5 of us from IRL flew from Delhi to Baghdogra, which is the military airport of Siliguri. Saw 2 MIGs landing, just after our plane landed, and we also walked by a Pavan Hans helicopter while walking from the plane to the airport.
Akshat had sent a driver to pick us up for the 3.5 hours drive to Purnea, most of which was on NH 31, parts of which are still under construction. So we alternated between nice 4-lane road and dirt road every couple of kilometers. Our driver assured us that in 2010 the whole highway construction will be done, and the whole road will be converted into 6 lanes. But what struck me was that when we were driving on the smoother parts of the roads, we could see that 2 lanes had been taken over by the farmers, to spread corn on the road to let it dry. We are building roads which are serving as drying areas for agricultural products. India rocks !
We reached Purnea at around 6:30 pm, and got a quick tour of Akshat's house - very big, very pretty, complete with a grand circular staircase to the upper floors, a backyard with a vegetable garden and a lush green lawn and a pond with lotus flowers in the front yard. After the tour, we went quickly to the hotel room, got dressed for the Baraat, and reached back to Akshat's place just in time.
We had big plans for dancing in the baraat, but it was soo humid, that within around 20 minutes, we were all wet with sweat, and panting, but even those 20 minutes were a lot of fun !! It has been a really long time since I have been part of a baraat, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Of course, later I felt dehydrated, and had to keep drinking all the varieties of drinks that were being offered, from shikanji, to lassi, to pepsi to grape juice to badam milk, and many others.
The wedding itself was beautiful - the tikka rituals started at 1am, and the actual wedding started only at 3. Akshat had kept us in charge of his 'joote', and of course, Balaji came up with the superb idea to sell the 'joote' to Vimmi's sister, for 50% of the money - the bargaining lasted almost an hour, and was superb fun !
The 'phere' were very cute, with Vimmi walking in the front, and Akshat behind, with his arms around her waist - looked very sweet.
We left the wedding hall at 5 am, when some ritual was still going on, with the priest making designs on Akshat and Vimmi's feet with alta. Went to the hotel room, slept for all of 15 minutes, and left for Katihar station, to catch our train to NJP - New Jalpaiguri.
More about that later.