Am continually amazed at the warmth and openness of the people that I meet here and this was shown yet again with my second wedding invitation within my first three months here. Didn’t expect to be attending weddings and wishing brides, grooms and families well but seems that it’s getting to be happening much more often that I ever expected. One of the students from the programme that we’re running for the schools in the village called up a few days ago to say that he’d like to invite us to attend his brother’s wedding. I must say that it was quite an honour to receive this invitation from Bharath and this again reminded me the place that teachers hold in society here. Teachers here may not be paid well (but then, where in the world are they?) but they occupy a highly respected place in society because of their role in nurturing the young. I wholly agree with this (not because I’m one) because I’ve always seen my own teachers as people who have given up other vocations to work in the thankless job of getting their students to learn. My own experience has shown that trying as the whole teaching thing can be, one often looks back with a half-smile and a sigh and realises that it is, for the most part, all worth it. Guess that was the reason for our invitation – our students also want us to share in their joy and share we did.
But I digress. Manoj and I got to the reception hall a little late (and realised that it hadn’t quite started yet), we enjoyed the live music that went on there and in a little while went up to the dais to sent our wishes to the bride and groom. They received us with a warmth that did not betray them not knowing us from Adam and that made the journey there all the more worthwhile. I do hope that the couple will have a wonderful life together.
Bharath is one of the more outspoken ones in the class that we teach and him being the extrovert showed when he himself took to the music stage to sing a couple of Kannada favourites. Quite nice to see the multiple talents of our students no? Noticed that the reception hall and how it was set up was quite similar to the one I went to previously, right down to the live video feeds. Our quick visit to the wedding reception ended with a good thali meal and more congratulations all round. I’m starting to understand Indian wedding customs a little better and am feeling much more at ease. Don’t quite feel like the weird outsider anymore. Or at least am a little more inured to the stares. And have also realised that whether at home or over here, wedding receptions (or dinners) seem to have problems starting on time. So here’s to Bharath, his brother and wife and Indian weddings starting on time.
The wedding! (Clockwise from top-left: discussions before the thali; the happy couple; wishes for the happy couple; the singers – they start young here!)