures. We couldn’t cope with it, as also ended up coming for pictures their older brothers and several adults to show off the wedding outfit in front of our cameras.
Later suddenly, we began to hear a lot of noise at the entrance: the groom and its entourage had arrived. The tradition says that the man must arrive with the face covered with bills and is led by his closest friends and family who come dancing festively following the drums that lead the younger ones. They jump, embrace, shout, while the poor boyfriend does not see nothing at all. The rest followed as they had told that the tradition was: Upon arrival to the altar, the groom uncovered his face and said three times in high voice that he wanted to marry the girl. Then the girl appeared to announce, under a starry and full of fireworks sky, that the next day they would fully commit to themselves in the celebration, in front and of all all the guests.