So today, five of us packed into a mini-van while the rest of the former classmates rode motor scooters to the neighboring town where the ceremony would take place.
Here's Tahir (looking rather stunned) and Madhura, the one who took me under her wing. Together, the two of them made sure that I was involved with and generally understood every bit of rice throwing and eating during the day. Plus, her English was exceptional. The room where the wedding took place was a about the size of two tennis courts, with a small stage tacked on the front, and it was packed. The crowd only attended the first portion of the ceremony, and they couldn’t see anything! The bride and groom were completely surrounded on the stage, so the audience only had the singer’s voice to tell them when to throw their rice forward, a gesture towards the happy couple. In such a space, the rice had no chance of making it to the stage, so it all just ended up in the hair of the next person in front.
This is the second of three ceremonies. The bride is giving the groom a bracelet of strings and he does the same for her. Both must remain on for the next three days. Another tradition says that the bride can not say the husband's name until they are officially married. After the ceremony, the grooms friends started teasing Snehe, the bride, and calling for her to say his name. she finally did, in a memorized poem, and they all cheered!