The Inevitability Of It All

It’s the middle of the week and I’m randomly going through wedding pictures by various photographers, (because that’s a part of my job!) while on the phone with my friend coordinating about what all to pack for our bestie’s wedding this weekend. There are clothes, jewelry, shoes, make up and what not to pack!!!

And while we are figuring out all this and making lists, it suddenly hits me again that my best friend is getting married! I say again because for 3 months I was in denial about her wedding.

Don’t get me wrong. I am super happy for this girl and she deserves all the happiness in this world. It’s just that we have come such a long way from freaking out over economics assignments in high school to actually shopping for  her wedding.

It’s so surreal. Searching for that perfect border for the sari, preparing dances, and making elaborate lists of what all to pack. And all this for the girl who I have known for almost a decade. She is legit like my sister.

What makes it hard for me is that she is going to move countries after her wedding. So while we would be in Delhi, she is moving to New York with her husband.

There are preparations going on around the clock and trust me wedding in India are  BIG deal. It’s a once in a lifetime kind of celebration and it’s hangover will remain forever in your mind.

I knew all this was going to happen some day. But it hits you so hard when you see such things actually happening around you. We all would obviously get married and get settled in life but all this really happening is kind of unsettling for me. All of this feels like a dream. I’m still trying to make myself believe that yes all this is really happening. Yes, she is getting married. Yes, she is going to move countries. Yes, all this is was supposed to happen.

It was all inevitable and it’s happening. And was supposed to happen. And it’s all for the best.

So I’m packing up my work and heading to get the best manicure I possibly can get because hello!!!! It’s my best friends wedding!!!!

And I can’t wait for the party to begin!

The Best Is Yet To Be

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2014 was one of the best year of my life. I’ve had some super happy moments, some happy tears, some beautiful memories and a professional kick start to my passion. But the best thing about this year was the lessons I learnt. I made major blunders, and those turned into the best lessons of life for me.

So today, on the last day of this beautiful year, I sit back with a cup of chamomile tea, and look back at the super awesome memories I had in 2014.

This year started with a brilliant holiday in Gujarat; I got my first photography assignment; I cleared all my exams with a decent score; had a humongous fight with my best friend; learnt not to make rash decisions; bought a new camera; my cousin got engaged; we had a tiny new buddle of joy added to our family tree; my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary; and I had the most fun experience of doing a pre wedding shoot with a couple who is now like family to me.

Even though I had my fair share of drama and depression this year as well, but overall I’ve realized that when you just let everything go and not try to plan or control every freaking aspect of your life, you tend to be more prepared for any surprise that life might throw at you.

So this year, I’ve decided not to make any resolutions of try and plan the entire year in advance. I’ll take anything that life brings me and make the best of it.

I mean yes, I’ll make plans and everything, but I won’t be heartbroken on something that didn’t happen.

I promise to myself that from now on I won’t stop being crazy just because it makes people think I’m…well crazy!

This year I’ll make peace with the freaky me, because I know that no matter what, the best is yet to be.

Happy new year everybody! 😀

The Perfect Dress

So my sister recently announced her intention to get married and brought her boyfriend home to introduce him to the family. The boy was approved and his family declared as most decent.

Now three months later, after all the excitement and tears of joy, we are all bracing ourselves for the big day.

There are lots of functions that are going to take place before we reach the finish line of The Great Indian Wedding Drama.

The first one of these is the engagement ceremony.

It’s basically just exchanging rings and introducing the bride and the groom to the entire extended khandaan of both the families.

Slowly but surely the things are being crossed out from the ‘Things To Do’ list. The venue is finalized, talks with the caterers are on, designs for the rings are being browsed through and the bride to be is out shopping every weekend to find that perfect dress.

And this is when we come to the most important part of the entire drama. Well the most important part for me.

The dress.

That is what we are all waiting for. Well ‘we’ as in me and all the girls and women in the family. Ladies seldom have much interest in anything else other than clothes. And we are no different.

Everybody is planning and prodding and searching for what they want to wear. It’s the first wedding of the family and the excitement is almost killing us.

Though I’m not so much into clothes and dressing up but I’m equally pumped to find something appropriate to wear. It should be wow enough to make me look like the sister of the bride, but not so wow that it overpowers the brides dress.

