When we arrived at the hotel where we would be staying (supposedly... see below) all we wanted was a shower and to rest a bit. Obviously people already there had other plans, at least for me. I took a quick shower and was out the door to have lunch with A's parents, sister, cousin, my mom and brother (the people who did not hike up). Despite my MIL's protests that we should not have a heavy meal, my brother, mother and I all had great thalis. After that we went back to the hotel and rested for a while. At 3pm I got worried and started searching for people as, in theory, that was when the pujas were supposed to start. A was sounds asleep, his cousins had gone to get darshan and his sister and parents were nowhere to be seen. Hum... that was a little weird.
Making of the groom...
Suddently SIL comes running asking me for my packed bag (which was already half unpacked by that time) and I went to get it. She told my mom we'd be going ahead and that they could continue resting. Also, that they should not worry about repacking as only I was going to spend the night at the marriage hall. SIL ran off again and while A and I were offerings suggestions about what my Mom and brother (MB from now on) my SIL showed up rushing them to pack their bags, as plans had changed and MB were already late and should come with all their bags. Just to give you an idea, by now my mom was asking me every 2 minutes what the plans were (which I had no clue) and getting lost in what was going on.
Making of the bride
Well, at around 5pm we started the "making of the groom" ceremony, which was short and simple, consisting of the married women in the family putting some chickpea flour, turmeric and cumcum paste on A's arms, feet and face. This was under the ornate mandap which had lots of flowers, banana leaves, coconuts around. Next was my turn and the "making of the bride" ceremony was quite similar to the groom's ceremony. Then suddenly all the drumming stopped and it was time to head to the shower and get ready for the ceremony.
Me in the bluish gray sari
Now began the rush with putting on the sari. A's cousin was in charge of helping me and, boy, am I grateful for that! She and A's sister also tied my hair with jasmin flowers and I did my makeup. Overall it was quite a success, despite Peripa's (A's father's oldest brother) protest that we were taking too long! So I finally come out, drums beating, in my bluish gray sari, followed by a girl (something like the bride's little friend), my MIL, SIL and A's cousin. We walked around the room and then I sat down next to A (who was already there). As I sat down my MIL went around the room and came back with my FIL and handed me a gift: a sari. And, after 2 hours to get ready and 2 min sitting there it was time to change to the next sari already!!
Sari 2 and flower garlands.
So take off sari 1, put on sari 2, rush out, go around the room again. And then the Janwasan ceremony started. This was a ceremony somewhat like an engagement, in which both families come together to "seal the deal". The part I did not like in this ceremony (and also other wedding pujas) is that, according to Hindu tradition, only married couples can take part in the ceremonies. This meant that my family (my mom, a widow, and my brother, happily single) did not take part in anything but instead they asked a couple in A's family (his grandmother's nephew and his wife) to stand in for my parents. Nothing againt them, but it felt quite impersonal... Mostly there was a lot of gift exchanges (both from my side as well as A's), A got a suit and I got a ruby set. Around 8pm we were all done and craving for dinner!
Then we had to decide who would sleep where... there were 6 rooms at the wedding hall and the others at the hotel and no one wanted to go to the hotel, since we all needed to be up by 4am anyway. After some discussions and lot's of moving suitcases around we finally managed to go to sleep around 1am...