Street but Sweet


Monday, July 30, 2007

My first Indian wedding! Day 1: Rock n' roll!


A few people have been on my case about not blogging in ages--forgive me, my sched has been terribly hectic! Aside from work and the usual rackets (which keep my sched impossible, but which I am thankful for, of course), I've been meeting up with friends over dinner and dessert, and I actually went out-out (as in Embassy, Martini Bar...watsuuup?) a couple of times. And--news flash for the week!--I found out that I'm gonna get paid to blog starting next month! (More on that in an upcoming post. For now, sssshhh...)

Excuses, excuses.

Part of the reason I've been almost reluctant to write is that I really don't know where to begin. So, as much as writing a chronological account of my Bintan trip is literary katamaran, it's the only way I'll finally be able to blog about it, and I won't put pressure on myself to write something as beautiful as the experience itself. Chika lang.

Here we go...

Day 1

I left Manila bright (well, OK, it was still dark...the sun hadn't risen yet) and early on June 30 to board my PAL flight from the Centennial Airport (did I get it right?), which, by the way is waaay better than NAIA! Up until this point, I had been flying Cebu Pac and Singapore Air, so this was the first time I got to see this airport, used exclusively by PAL. My roommate, Ia, whom I had never met, was nowhere in sight. (My other spur-of-the-moment roomie, my kabarkada Jo, left for Singapore the day before.)

At Changi Airport, I got a text message from Ia saying, "I'm with the big Indian guys. Haha." Ia is practically Indian herself--she's Pinay, but she hangs out with the Indians a lot and is pretty much an Indian-wedding veteran. It turns out, one of the "big Indian guys" she was with was Nanik, a guy I had met more than 10 years ago in Repertory. Small world!

We boarded cabs and headed for the ferry terminal, which was packed with people on their way to Bintan Island, Indonesia for the wedding. According to wikitravel, Bintan "leads a double life: the northen portion of the island, Bintan Resorts, is a colony of Singapore in all but name, full of expensive resorts and manicured lawns...Separated from the resorts by checkpoints and armed guards, the southern half of the island is 'real' border town Indonesia, home to electronics factories, fishing villages, many prostitutes and some low-key beaches."

The wedding was to take place at Bintan Lagoon Resort, so we didn't get to experience "real" Bintan. I had grand plans of taking a tour of the shopping village and a temple and stuff...but the lure of the beach was just so powerful, I ended up surrendering to it my entire stay!

After a 45-minute ferry ride, we arrived at Bintan, where we were whisked away via bus to the resort. As there were about 300 guests (!) in all, all trickling in at different times, you could imagine how many buses were needed, and the logistical challenge it presented to the organizers! When we got to the resort, we were greeted by a welcoming party--dancers and musicians positioned right at the entrance, beneath a "Welcome to Karamchandani-Sehwani Wedding" sign.

"Karamchandani" is Sunil Karamchandani, the groom, while "Sehwani" is Tash Sehwani, the bride, and a batchmate from Poveda. Tash and I share one very important thing, or rather, person: Madhuri, our common best friend. Tash likewise has a Pinay best friend, Teri, and when we were introduced at dance practice (more on that in a succeeding post!), Mads said, "Tisha, this is Teri, Tash's Tisha." Haha.

The lovely couple: Sunil and Natasha. Photo courtesy of Joey.

After getting settled, I set out to look for Jo on the beach. I couldn't find her, but enjoyed my moment of solitude on the semi-Boracay shore (I have yet to find a beach that compares to Bora!). We finally met up, and set about getting ready for the Youngsters' Party that night. The theme: Rock n' Royalty!

Just a sidebar: I remember before, I would ask Mads to hang out, and she would give me the same answer for a few nights, "I have this wedding..." And I would say, "Another one?!" And she would reply, "No, it's the same one." In Bintan, I finally understood why that was. Indian weddings last for days, with all these prayers and parties! The Youngsters' Party was just the first among many.

We were supposed to come dressed as rock stars or as members of the royal family. I have been called "Princess" many times before (go figure), but I figured I had three other nights to look elegant, so rocker it was! I decided to dress as Avril Lavigne in her Girlfriend video. Honestly, it was probably just an excuse to buy Chucks...and wear fishnets for the first time! Haha.

From top: With roomies, fellow rockers Ia and Joey, at the entrance to Silk, the Youngsters' Party venue and apparently the only happenin' place in Bintan; bad-ass Tisha (feeling lang. Haha. Photo from Mads)--the necktie was drawn by the Carlo Vergara! Socks were nicked from H's closet; with my beautiful best friend Princess Mads (center) and her uber-pretty sister, Priti, as Cyndi Lauper (photo from Mads); with Joey, lovely Princess Tash, and a couple of cute little princesses.

Like the rest of our stay, dinner was a buffet with vegetarian options, and drinks were free-flowing! I was sooo happy Jo was able to go. I don't know what I would've done without her! It certainly wouldn't have been as much fun--that first night set the tone for the whole trip, as Happy Jo was unleashed by a few drinks! Haha. Memorable moments: watching Jo attempting to dance ballet (she doesn't remember it though...), dancing with members of Mads's family (which is pretty much my family as well), being taught how to dance Indian steps, and meeting and getting to know Ravi (aka Avin). Aside from being a Vin Diesel-lookalike, he's also the first Christian Indian I've ever met and one of the most interesting people I've ever talked to. Jo and I would spend the rest of our stay hanging out with him and Yogi (who comes in in my Day 2 post).

Top: With Jo and Avin; bottom: another thing I got acquainted with that night: the dessert table!

It was an early night for us as I was feeling incredibly tired from the trip--I love traveling, but I hate being in transit! "Early" at an Indian wedding means around two or three in the morning though! Aside from being exhausted, I had a pounding headache courtesy of the one glass of vodka-Sprite that I had. (Vodka is my killer drink. Why have I not learned that?) I decided to lay off the drinks for the rest of my stay--not an easy thing to do considering the Indians will thrust a drink in your hand every chance they get! I was quite glad to be allergic because it served as my get-out-of-drunkenness-free card! (Apparently, my desire to drink was short-lived. I've decided that I prefer being sober and having a glass of iced tea or cranberry juice in hand, with no itchiness or palpitations to speak of!)

Perhaps this last pic, which shows me on the dance floor with Mads's mom, Auntie Roshni, best conveys how I felt about being there...

Photo courtesy of Mads

...deliriously happy!

More photos in my multiply.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Stolen by Dashboard Confessional

I just had to post this, before I go into my Bintan posts.

This song, as H pointed out, is so Laguna Beach. Haha. But I'm so liking it right now. It's kind of sad and kilig at the same time--reminds me of being so gigil over someone you're not sure you could be with.

My first Indian wedding

It's going to be one of those multi-part entries.

I've been wanting to write about the trip that I just took, but have been so busy since I got back. Any free time I had, I spent sleeping. Still have sleep debt from four straight nights of partying! But the main reason I felt like I couldn't write about it was that it seemed like no words could do justice to what this whole trip meant to me; I couldn't possibly put together an entry beautiful enough to communicate the depth of the whole experience.

In the next couple of entries, I'll be writing about what I saw, ate, did, and whom I met and shared a laugh with. My text would be peppered with anecdotes, but none of them could ever convey how truly thankful I am for this experience. I was talking to Mads last night, and BFF that she was, she knew exactly how I felt, and we both said it at the same time: grateful.