Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Harsel & Navin's wedding, 5 Oct 2014

It's a cliche to call an Indian wedding 'colourful'. It's the first thing that hits those accustomed to the formal black & white of Western weddings but it's like sipping a $1000-bottle of Champagne and giggling, "Ooooh ... it's bubbly." In the past eight years I've been to many more Indian weddings than Western ones so my take is biased but the individuality of Indian nuptials, along with the remarkable efforts of the bride's family, raise them above the cookie-cutter, by-the-numbers dreariness of the "I do" church productions I grew up attending in NJ.

Yeah, so not that I've guaranteed not being invited to the weddings of Christian friends anytime soon ....

Aradhna and I attended the Sikh wedding of her work colleague Harsel Kaur Singh and partner Navinder Singh (shown above) in Melbourne's far eastern suburbs this past weekend. It consisted of two ceremonies: a religious one in the morning at Harsel's family's compound in Narre Warren and an early-evening reception at a hall in nearby Endeavour Hills. Morning clouds gave way to early summer sunshine, the bride and groom looked spectacular and no fistfights broke out in the toilets (sorry ... sorry ... channeling the Irish-Catholic-American weddings of my youth).

I wrote on Facebook that Harsel and Navin radiated joy all day long. I'd like to reiterate my hope this joy remains as bright for them both forever.
Sikh pandit (priest) and Harsel's dad welcome the Barat (groom's family) to Mr Singh's home at the morning ceremony.

Families gather over tea and sweets before the ceremony.

Peeps Kathryn, some chick from Fiji, Paddy and Hayley.

Outside the building that would serve as Gurdwara (temple) for the Anand Karaj (ceremony). Heads must be covered inside the temple, and no one did so with more panache than Paddy.

After everyone was seated and respects were paid to the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book), those of us there to witness Navin and Harsel's formal betrothal were treated to spiritual sounds of the Punjab. Harsel's dad Dya Singh is an internationally known interpreter of traditional Sikh hymns called shabad. To Mr Singh's right sat his son-in-law Josh Bennett who, along with wife Parvyn, are members of critically acclaimed The Bombay Royale, a Melbourne-based collective responsible for one of my favourite records of 2014, The Island of Dr Electrico. (You need not know any more -- just download it and thank me later.) To Mr Singh's left was a tremendous percussionist whose name I didn't get but whose playing had all in attendance tapping discretely. Josh displayed a deft touch with at least two stringed instruments (maybe more -- the guy's a wunderkind), Parvyn added occasional harmonies, but it was Mr Singh who conjured a spirituality that required no translation. He sings from his soul, to the soul.

Navin leaves the Gurdwara with a well-protected Guru Granth Sahib.

A convertible Mustang Shelby GT 500 was the day's chariot.

One of my few photos with all of Harsel's immediate family: sisters Jamel and Parvyn and Mr Singh and Harsel's mom.

Harsel with CXC work colleagues and their spouses at the Endeavor Hills reception.

Harsel's sister Jamel did what older siblings do: Bust chops, lovingly.

Harsel's got a work colleague named Marie who makes cakes the way Rembrandt painted portraits. Here, the cake she made for Harsel and Navin is carried from stage to kitchen with GREAT care by her husband Kevin and Ivan, the spouse of another CXC colleague.

I love this shot.
Two of my favourite people flank Harsel -- Reema and her husband Shakti. 

Thanks for inviting us, Navin and Harsel. May your life together be as wonderful as your wedding day.

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