We arrived at the grooms house to find about fifty other friends and relatives already waiting to leave. The house was busy with excitement as the mountain of luggage was being organised. Two cars and a huge sleeper coach were waiting to take us on the 10 hour drive to the city of Aurangabad. As we waited to leave aunties were telling me how my situation is just like the soap opera they have been watching, ‘Firangi Bahu’, a new serial about a girl from London who comes to India to live with her in-laws. I wonder how that is going for her…
Finally everyone was ready, one of the aunts had the job of going around applying tilak (red mark on the forehead) to everyone, it must have taken a while as there were so many people! It is auspicious for Hindu ceremonies to begin with the application of tilak topped with a few grains of rice placed with the index finger and the thumb. The groom was beginning his journey to his beautiful wife-to-be!
Before we could set off, a small ceremony was performed in front of the car the groom was travelling in and a coconut was broken outside the house. The coconut is said to be the purest form of offering that one can give to God. We then took a short journey to the beautiful Maa Durga temple to break another coconut and to take the darshan (to see the deity) of the Goddess Durga.
We rang the large brass bell hanging at the entrance of the temple as we entered, walked up to the gorgeous deity and put our hands together. There was such a serene kindness in her eyes. Goddess Durga is the supreme female energy who gave birth to the universe. Just like a mother, Goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and removes their miseries.
As we left Nagpur a third coconut was broken, the Indian road trip had now officially begun!
We were travelling through the night and due to arrive in Aurangabad at 7am! We all traveled together in a convoy, the coach and the cars so we made many stops for various different reasons. My husband and I were in the second car and found it difficult to sleep, both of us have long legs so we couldn’t find a good sleeping position. On one of our many stops I tried my first cup of chai from a chaiwala (someone who sells tea, usually on the roadside)! It was as sweet as syrup, I didn’t want to drink too much because I didn’t want to have to use the bathroom on the side of the road!
Half way through our trip we picked up some more guests, we had to pick them up in the car because the coach was too large to negotiate down the small roads to the guests houses. For a short time my husband and I were joined by an aunty, her child and another uncle in the small space we were sitting, it was a squeeze! Luckily it was only a short ride to the bus and we could breathe again.
At about 3am I started to drift off, too tired to keep my eyes open. We suddenly stopped again to pick up another uncle, he sat in the seat in front of me. The car was silent and peaceful, everyone was sleeping. The new passenger wasn’t really into that, so he took out his phone and started to play his ringtones really loudly, I was in absolute disbelief! I couldn’t help but laugh at this crazy situation, how can you sit in a car with 5 strangers and wake them up with your ringtones in the early hours? It reminded me of those kids who sit on the back of the buses in England, playing music from the phones really loudly, thinking they were cool but everyone would to cover their ears. Spitting out of the window periodically was his other antisocial habit, the spit dropped decorated my window.
The sun started to rise, the beautiful sky was one thousand shades of pink and the countryside around Aurangabad was breathtaking! Majestic buffalo were already pulling carts and children were already playing. There was also another, less romantic addition to the scenery, a lot of people were going for their morning poop. I was surprised at the amount of people who were pooping in wide open spaces next to the road, there were plenty of trees nearby to hide behind.
We arrived at the wedding destination and were greeted by the brides family with roses, chai and biscuits. A wonderful start to what was a wonderful wedding! Next stop… checking into our hotel