A note from the author, December 1, 2023:
I realized that this particular old blog post of mine is receiving a lot of Google hits in the aftermath of Ashwin’s devastating death. If you are out there reading this, or clicking out of curiosity as you grieve, please know you are not alone. Ashwin meant so much to me, and I do not yet know what to do with my many old travel blog posts from our time together as partners. When I originally wrote this post, I believed, as I had and did for a long time, that one day Ashwin and I would follow through on our plans to marry. The sadness and pain of grief led me to unpublish all of my old blog posts in the last two months, though they are archived on the backend of my website. So, I am republishing this one post for now, in order for you to avoid receiving an error message when clicking on Google results. If there is a particular blog post you remember reading about him that you would like to have, please contact me directly and I can send you the text. If you do not know me personally, please feel free to utilize my Contact page. Thank you.
This past weekend was the wedding and celebrations of Ashwin’s sister’s wedding. While the days were slow to start (think breakfast at noon) the nights were long and filled with saris, sparkly jewelry, and laughter.
This was my first Hindu/Christian wedding experience, so it was very interesting to see how the bride and groom would combine all of their traditions while meeting both sides of the familys’ expectations. There was a Mendhi party, where the bride gets henna done on her arms, hands, and feet. All of the other women are also invited to get henna done on their hands. I only ventured to getting henna on my left, non-dominant hand. I didn’t trust myself to remember not to do anything with my right hand while the henna paste dried. Traditionally, the women chat while their henna dries, and their husbands bring them food and drink. Oh waiter! *snap snap*
It was at this same Mendhi party that I finally got to wear the beautiful sari that Ashwin’s mother had bought for me in India. There are three pieces– a half shirt, a silky floor length skirt, and then a more decorative wrap that goes on top of everything. Luckily Ashwin’s grandmother did the “wrapping” for me, as it was fairly complicated! At this party, I met much of Ashwin’s extended family and close friends. Many of them commented on how how well I wore the sari, that I looked like an Indian bride myself (thanks Youtube video of “gold Indian bridal makeup”!) As a very pale blonde girl, I thought this was quite the compliment. The 3 inch gold and silver heels might have had something to do with pulling off that sari though.
This was only my second friend-wedding, but as I told Ashwin, this time in our lives is like Bat Mitzvah season all over again. I was honored to be involved with this wedding this past weekend, and really excited about all of the new people who I’ve met and will keep up with!
Location: North Carolina