Through a beige haze we are diving head first from the blue sky towards that place on earth that is like no other. Leaving a little over one year ago, not knowing when to return. The wedding of my Indian sister brings me back to Delhi. This time my bag arrived with me, getting my out of the airport in less than 30 min. Funnily enough I was faced by the same, or an equally funny guy at immigration when going through customs. Again I was hailed to the diplomats only queue and greeted with the biggest smile and a ‘very good morning to you too madam’. ‘You work for Vodafone? Then please tell me the best scheme for me and my family’. ‘Why you don’t know? You work for Vodafone and you don’t know about the best deals?’. Even with this disappointment I got a smile and a welcome to India.
One of my friends picked me up, having slept only a few hours after an exhausting Holi festival, with the pink paint still stuck in his ear. During that drive through the streets of Delhi he explained that almost everything as I knew it had changed. The home I used to live in, the office, the people. Yes, that is Delhi, changing swiftly to keep up with the immer growing and booming India.
But I didn’t come for Delhi. I came for a wedding. An extravagant, big, fat, Indian wedding. And although I had my share of Indian weddings over the years, it has never been the wedding of my Indian sister. That person in this world who made me feel at home in India, who would cheer me up, laugh with me, and join me for crazy party nights. So when she announced she would have her wedding in March, I booked a ticket and prepared for a week of events which was impossible to prepare for. As for all Indians the collection of events would be logical, and provide enough backdrop for attire choices, I had absolutely no clue. Luckily Indians always say it will be arranged, so I was not too much worried when the full agenda of events was shared. And I was accepting that at least once this week I would be that ‘stupid foreigner’ who doesn’t get it.
Getting out from the taxi in Safdarjung enclave, in front of the corner shop, before the street becomes too narrow to drive through, my friend is walking towards me, and I couldn’t be happier to see her again. Immediately making fun of my stupid bag, I knew she hasn’t changed. Food, chats, more food, driving around to pick up stuff followed in sequences. Only in India you can get so much arranged only days before the actual wedding. I think it is that attitude of being carefree, knowing there will be a solution to everything, is what I love most about Indians.
The week has gone by in a haze. Not because of the every increasing Delhi pollution, but because of the endless number of parties, brunches, lunches, dinners, ceremonies, the actual wedding, and formal reception. Indulging immensely on the delicious foods, the rich conversations, and the company of people. From Monday to Wednesday I arranged an office to work from, giving me some breathing space from the wedding craziness and bride tantrums. However when after all the ceremonies we would sit on our bed, chatting, laughing, and eating, listening to mantras before falling asleep, I was happy to be there for my friend. To be there for her to shout at, order around, get her stuff, and telling her it will all be ok.
During this week my friend looked absolutely amazing. The incredible dresses of the most beautiful fabrics, intricately decorated with embroidery, becoming even more fascinating by the carefully selected delicate jewelry. However the best of all was her radiating smile, even when scolding at her friends and family. The dancing, the laughing, the sincere love for the people who were there for her. And a lightness in life, when applying some foundation and softly farting in the washroom.