Sunday, December 2, 2007

Wedding parades, money throwing and rain!?

When waking up this morning we only found a faint sun up in the sky, hidden between a flock of grey clouds. grey? clouds? We were joking that it might rain and we should do a dance for the rain gods. Not that we did the dance, but a few hours ago it did start raining! The first drops since we've been here in the Indian heat, wow. It were just some slight drizzle drops, even barely enough to make you wet. It probably doesn't sound exciting to most of you up there in northern hemispheres, but after 6 weeks of dry heat your longing for some natural moisture grows by the day. water...water...! We haven't even reached the Thar desert -the real desert- yet. Normally when someone writes about rain, it's put in a tone of complaint. Now we find ourselves cheering the rain on. Who says you can't switch sides in a game of weather.... ;)

It's wedding season here and you can't get around it. Since last week the streets are filled with music and parades, following one wedding party to the next. Ofcourse the fireworks are back too, every occasion seems to suit them.
Marching bands lead a musical parade for the bride and groom's family and they follow the band while they walk to one of the many courtyards for party purposes. The music is loud, chaotic and joyous. It fits really well within the Indian spirit. At the head of every parade, there is the cart with amplified speakers to which the keyboard is attached. The keyboard leads the melody in finger-twisting ways while drums keep the rhythm going. Trumpets, clarinets, trombones and tuba's are added for the extra brass dimension in this walking fanfare experience. The style has lot in common with the eastern European gyspy brass bands, but the Indian sound is much faster on the melody that is driven by the keyboard, to match the Rajasthani folk style as all songs played are the famous Rajasthani folk songs. Funny thing is that at a certain moment males and females of the wedding party do a certain folk dance in the middle of the street. They dance with the hips, do turn-arounds and small stepovers. The brass section surrounds them and plays on while the drums start playing harder and faster so that the dancing quickens too. At this point relatives or friends dance themselves into the circle and throw money notes at the persons doing this special dance and blend into the family crowd again. It's bizarre, but this custom is also done in eastern Europe when marching bands play at weddings, or likewise for themselves when performing at a concert.

Yesterday after we left the internet cafe, we didn't know where we wanted to eat so we followed some noise that sounded like a wedding. We found ourselves walking -crashing- a wedding party in one of those open courtyards and on the stage -every party must have a stage- there was a whole show going on with dancing and lip-syncing family members. One after the other teenager or adult danced in a specific song for the bride and groom. The dancing is a form of honoring and entertaining the bride and groom and the Indian people are all too happy to get footloose. So yeah there we stood gazing at the entertainment and soon enough we got invited by relatives to eat. 'Yes, go ahead eat, you must, please take', like being ordered to do so. While we were eating various high class catered food, 2 Indian persons desperately wanted to take us to the wedding of their brother across the street. Yup, weddings everywhere! So we followed them and there we got more superb food served. We were stuffed! The guys were constantly asking us to go up on the stage and dance for the bride and groom, oh dear. We luckily managed to avoid it by changing the subject or sneakily diverting attention to each other 'oh not me, maarten is a real good dancer, see him!', or 'but really, seb is much better than me' and that sort of talk, haha ;)
We think that those 2 guys brought us into the wedding as hopeful comic relief, to entertain them or something like that. Tourists do get set up for that -hmmm, remember my lonely adventure in Ajmer?- It might be a way of paying for yourself at a wedding, who knows? What karaoke is to Japanese, dancing is to the Indians, surely!

here an excerpt of the wedding band marching the streets! The recording cracks a lot because those speakers have their levels turned way over the limit. Those things are evil to your ears I tell you.

Pushkar wedding band - march (short)

here a recording of the money throwing dance!

Pushkar wedding band - special money dance (short)

here some wedding and wedding band pics, yeah!

with the band


the parade lights carried by boys, powered by a generator on wheels

the parade and glimmering music cart!

Some Travel Viddies thrown in for fun:

Wobly waking up by our tourist friends (remeber them from way back?) in the train entering Rajasthan

Boy relieving himself next to a stylish designer bag:

next post will come from southern Rajasthan. -hmmm but the dail-up speed in Bundi doesn't go well with your patience grrrrr-


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