Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

A Happy Occassion

During my sister’s engagement, one of my cousins made a humorous comparison between North and South Indian weddings. The essence of his description can be boiled down to the following sentence: North Indian weddings are fun, and South Indian ones are not. Despite the images one might see of dancing in Monsoon Wedding, this type of revelry is absent in South Indian weddings. Usually the bride and groom are engaged in parroting a series of verses in Sanskrit told to them by a priest while the attendees catch up with relatives and rate the food.

In the lead-up to my cousin’s wedding last year, I remember a lot of practices were done to avoid violating protocol or upsetting tradition. On top of this, the guest list towered over one thousand names long, which led to a management nightmare.

Given that experience, I didn’t know what to expect when I was invited to my friend Salman’s wedding. The bride and groom were Persian, and since I had neither been to nor seen any depictions of weddings from this tradition, I had no idea what to expect when going there. I was particularly concerned about upsetting Persian sensibilities. During a friend’s bar mitzvah several years ago, I found out the hard way that cash gifts were supposed to be in multiples of 18. Even at my cousin’s wedding, I managed to offend some people because I had apparently tied my dhoti in a manner befitting a peasant.

Past experience and expectations didn’t match the reality of Salman’s wedding. The setting was intimate, and there were no more than fifty guests. As for the structure of the celebration itself, the wedding reminded me partly of Eugene and Richard’s descriptions of Dexter Kozen’s prelimination in CS 312. At this wedding, the guests were either dancing or eating. Before dinner started, we danced to work up an appetite. We then ate dinner, which was followed up by further dancing.

It appears I didn’t have to worry about offending anyone. While there weren’t too many vegetarian options on the buffet line, Salman had asked the chef to prepare me an amazing ravioli dinner. The dancing turned out to be a lot of fun, too. When I began the night, I was unsure of myself on the dance floor. Persian dance relies heavily on hand movements, and I had no clue what I was doing. Luckily, an eight-year-old relative of Salman’s took pity on me and gave me impromptu lessons. By the end of the night, I was a lot more comfortable. As Arash told me, “You picked up some new moves.”

Merci, Salman, for a great wedding. I wish you and Laleh many years of happiness together.


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