And If I know my sister, who hates anything shiny, glittery, heavy, and basically anything that makes you look like an Indian bride, she’s going to pick out something really simple and understated.

And my love for bright pop colors may make me look overdressed in front of her.

Designer boutiques, local shops, Pinterest, Google, my mom’s sari collection, I’ve gone through it all.

I’ve shortlisted a few dresses but I’m still confused. Everything I’ve selected has either glitter or pop colors. And my sister might just pick out something in a pretty pastel color! This thought is driving me nuts!

I usually don’t care about the latest trends, fashion and stuff like this and wear whatever I like. If I’m happy and comfortable with what I’m wearing, I won’t give a damn to what others think.

But to overpower my very own sister on her engagement is not where I want to tread.

So now I’m running to every market in Delhi in sweltering heat to find that perfect dress for me.

And it’s turning out to be one hell of a job.

 

Let’s Meet The Future Son In Law

So my cousin recently announced her engagement. It’s a big occasion for the family and everybody had their share of things to be excited about. For her parents, they are glad to have a child finally heading towards settling in happy matrimony. For my grandparents, their first grandchild is getting married and they are thankful to god for letting them be a part of it. My parents are happy for her parents i.e. my dad’s brother and his wife.

As for us brother’s and sister’s, we are just excited about the shopping and the new clothes and the open bar. 😛

Of course we’re happy for her, but when it comes to weddings, I tend to get more excited about the fact that I get to buy new clothes!

And if you think the matter ends here, then you’re wrong. How can a wedding be fixed in India without the whole extended family being involved? Oh no sir!

We first need to meet the future son in law. And by ‘we’ I mean the entire family. Yes. The WHOLE family will meet the boy and his parents. Even though my uncle and aunt have already paid a visit to his house and met his parents, but we still need to get everybody’s opinion.

And let me tell you, meeting the future son in law is a very big deal here. Because in our culture the son in law is an extremely important person.

So to meet him and his family, a date and venue was decided. And since me and my sister have already met this guy a couple of times, we stepped back from attending the Oh So important meeting!

My grandma took things so seriously that she called up my mom to ask whether she should wear a sari or not! To which my mom casually replied that it was too hot to take care of the sari and besides it was not that big a deal.

To this my grandma very gravely replied that meeting the future son in law is a very important task. It should not and would not be taken lightly.

The finest cashew nut Barfi was ordered and everybody was ready before time. For my family, getting ready on time is an impossible task. So getting ready before time was a miracle!

Before leaving my grandma went over every preparation once again.

Sweets packed and kept in the car. Check. Sagan envelopes. Check. Everybody’s clothes perfectly ironed. Check.

Quickly everybody sat in the cars and off they went to meet the future damaad ji.

Four hours and a dinner later they all came back with such mega watt smiles on their face that me and my sister could barely wait to get the feedback.

The boy had passed with flying colors. His family was declared very decent and proper and his parents were highly appreciated.

I and my sister looked at each and laughed thinking about the actual engagement ceremony that is to be held in some months. If a casual meeting with the future son in law is such an hyped event, then the engagement is surely going to be one hell of a party.

Love At First Site

It had been a long week. The vacations after the exams are always boring. All I’v done this week is laze around. During the exams you have this huge list of things that you just can’t wait to do. And the day the exams finish, you realize that this list is pretty useless because you end up doing more than half of the thing written on it in just a day.

I’m lying on my bed looking up at the ceiling and all I think of is those eye’s. Those eye’s that just refuse to leave my mind.

I clearly remember the first time I saw them.

I  had called my best friend, Rashi. Her brother had recently got married and we two had gone crazy getting our pictures clicked. In our defense, we had put in a LOT of effort to get ready and getting good pictures of us clicked was the only redemption possible for all that hard work put into figuring out the rocket science behind the mascara and those eye shadows.

The pictures were due any day and we had been waiting for them with bated breath.

She picked up the phone on the first ring and literally screamed in my ear, “Tammmmmyyyyyy!!!”

I pushed the phone away from my ear and let her clear her vocal cords. I could hear her clearly despite the fact that the phone was a good 3 feet away from my ear.

When she calmed down I gingerly put the phone back to my ear to confirm that she is no more screaming.

“Why the hell are you screaming the house down you idiot?” I screamed back.

“The pictures are here”, she said.

“Whaaaaaaaat???”

Now I know why she had been so excited.

“I’ll be there in 15 minutes”, I told her.

I hurriedly brushed my teeth and took a quick shower. I found the first clean and ironed tee and jeans, put them on and tie my hair in a bun to avoid wasting time on brushing my hair.

Her house is two blocks away. I ran there as fast as I could.

She was waiting excitedly for me and we immediately got down to business. Forget the rest of the 500 guests that were there, we were busy sorting out our pictures.

Our pictures were fabulous. We couldn’t believe our eyes. We looked at each picture repeatedly and laughed at the funny poses we made for the camera.

When we finally got bored from looking at our pictures, we start going though the rest of them. Her brother’s fiancee looked great. I don’t know if it’s the make-up or a camera trick or if she really had that bridal glow.

Looking at other people made us realize how hungry we were. Rashi had gone into the kitchen to get something to eat and that was when that face came up on the screen.

I still remember that moment clearly. The moment when I first saw him.

Her brother is standing with some guy and smiling into the camera. This guy had the deepest brown eye’s I had ever seen. Almost like they were trying to hypnotize me.

This guy has such an infectious smile I could barely control myself from smiling.

“Who is this guy?” I asked Rashi as she came back carrying a tray of the most yummy looking scrambled eggs and toast.

That’s the thing about this girl. She’s an awesome cook.

“He’s my brother’s friend, Vivek . They were together in college. He’s working in London these days. He came here for the wedding for a couple of days.”

“Oh! I don’t remember seeing him here.” I said.

“How’s that possible? He was staying here with us and was present in all the functions.”

“Well, I so busy dancing and clicking pictures, I don’t think I noticed any other guest. And frankly with all those cocktails inside me, it was a miracle I noticed you!” I replied laughing.

I looked back at the picture. It seemed like those eye’s were pulling me towards them. I had shaken that thought away and had happily dug into the amazingly delicious scrambled eggs.

Today, nearly three m0nth’s after that day, I still can’t forget those eye’s. They refuse to leave my thoughts and everywhere I go, all I can think of are those eye’s….

The Bride’s Side- Part 2

Back to blogging after like a month of being inactive. And the excuse this time is that I had so much editing to do, that I just ran away from anything that required me to open my laptop. Believe me, I hate anything related to weddings right now because I’v only been thinking about them this past one month.

First it was the preparation that went into all the planning for covering weddings, then came the weddings themselves and finally the mammoth task of editing thousands of pictures and shortlisting which are worthy enough to be given to the client. Phew! Whoever said weddings are supposed to fun and frolic, was never a wedding photographer.

Anyways, I’l crib later. First let me take you guys through the wedding day of an Indian Bride. Actually the wedding day of the last bride I met.

I Reached the venue at 7 in the morning on her wedding day and she was sitting there all ready and waiting for the rituals to begin. I can understand her not being able to sleep because of all the excitement but the poor girl went to bed at 2 in the morning after dancing for hours and here she was all ready and smiling.

Her’s was a Sikh wedding which take place in the morning. Usually north Indian weddings take place in the evening so the brides have a comparatively comfortable day and the madness begin at night. But here, the bride was supposed to be up and ready early morning and get done with all the rituals so that she could reach the parlor and meet her beautician at 9.

So when all the relatives were ready, the first ritual of the day began. The Chooda/Choora Ceremony.This is basically a Punjabi cultural ceremony where the Bride’s maternal uncles slip red and ivory bangles on her wrists which she would wear for the next 40 days. Bangles have a huge importance in the Hindu culture and married ladies are supposed to wear bangles all the time. The Chooda/Choora symbolizes that her wrists would never be empty from now on. In earlier days, the bride was supposed to wear her chooda for at least a year and the bride was refrained from doing any heavy household jobs. After the first anniversary, a small homely ceremony was held where the In-Law’s would remove her Chooda and Glass or gold bangles were placed on her wrists. The Chooda was then taken to a river and a small prayer was held after the which the Chooda was left to float in the river. My maternal grandmother’s Chooda was made of pure ivory and I remember her telling me that her chooda was floated in the river ‘Ganga“.

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Also, After the Chooda ceremony, the family of the bride hangs ‘Kalire‘ on her Bangles. The kalirey traditionally were made of a thin metal usually golden or silver in color, and coconuts. The metal symbolizes wealth and prosperity for the bride and groom and the coconuts symbolized that the bride never runs out of food in her new home.

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After this ceremony, The bride picked up her dress and jewelry and headed to the parlor to get ready and actually become a Bride.

I don’t know how the brides deal with it, but getting ready for the wedding ceremony according to me is probably the most agonizing part of the entire wedding. I mean I just sit in a corner and keep clicking pictures, but the poor bride has to sit on that chair for like 2 hours and get her make up and hair done and then get her lehenga draped. I shudder at the thought of going through this on  my own wedding. Though I’v seen brides who really enjoy the ‘getting ready’ part, I find it a torture. Sure I want to look my best on my wedding, but to sit and get your makeup done for like 2 hours is scary! Oh well! God help me and the beautician on my wedding day. I’l probably have to pay her double of what she charges to handle my tantrums as well. 😛

Anand Karaj

 

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So, now when the bride is ready and is all anxious for the baraat (The Groom and his relatives) to come, her sister’s and friends all come to her. Sister’s play a huge role in the wedding for a bride. They help the bride get ready, chose the best Bindi, give secret signals on whether the make up is going good or not, and are basically turn into a superwoman of sorts who can handle everything from getting extra hairpins to keeping the bride calm in such times when the bride is ready to explode with nervousness.

The bride sits in this small powder room reserved for her at the venue, waiting patiently for her knight on a white horse to come as everybody around her goes into a tizzy the moment they come to know that the baraat is about to reach.

And that is when the actual wedding begins…

 

Pictures By Clickaholicks

The Indian Wedding- The Bride’s Side- Part 1

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I’m sorry for not being active here and completely avoiding my poor blog, but these last 15 days were choked full of my ‘Things To Do List’ and I barely managed any time to even sit down and breathe. I’v been juggling my college, my cousin’s wedding, my friends wedding and my photography assignments all at the same time. Believe me I look like a zombie these days. But more on that later. 😛

I’v been so involved in weddings these days, that I thought I’l share with you guys what all actually happens in an Indian wedding that everybody is exhausted by the time the wedding is over.

Let’s begin with the bride’s side. Though the rituals are  more or less the same at both the bride and the groom’s side, I personally feel that the bride’s side has more fun!

The actual rituals where the bride is involved begin after the Sagan Ceremony. At this particular ceremony, the bride and the groom are given gits from their respective “To be in-law’s”. It marks the beginning of the actual wedding ceremonies.

Both the bride and the groom sit down for a Pooja and are then bestowed with gifts.

Next comes the Mehendi and Sangeet Function which is usually held a day before the wedding. These day’s this is an elaborate function usually with cocktails. In earlier times, these were very small homely functions where the bride used to apply mehendi on her hands and feet and the women sang wedding songs and thus created that atmosphere of a “Vyah da ghar” which means the wedding home.

Now, this function is a BIG thing for everybody and usually the most enjoyable one as most of the family is relaxed at this time and is having a good time dancing and stuffing their face with the chicken tikka’s and malai paneer!

IMG_2691I love the mehendi function. More so because I love mehendi so much! The bride and all the women in the family apply mehendi on their hands and the designs are so pretty! And this is when the all the husband’s would lovingly feed their wives all the yummy food that is being served at the wedding, and move their hair away from their face as the wives can’t touch anything otherwise their mehendi would get smeared and the designs would be ruined. It takes about half an hour to 2 hours for the mehendi to dry depending upon the weather, and the amount of mehendi applied.

Usually the mehendi is held in the afternoon so that the bride and ladies can enjoy the sangeet night where the actual wedding party begins. And the sangeet night is when everybody goes bonkers! They dance and laugh and enjoy themselves to the core. The music does not stop till the time everybody is drop dead tired and can barely lift a finger.

I’m about to cover one such fun mehendi and sangeet night in a few days. And i’m sure I’m gonna have ton loads of fun! I’l tell you more about it when I come back from there. 🙂

Pictures- Clickaholicks