Main image
May 15th,
written by Arthur


Fayaz is hit as he draws me into the action.

After arrival at LAX, I  headed directly to a park for the first event in the weekend of festivities: a BBQ and ceremony for the groom.  At the park, I chatted with Fayaz’s family and friends from Minnesota who I  hadn’t seen in ages.  After maybe an hour, there was a brief ceremony for Fayaz which drew on a number of traditions including negotiations for Fayaz’s purchase of fetched water, the eating of sweets, and waving coins over Fayaz as a blessing.

The next phase was described to me as “mess-up the groom.”  Fayaz said that, while this is usually limited to some shaving cream on the groom, his family takes to an all out round robin of shaving cream, cool whip, water balloons, and silly string.  At the end of the ceremony, the action began.  For about ten minutes, no one was safe.   Things finally calmed down when a brawl nearly broke-out as people were thrown in the lake.  May Fayaz’s Blackberry rest in peace.

A lunch of burgers and chicken tenders was served and, over a meal in the beautiful Cali weather, friends and family had a chance to catch-up.


The Mehndi

After the BBQ, we all had enough time to check into the hotel and grab a drink or two at the bar before heading over to the Mehndi at the bride’s family’s home.  Well, at least the men had a moment of leisure.   The women headed to the bride’s home early for the  application of henna.

When we arrived at Nushin’s family home we headed to the back yard.  I was instantly stunned.  I felt as if I’d walked into a fairy tale or the set of a bollywood movie. Set-out in the warm California night were lounge areas.  Large white soft rectangles covered with brightly colored and shiny pillows basked in soft light.  The seating surrounded an open walled tent with a wooden floor.  The air was filled with the smells of meat cooking in one corner of the yard and fresh fruit in another.

It was on arrival that Fayaz’s male friends, most of us white, learned we would be dancing in a precision (in front of a few hundred people) to lead the groom to the tent.  After being shown a few dance moves the music started and we were off.  Fayaz, dressed in all red traditional Indian attire lead the way surrounded by his poorly dancing friends (also in traditional Indian attire).   The attire consisted of a long top and light pants held with a draw string.  Large pants, with a draw string that was very tricky for this white boy.  Half-way through the dance in I realized my pants were falling down.  Thankfully the top is long and I was saved from exposing myself to the crowd as I danced with my pants at my thighs.

After Fayaz took his thrown like seat under the tent,  Nushin was carried to the tent in an ornate box supported by a pole.  It is fortunate tradition, as Nushin had broken her leg only two weeks before.  Fayaz picked her up out of the box and set her on her own thrown–looking more like a princess than any bride I’ve seen.  Speeches and rituals followed.

Then, it was time to eat.  Nushin, understanding Fayaz’s intense love for shawarma arranged for several large spinning cones of meat served with a spread of other amazing Indian delights and guests ate until they could eat no more.  We lounged and ate as traditional Indian music from a live band wafted over the crowd.  Once satiated, many retired to smoke from the dozen or so hookah’s set-up in the yard.

The festivities ended around 1:30 a.m. and only then because the police showed-up (I’m sure half of LA had been serenaded up to that point).  In a near daze I retired to the hotel for a brief sleep before another day of Cali adventures and wedding ceremonies.


Tags: ,

1 Comment

  1. […] ceremony appeared to closely resemble that undertaken before the mess-up the groom.  A tray held a cup of M&Ms and cups of quarters.  However, this ceremony involved all […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.