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My Indian Roka, Pt. 1

July 9, 2010

In January of 2010, I returned to India after being away for seven months.  The original intent of my visit had been to visit my (at the time) Indian boyfriend.  Over the course of the months that I was away, though, we decided that my January visit would also be a good time for us to become engaged and have our public roka, or engagement ceremony.

When I reached India, there was much shopping and preparation to be done for the ceremony, and only a few days’ time in which to do it.  We had to confirm the location, menu, and guest list.  My fiance still needed to buy his suit, and I needed to find a sari and jewelry.  And, of course, we needed to buy our rings.

Wearing my sari at the engagement ceremony

After a few days of shopping and planning, we had completed our preparations.  We had booked a location for the ceremony; all of the guests had been invited; we had our rings; my fiance had a suit; and I had a beautiful off-white, Georgette sari with gold and copper colored detail.

The morning of the roka, I went to the salon to have my hair styled and my sari wrapped.  I was a little apprehensive at first because the owner of the salon kept trying to cut my hair, saying that it had too many layers in it.  (And I kept refusing, saying that it was a layered hairstyle, and that it was supposed to be cut that way.)  I was very happy with the end-product, though.  My hairstyle stayed in place all day, and the guests commented on how well I wore my sari (Thanks to the hidden twenty-odd safety pins that the women at the salon had used to secure my sari.)

As I drove to the ceremony with my fiance’s masi (his maternal aunt) and his mama and mami (his maternal uncle and his wife), we talked about how lovely the weather was that day, and how fortunate we were, because Delhi had just been experiencing a cold spell.

During the drive, though, I was nervous.  I didn’t know what to expect, or what was expected of me during the ceremony.  And I wished my family could have been there.  (Booking a plane ticket to the engagement ceremony on short notice would have cost my family upwards of $2,000 per person.  My fiance and I decided that it was better for the money go towards my family’s trip to India for the December wedding ceremony, rather than to this engagement ceremony.)

I tried to calm myself down as we approached the Delhi Airforce Golf Club, where the ceremony was being held, and prepared myself for my big entrance…

Click here to continue reading –My Indian Roka, Pt. 2.

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