Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Wedding Season Started

I admit to having a writer’s block. I honestly have nothing funny to write about this week. I am super busy at work because apparently one third of Bangladesh has decided to go and see what America looks like during Christmas while one third of my co-officers have decided to go and see what Australia, Thailand or some other exotic nearby location looks like at the same time. That makes for a whole lot more work and a whole lot grumpier colleagues. To top it off, the State Department has just introduced some major revolutionary changes in our work systems, and given us little to no direction on how exactly to implement them. But, rumor has it President Obama will give us an early release on Christmas Eve! Now THAT is cool.

Let’s see what happened during the last 10 days– I MC-ed a Fashion show/launch of a magazine, got misquoted badly by the press to the effect that the US-India bilateral relations were better than the US-Bangladesh ones during a business visa outreach (did NOT even remotely say anything even distantly close to this), spent a Thursday exclusively in meetings, attended Son’s Christmas party at the French School, had Son subsequently with fever for three days (he claimed it was the cake I gave him??), attended a dinner party, a Christmas party, a dinner in a restaurant that was supposed to include just me, the Diplomat and an acquaintance and ended up having another friend from the Embassy, the owner of a major TV channel and the legal rep of the Bangladesh special police forces.

Then the Diplomat and I also went to a lavish wedding party, where we both knew no one but the father of the bride, a wealthy businessman who was marrying off his third and last daughter. Can I just say that there is NOTHING like a South Asian wedding. Only the first event of three more to follow, it was spectacular. After all guests had arrived (think about 300 of the closest family and friends), elaborate and generous gifts from both sides were marched down the middle of the restaurant hall to the sound of very loud drums (inexplicably, both sides' gifts included baskets full of toothpaste, deodorant, aftershave - remember Old spice, folks? - it was almost like they were preparing the newly weds for some sort of a prolonged bathroom siege). Then the groom came in surrounded by a bunch of his buddies who were blowing oddly loud whistles and settled on one of the chairs on a beautiful raised platform. Soon, the bride came, accompanied by a seemingly endless posse of relatives, each one dressed more splendidly than the other. It was all very elaborate and moving, and as she was passing by me, her mom and I were sobbing inconsolably shoulder to shoulder (I am a hopeless crier, you should see me at Son’s school events, I am like an open fire hydrant on a hot New York summer afternoon). It was fine for her, she was watching her last daughter get married and leave the house. It was real awkward for me since everyone was staring at me and my mascara was not water proof. It was even more awkward since I was the only white woman in the entire hall and all photographers spent hours taking pictures of me, while all the staff pretended not to look at me for 4 hours.

The wedding was awesome – the younger relatives from both sides did a dancing performance for which they apparently practiced for months before the wedding. It was hilarious and really endearing. Then every single person in the hall got on the stage to take pictures with the couple, including us. I must say the bride and the groom (who did not know us) were a bit startled but did not get phased one bit. They apparently had really good wedding training. At any rate, THAT is the way to get married. Thank you, Kausar!
Wedding season is just starting in Bangladesh, and I just cannot wait for the next event! Unless, of course, the world ends on Friday. Which would be a pity on so many different levels.

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