Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A magical wedding in Bali - Day 2 (June 5, 2012)

I woke up around 5 AM and was in a mood to write, work, think .. in a very quiet way. I did not want to go into town or explore the surroundings. I just wanted to be in my little bungalow. It reminded me of the summer holidays in Eluru where my grand parents lived in a small tile covered home with make shift room made of palm eaves serving as the bathroom in the backyard. I don’t remember my childhood as lacking in anything even though the facilities were minimal. I met James Clark for lunch. He has an organization that is located inside a state park in marin county and it was fascinating to discuss with him on how he worked with west marin citizens to make sure that the potential tourism of the place did not undermine the local ethos. He also talked about Perma culture and we discussed the need to create a 200 year plan (I thought of Raghava as he talks about the same). After our long conversation, I invited James as a speaker for the conference. He left around 1pm and I got ready for the wedding. We were warned, “dare to wear the most dressy outfit that goes with comfortable shoes”. So, I chose wear my flat shoes and a simple cotton kurta.

the bridge we took to get to Elora's wedding
We reached Elora’s home at 2pm and from the back yard of Elora’s family home, steps lead to the bottom of a steep hill to the riverfront where the wedding was set up on a pile of natural rocks. Colorful cushions were placed on rocks to let the guests sit and Elora’s came in a dress made of fresh flowers (see her dress in this beautiful photograph ) and Rajiv wore the traditional Malayali Mundu and shirt. Their friend Tom married them. With the flowing water as the background music, Elora and Rajiv read out the vows they wrote and said, “I do”. I was so moved by the simplicity, elegance, beauty and the serenity of the place. 

After the wedding, we all went on a short hike to get to the next destination.. the wedding reception. In the last week, they constructed bamboo bridges across the river, along the hillside and then we had to climb a muddy hill (thank god! None of us fell. Only our chappals were caked with mud) and we reached a place where fresh coconut water and delicious local snacks greeted us. I ate this snack that was made of Jaggery and was wrapped in palm leaf that was absolutely delicious.

The Banyan tree under which we had the reception dinner
Then, we were driven to the reception site, which was under an old banyan tree that was hundreds of years old. Apparently the main trunk died but the other roots that came out of the tree planted themselves into the earth spreading it very wide. Under the tree, in the shape of a mandala, they laid six long tables, chairs and benches. The tables and benches were all made from discarded wood from the green village. The marimba band from Green school was playing as we entered the arena. The discomfort of the hot summer night disappeared as we were swept away by the magic of the Marimba band and the roots that hung out from the tall tree firmly settled into the soil under our feet. The local children and families gathered as well to enjoy the music.

The Banyan Grove, where the reception took place 
Following the wedding, the guests got to play with rabbits 
Elora in a stunning beaded off white gown and Rajiv appeared amidst cheers and whistles. And then, we all sat and had an amazing meal. After each course, we had to get up with our wine glasses and go around in a circle and choose another place to sit when the music stopped. I got to talk to a lot of interesting people throughout the evening. At the end of the night, there was a disco area created where the disco ball hung from a clump of bamboo poles. I left the party by about 9:30 PM, as the dancing under the disco ball was still under way.

Elora and Rajiv saying "I do" under the big blue sky

All pictures by Shilo Shiv Suleman


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