first the fun. last night i happened upon a wedding celebration, and i crashed it, and it was amazing. one of those incredible india moments.
it was Diwali eve, and i was walking home. there was much celebrating going on. after taking a couple pictures of kids lighting sparklers, i saw bright lights coming from behind the block of shops. i thought it was a temple doing diwali prayers so i walked around to go in. it turned out to be a wedding; there were lots of decorations, people dressed up beautifully, a fan blowing cool rose scented air. i went up to the bar and asked them what was going on, if it was a wedding (it was kinda obvious) and they said yes and offered me a drink. i turned that first one down. then i saw some folks dressed up like me at my wedding, in fancy indian suits. one was the brother of the bride. i congratulated him and asked if i could stay a while. he implored me to stay and be his guest. he sat me in one of the chairs. the kids came right up to me and started talking. the women on the other side were watching and laughing, especially when i started singing along to the music that was playing. the couple was on the stage walking around a firepit 7 times while a guy was reciting prayers into a microphone. they had a mickey mouse bounce house for the kids, and popcorn and cotton candy.
then the waiters kept coming by and offering me appetizers. i had just eaten but i didn't want to be rude so i accepted. they were delish. then i got one of the kids to get me some cotton candy. soon i got up and walked around. felt a little badly that everyone was paying attention to me, but whatever the couple was busy on stage anyway.
they had a bar with brightly colored "mocktails", and fire eaters, and a midget dude dancing (that’s a common entertainment here. it didn’t strike me as exploitative, just fun, and he was well paid. that’s a very common thing at parties here.)
the spread was crazy; indian food, bread baking, chinese food, all kinds of stuff.
i kept meeting family members of the happy couple, they were so friendly and welcoming, and all the other random guys wanted to hang out with me too. the kids did first, of course, but then after the adults did too. the decorations were bright and beautiful, it was quite a party.
you can see pictures here:
on the other hand, i was woken up today before sunrise by ridiculously loud explosions. firecrackers for diwali, lit by kids in the streets before 6am, right under my window, which won’t close because the old air conditioner was taken out and the new one has not been put in yet. they were like grenades, you could never find firecrackers this big in the States. i know it’s festive and all, but it wasn’t a great way to wake up. then i had a not-so-great skype chat with my family back home. i’ll leave out the details because i want to respect everyone’s privacy, but those pre-dawn and outrageously loud explosions and that call left me kinda grumpy. PLUS dell computer released a commercial here where they totally rip off a line from the original willy wonka movie without giving any credit. that's low. it’s funny, sometimes i’m walking around outside and people laugh as i pass, or say something to each other, and sometimes it’s great, i join them, life is great, it’s funny that i’m here and being friendly to all, we're all happy to see each other, and other times i perceive it as them laughing at me and it’s just annoying. it’s all in the perception. we create our own experience.
to end on a happy note, i just learned that it’s a tradition on Diwali to play cards and gamble, so i’ll do just that. and my office is having a Diwali Puja (religious ceremony) together this evening, which should be wonderful. so maybe i’ll take a nap and head out for that, and all will be well.
I wish everyone a happy Diwali and a prosperous new year. may Lakshmi smile upon us all this year!