While in Barcelona Amalia suggested we stay with Swapnil. We met Swapnil back in 2003-4 while in living in the International House but unfortunately we were not able to build a strong relationship while we were there. In Barcelona we got to have the long conversations that we never had back in the day. We spent 5 wonderful days with him and we were able to connect and build a nice friendship. We were invited (or more like we invited ourselves) to his wedding in Goa since we were going to be in India during his wedding.
I’m so glad he was kind enough to invite us. It was a mix between a South Indian and North Indian wedding on the beach. I would like to share the plethora of awesome rituals that were performed but I will not do them justice explaining them. A cool part of the wedding is the Baaraat, originally a procession from the groom’s house to the brides house.
The groom’s family and friends accompany him on this procession and it’s a big celebration, there are drummers and everyone is dancing! The groom is on a white horse enjoying the spectacle. In this case, it was not a house but from the entrance of the Ramada Hotel to the beach which was like a half kilometer of fun.
I’ve never had an Indian girl friend marry so I do not know what happens on her part. When we arrived at the ceremony spot, the bride and her entourage were waiting for us. The stage, or temple, is raised and in white. Many things happen during the next three hours but I understood nothing as all of it is in Hindi and Sanskirt. However, it was wonderful to see the happiness in Swapnil and Rimika’s faces.
In the middle of the ceremony, a sheet is placed between the bride and groom so they cannot see each other until they get married. While the sheet is there, Swapnil and Rimika start throwing rice and flowers over the sheet trying to hit each other acting like happy kids with a huge smile. Close to the end of the ceremony all the guests get to visit them and throw rice over their head as they happily smile.
The night before the ceremony there was a reception on the lawn of the Ramada. Unlike our wedding with toasts, the family and friends of Swapnil and Rimika give a talent show that includes dancing, singing, and playing the flute. The talent show ended with a performance by an african acrobat troop. The reception ended with all of us dancing to the top hits of bollywood movies!