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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Chp 599. Triple weddings in Mizoram

For most Mizos who work or study outside Mizoram, one of the things we hate the most about not living in Mizoram is the fact that we end up missing the weddings of so many close friends and relatives back at home.

Whether one is studying or working, it is very difficult to take a leave just like that to fly home to attend a wedding. Back when I was working @ Webchutney, I had attended at least 10 weddings in Mumbai. And it was no big deal. If it was a colleague's wedding, we would all meet up in office, change clothes, go to the wedding, eat, go back to office, change clothes, and then continue with our work.

I can't do the same with a wedding in Mizoram. First of all, the journey back home is long and tiring. Secondly, as I have mentioned earlier, "leaves" are hard to get. Thirdly, we can't just go home for a wedding and then fly back (although I do know people who have done that). Since we hardly get to go home, we want to spend at least a week or two there. Fourthly, travelling home is expensive.

So, because of the above reasons, I have missed so many of my friends' weddings.

But this time, things were a bit different.

During my recent short vacation back home, I got to attend THREE weddings! Oh Yeah!

[click on all pics below to enlarge to a new window]

I guess a lot of people tied the knot in the month of December. But even though I managed to attend three weddings during my short Christmas vacation, I still missed four of my friends' weddings which took place in December - Alan weds Czi, Jonathan weds Tediki, Chhama weds Rempuii, and Lizy weds Mama.

I even missed my own cousin Hriatpuia's wedding by a few days, as I had already booked my flight tickets to Mizoram for the 20th of December (we must book our air tickets wayyyy in advance because they are expensive during Christmas season as many Mizos travel home to be with their families, and the tickets get over quickly too).

But at least I got to attend three weddings, so there's that.

The first wedding was my friend from Mumbai Lalrinsanga's wedding. Sanga is currently the MSYM (Mizo Student and Youth of Mumbai) leader and MMA (Mumbai Mizo Association) executive member. So I knew a lot of my friends from Mumbai were going to turn up.

Ben picked me up from my house and we proceeded to the wedding venue together.

I was really excited about the wedding too because it was going to be my first experience at a Salvation Army wedding. The venue of the wedding was at Aizawl Salvation Army Temple, and we luckily managed to find a parking space near Zodin Square. The Church was really big, and it was quickly filled up.

Unlike other denominations, in a Salvation Army wedding, the bride and groom, along with the bridesmaid and best-man, faced the entire congregation throughout the service, whether while standing or sitting! It was definitely not something introvert people like me would find easy to do :D The bride also wore a very smart Salvation Army uniform. The bridesmaid on the other hand, didn't have to wear an SA uniform if she belonged to a different denomination.

The music was also great as all hymns were accompanied by the awesome Salvation Army musical band, who enthralled us with their trumpets and clarinets and the complete works. At the end of the wedding service, the bride and groom walked out of the Church while everybody else remained seated.

After that it was photo session time. Photo session is an important part of any Mizo wedding, and there was a list already prepared where different groups were called out systematically to pose for a photo with the bride and groom. Example - the bride's side of the family, the groom's grandparents, the bride's colleagues at so and so office, the groom's classmates from so and so school, etc etc. My friends and I belonged to "the groom's friends from Mumbai" group. :)

After the bride had changed from her Salvation Army uniform to her wedding gown, the photo session started. We Mumbaikar Mizos waited for our turn to come.

Hehe in the above photo, it was only later that I noticed my dear friend Adam Halliday in the selfie background, who was cosily chatting up with another girl. Busted! :D :P

Finally, it was our turn for the photo shoot. All Mumbaikars went up on the stage.

After that it was snacks time. We proceeded downstairs to their community hall where there were delicious pastries and croissants waiting for us.

Coincidentally, four blog friends of mine too turned up at the wedding venue. I met Didini, Lal and Zara. Andy too apparently came but I didn't see him, as there were people everywhere. However I managed to take a selfie with Didini and Lal for our Bloggers WhatsApp group.

And with that, the wedding was over. Most of the people moved to the feast venue (I'm not exactly sure where it was held). I didn't participate in that as Ben had some other plans and I didn't want to go to the feast venue all alone. And so he dropped me back home.

I wish Sanga and Awmi all the very best in their new endeavour, and may they always be happy together for as long as life exists. I just want to quickly add here before moving to the next wedding - Sanga is one of the most modest persons I have ever come across, and I am truly happy to see him settling down. Cheers to you both.

Next on the wedding agenda was Stephanie Halliday.

Stephanie is a part of our "Ryders" group of friends, and as some of you may have seen my earlier post [In Memory of Mapuia], we are a very closely knit group of childhood friends.

Hence apart from the usual wedding invitation my family received, I also received the "special invitation", which is traditionally meant for the closest friends of the bride or groom.

Here is one of the photos of Stephanie, getting ready on the eve of her wedding :)

On the day of the wedding, our Ryders gang went by taxis instead of our own bikes or cars because it was going to be a big pain trying to find a place to park near the Church. We knew a lot of people were going to come for the wedding because the bride's side was the Hallidays, and the groom's side was the TBL dynasty. Two very popular and affluent families in Aizawl.

Matea, Parteii and I sat in one taxi.

And just as expected, the huge Khatla Presbyterian Church, considered as one of the biggest Churches in Mizoram, was completely filled up.

I was sitting in the balcony on the right... I did manage to take a few photos with my mobile phone.

There was this really funny moment when Stephanie, after signing the papers, turned around to go back to her seat (which you'll notice, is not facing the people). But when she turned around, apparently it was wrong or something, so she spun around again in the opposite direction. It was sooo hilarious, and we could see her face turning red like a ripe tomato. Ahhh typical Stephanie :D

Soon the wedding was over, and like before, the bride and groom left the Church first. And another tradition is the handing of the flower bouquet to the bride, which is usually done by a young girl from the groom or bride's side of the family.

