Sunday, 22 January 2012

Delhi weddings are GRAND

18th January, 18.30 hours I left the Ahmedabad railway station for Delhi.  Generally every year I go to Delhi before 14th Jan. mostly for work purpose.  This time it was work combined with attending a marriage.  I had only heard and that too about the marriages of few really rich people, how lavishly they organize the marriage functions of son's and daughter's.  So here was my chance to attend one Delhi marriage. :)  Though I was not even slightly excited about the lavishness of this marriage while in the train.  We were altogether 6 people, all customers of this vendor who had invited us for his daughter's marriage on 19th Jan.  We all were informed that a hotel room was booked for everyone of us and there were also customers from other cities arriving either on 19th morning or in the afternoon.  Only thing that the trains from the South-East part of India were all running 5 - 8 hours late because of the heavy fog that comes down on Delhi during winter.  

We reached Delhi about 90 min. late than our scheduled time.  Atulbhai who was their distributor in Gujarat was managing everything for us.  He got a call when we reached Old Delhi railway station that a car has been send for us.  So finally we reached Hotel Tourist on Qutab Road, Paharganj.  Everyone was given a room to be shared with someone.  The marriage was in the evening on the out skirts of Delhi on Delhi - Jaipur highway.  We were suppose to reach the venue by 21.00 hours.  Generally the marriages in Delhi start very late.  So we all decided to gather at the hotel around 19.00 hours and leave by 19.30.  Everyone got ready, had breakfast and left for their work.  

I had to meet few vendors and that was all.  We all reached the hotel and were ready by 19.30.  Finally everyone came down and were waiting to board the mini buses.  Meanwhile I met other guests from Nagpur, Bareilly, Indore, Chennai, Vijaywada.  After approx. 90 min. and juggling between the heavy traffic of Delhi we reached the venue and as we entered the main gate I saw that the Barat (Groom's procession) had just arrived.  The main venue was little bit inside and there were security guards with illuminated sticks guiding the vehicles to the parking lot.  We got down and reached the main entrance and the first thing I said was 'WOW'.  The hugely decorated main entrance itself was a sign how big and grand the inside stage and center will be.  We all were staring at the main entrance :-0 and finally entered the huge venue.  I was just stunned by the decoration in and around the venue.  

The whole space was surrounded by artificially decorated walls with lights illuminating the craved sections on the walls.  The main stage was at the far end in the middle in white and light pink color, decorated with several flower arrangements.  On its right was a stage built for all the performances that were going to happen that night.  On the back wall of this stage there was a huge picture of the bride and groom.  A huge decorated sitting arrangement was there right in the middle of the venue.  There were big peacocks erected at several places across the venue and they were all decorated with flowers.  Several gas towers were put to keep the guests warm as the temp. had gone down to 3 deg.  The entire floor was covered with artificial grass mattresses.  There were several people moving across the venue serving north indian starters to all the guests.  On one corner of the venue there was a huge tent built as a bar.  In no time the whole tent was filled with men.  Yes mostly men.  There were several counters serving South Indian starters, Chats, Chinese and Mexican starters.  There was a separate fruit counter and it mostly had all the uncommon fruits.  A separate  counter for non-alcoholic cocktails.  And finally on the extreme left covering approx. 25 % of the venue were the main food counters.  

The first hour I spend meeting different vendors from Delhi and Mumbai that had come for the wedding.  Meanwhile the baraat arrived and we went their actually to meet the person who had invited us all.  This man 20 years back was nothing.  He was working with a small company in the admin.  People in my trade still today sing his story of success.  How he had started a small venture and in doing something different from the competitors made him a huge name across India in my trade.   We all greeted him, congratulated him and gave the presents to him.  The groom was welcomed and guided to the stage in grand style.  And in few minutes the bride arrived sitting on a peacock carriage.  The carriage was lifted by few men and they carried the bride towards the stage.  As the bride reached the stage the groom came down the stairs to greet the bride.  Soon a string of bollywood songs were playing in the back ground.  Both the bride and the groom were on the stage and it was time for 'JAIMALA'.  The bride and groom were ready to exchange the garlands and while they were putting the garlands across each others neck, they were showered with rose petals by 2 machines on each sides.  Fire crackers went up in the sky on all corners and at the back 2 cranes raised a long string with crackers that was lit during the jaimala ceremony.  Soon the relatives and well wishers started coming on the stage to wish the couple and give them the presents.

And it was time for us to relish at the food counters.  I had my dish and started going from one counter to another.  Never had I seen so many food dishes in a marriage.  I was already full with the starters but didn't wanted to loose out on the main course.  I started with Shahi Paneer, Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Papad, some salads, Dal Makhani, Palak Paneer and 2 hot Phuka's.  The food was just delicious and I was relishing every bite of it.  I went a little bit ahead and there was one of my favorite dish.  Sarson da Saag and Makke di Roti.  Hot Gulab Jamuns along with atleast 10 other sweets.  In total there were 17 dishes of vegetables, 4 dishes of rice and one full counter of various salads.  Not to forget there was one counter of pastries, pudding and cakes, hot badam - kesar milk, kulfi's, ice cream and hot coffee too.  Aah I was simply stuffed now.  Not even an inch of space left in my stomach.  I was now roaming across the venue, waiting for others to finish there dinner.  I came to know while talking with few people that the father of the bride had gifted her a Mercedes 'S' class as a wedding gift.  There were approx. 2000 guests and one dish was costing approx. 2200 Rs.  People were discussing that in my trade in Delhi, this was the most grand marriage till date in Delhi.  It was really getting chilly and once everyone was done we decided to leave.  Outside was a big stall of Indian mouth freshener PAAN.  How can any lavish dinner end without having Paan  ?  So we all had one as per own choice and headed back to the hotel.

For my next 2 days in Delhi I had few talks with other vendors about the wedding.  Seems it became the talk of the market.  Surprisingly someone was just overwhelmed by the grandeur of the marriage while some were just criticizing the management or the taste of food or the number of dishes.  All in all for me it was one hell of an experience.  

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