Monday, August 18, 2014

Sangeet 101 for Non-Indian People

I had the honor of attending my first Sangeet this weekend, as my friend and neighbor, Neha, is getting married next weekend. This was a great new experience, but I wish I had been more prepared.

Being the nerd I am, I tried to do a little research before I went to the event. Most of what I found lead me to believe that I was going to a bridal shower with singing and dancing, so I left Joe at home.
Woohoo! Girls night!...Except Not.

That was my first mistake.

While they are traditionally for the women - nowadays both men and women are invited.

I decided to wear a black dress, since the event was at 7, I thought cocktail attire would be appropriate. The actual appropriate wear is a Sahri. If you can, try and get your hands on one - and you should try because everyone else will be wearing one. If you can't, then you should wear bright colors, not black.
Amy wearing a lovely bright colored dress and her handsome date, Zach.

Lizzy and John looking great!

Lizzy, Amy, and I with the beautiful bride.

The event started with a cocktail hour with some great hors d'oeuvres of lentil pancakes, tikka chicken, and marsala chickpeas. Before the main event even started I had already stuffed myself.
Giant plate of chicken!

Chana Dal aka Indian pancakes!

Then we moved into a dining hall where the bride and groom to-be sat on top of a stage on a "throne" while their family and friends performed dances for them. In the middle of the dance that the nieces choreographed for Neha and Sameer, one of the older uncles danced his way into the middle of their dance and started showering the dancers with dollar bills.
Bride and Groom on the throne ready for performances!

Friends dance for the bride and groom.

I know, I was confused/shocked as well. Turns out though, that is the guests' way of showing their appreciation for a wonderful performance! All the Aunties and Uncles soon joined in as well to shower the dancers with appreciation - they deserved it as they were all very good, especially Neha's sister who performed a special solo number for Neha.

Then all the women were asked to join Neha in the center of the dance floor for some clapping and singing by one of the older ladies. All of sudden, some of the Aunties got very into the rhythm and stood up and started dancing. Since I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do or if I was supposed to join, I just held my seat at the outer edge of the circle and continued to clap along. (Side bar: Neha's family can really dance!)

Finally it was time for dinner - I thought I was full, but it seems I can always stomach more Indian food. Though, I learned to beware of the "pickles" - they're not meant to be eaten alone, but more as a sauce for other food (they're very salty).
Delicious dinner, but beware those pickles on the left side of my plate.
I had to head out early, but when I was leaving the party was in full swing! Can't wait for the big show next weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment