I attended my friend Sumi's wedding in Nilambur this year. The Hindu wedding takes place on a stage at the front of a huge hall which is filled completely. Much payasam is consumed, fed to each of the happy couple by numerous family members as a blessing, amongst many other rituals to seal their marital bond. The stage is also rammed with photographers and videographers galore, all with studio flash setups and what looked like builders lamps for the videographers, which between them meant that the thousands of people watching in the hall didn't see all that much - they were highly intrusive, but all normal procedure it would seem. These coconut oil lamps that ran across the whole of the front of the stage provided an element of serenity to the proceedings. After the ceremony, the guests from the hall are allowed into the dining area - everyone is fed a traditional meal called Sadya, a variety of vegetarian preparations with rice, papadums, savouryu dried banan chips, salt-filled dried chillies, yoghurt, rasam (a type of soup), and payasam for dessert. It's delicious, and a favourite of most Hindus in the area, but I wasn't prepared for the cattle run when the door was opened, middle-aged women in beautiful saris who normally carry themselves with such stately calm were pushing others out of the way and climbing over each other to get through the door and get a good seat, and with about a thousand per sitting, you can imagine how that goes. I tried to get a shot, but was barged out of the way by the aforementioned ladies before I could get a shot I was happy with. I prefer to remember the calmer moments anyway.
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