5/17/13

day by day india: get me to the church on time


3 days later, 11 hours of sleep complete I finally I feel refreshed almost back to me.  Addu's friends and family must think me quite lame, every evening thus far I've played Cinderella leaving by midnight. I don't know if it was a remnant of jet lag or my body adjusting to the climate, but my energy level has been extremely low since arrival in India.

This afternoon is the Catholic service, with the wedding blessing to take place at St. Marks Church.  Earlier someone had mentioned that it would be a short 10 minutes but if it's to be traditional, it will be at least 45 minutes to an hour.  The nuptials are a fusion of Christian (groom) and Hindu (bride) traditions. Afterwards, there will be a reception at the Gayathri Vihar on the Palace Grounds.

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Pre-wedding brunch with Prutha, Tanvi, Venus, Vithra, Sango and Malavika at Konark. We first attempted to walk from the hotel but no one could decide which route was correct; and then we split up into 3 rickshaws, each of us taking  a different circuitous path there. We compared fares in amazement 28rps/34rps/42rps). Breakfast dosa style: crepe pancakes pan-fried with various fillings and chutneys to dip. I have the Masala with potato, and side of lime soda.  Malavika orders a cassata, an ice cream dish similar to spumoni with a layer of vanilla, mango and pistachio ice cream. We settle our bill (approx. $4 pp) and fare una passegiata to Bangalore Central for last minute errand and shopping.

Back at the hotel we shower and change, Tanvi who is in the bridal party goes off to get saree-wrapped and once we are ready we pile into the car to get to the church.  An interesting conundrum is that most drivers, even when an inquiry is made don't seem to know where they are going at any given moment. You must take them at their word and head bobble that yes they do.

The 200 year old cathedral St. Marks is part of the Church of India, founded in 1808. The interior is all white with stained glass windows at the top of each bay window. Most of the windows are open to bring in in the natural light and bring in a light crosswind, to the pews draped with white bouquets and gold and green sashes. The exterior architecture reminds me of a cathedral I visited while in Granada, Nicaragua where the walls were painted a light canary yellow to  reflect the sun and heat.

The ceremony mirrors that of a Catholic Italian service. There is an opening procession which consists of the groom and his mother, a ring boy and flower girl followed by the bridal party and sister to the bride, and ends with the mother escorting the bride to be to the altar.  There are hymns sung; prayers, readings and a sermon from the minister; the blessing of the rings and exchange of vows. Two things of note: a friend of the family Siddharth Abraham presented a beautiful love hymn to the couple (his carriage was a rich and robust baritone) and there was also the addition of a thali blessing, where the groom’s family presents the bride with a long, thick gold chain connected to a string of beads and amulets that signifies the woman’s married status as well as the traditions of the family into which she is marrying. The service closes with a benediction and hymn.

Outside there are smiles and laughter, hugs and handshakes to congratulate, and as there is a bit of time before the reception some of the guests meander over to Koshy's, the quintessential Bangalore eatery for a snack.
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