After that, the people too walked out of the Church in a systematic fashion. Since I was the last person to leave from the balcony, I took one quick photo of the beautiful Church.

The photo session started while others were having the refreshments.

The community hall where the wedding function activities were held, like the wedding cake cutting ceremony, solos and other recreational activities.

Meanwhile, our Chaltlang group of friends went outside the Church compound since some of us wanted to smoke. We took a few photos here and there.

After the recreation function, there was a big feast held at the groom's house. But we instead went back to Chaltlang as it was time to "see off" Stephanie. By the time we reached her house, it was already packed inside, so we all sat outside.

And here is the final farewell moment. As according to tradition, important relatives and close friends from the groom's side were there to accompany Stephanie to her new home in Khatla. Her entire luggage and belongings were packed in the awaiting vehicles. Stephanie cried a lot, knowing this was goodbye...

And with that, they were gone.

Now the rest of us continued with the awesome dinner Stephanie's parents had prepared for us. We ate our fill. It was delicious.

We'll miss our Stephanie of course, but nobody's going to miss her as much as her family will. Here's me wishing Stephanie and her husband a very happy and prosperous future.

The after-wedding party was held at Siby Farm. Many of my friends went and I really wanted to go too, but I couldn't because the next day was my nephew's wedding. As a family member, it was my duty to be present at their house to help out with whatever work was needed to be done.

And so, here's the third wedding I went to - Oma weds Manuni.

Oma is my cousin Muanpuii's son. He's one of the funniest person I've known, always coming up with really funny and corny jokes at any situation. And the bride Manuni also happens to be an Ex-Mumbaikar. She was what we would say in Mizo as "Kan nau" back when she was studying in Mumbai. I still remember how surprised I was when I learnt they were in a relationship. Such a small world indeed.

I did what I could with the decorations...

Now this marriage was a bit different from the one above, even though both were conducted at a Presbyterian Church. In our denomination, there are two types of marriages, called "Dan khatna" and "Dan Hnihna". Basically, in the first type, as you can see from the other marriage service above, it takes place inside the main Church. The second type takes place in the Church's community hall.

This was a "Dan Hnihna" wedding. When we reached the venue, Oma was sitting there all alone, waiting for his best-man to bring the bride and the bridesmaid (the best-man was also my nephew, and the bridesmaid was none other than my friend Kukui's sister!).

Poor guy, I could see how nervous Oma was even from behind :D

I also managed to take a close-up photo of his shirt which wasn't tucked in properly. I sent it to our cousins WhatsApp group immediately :D

Soon, the bride arrived and the wedding service started. Since I was sitting in the front at a very exposed region, I didn't take any more photos of the wedding until it was over.

And yup, here was the flower girl handing the bouquet to the bride.

The first photo session was with my dear aunt, Oma's grandma.

Hehe someone took a photo of my uncle Dr. Malsawma taking a photo of the bride and groom.

Here are some of the photos from the photo session...

There was this really awkward moment when the next group to take a photo with the bride and groom was "the groom's cousins". When that was announced, I went forward to take part in it, when one of my cousins abruptly reminded me that I was an "uncle" and not a "cousin". Dayymmm, I had spent so much time with these kids that I thought I was one of them! See how grownup my nieces and nephews are!

I did eventually go for the photo session twice. One was "the groom's relatives" group, and the other was "the bride's friends from Mumbai" group. Below are the Mumbaikars.

The after-wedding ceremony was held at Oma's house.

After that it was time for the feast.

Mumbaikars enjoying the food :)

The bride and bridesmaid too changed into something more casual...

I too took a photo with both my nephews, the groom and the best-man. As you can see, the theme was "red tie" so all male family members and close friends of the groom were wearing one.

Once everybody was done eating, the bride and groom had their dinner...

After that, it was partaaaayyy time :D

The after-wedding party was held at CVee Farms.

My sister and cousins hired a taxi because our Wagon R was in the workshop. As I mentioned here - "Fishing, the Mizo way", we went on a long drive to Kolasib. Unfortunately, our car couldn't take that much heat so we had it completely patched up when we got back (and then a few days later, the MSU and the police "fought" in front of our house and extensively damaged our car. If only we knew that was going to happen anyway, we would have never spent so much on the repair works! But then again, that is a different story).

And so my sister and cousins went to the after-wedding party at CVee Farms. Oh man, we had to climb like a million steps, and old farts like me gasped for air by the time we reached the top.

But it was worth it. The place was very secluded and private. Oma had hired "security guards" meaning only invited guests with special plastic wristbands were allowed to enter. And that was a really wise move. At such parties, group of men young boys, especially gate-crashers, tend to get drunk and end up fighting.

We really had an amazing time!

Below are a few more photos I randomly clicked here and there... No more words, just pictures. Because in some cases, the less said, the better :D

And how do you know if you had an amazing time? When the taxi driver you hired for the night had passed out! Lolzzz.

I ended up driving the freaking taxi all the way to my sister's house, with the taxi driver completely passed out at the back! :D And from there, my brother-in-law said he would take care of the driver and he dropped me home instead. Lolz, what a crazy night indeed!

To end this post, here is a very cute and romantic video I took of the bride and groom on their first dance. Hehe I know Manuni is going to kill me for uploading this, but hey, look at the bright side, I'm your uncle now. Lolz.

Wishing Oma and Manuni all the very best too. So I guess I will end here and see you all at my next blog post then. Cheers.