Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Marriage and Ootah!

Imagine driving 1200 miles on your car spanning over 20 hours. It certainly looks ominous, but mad fellows that we are, we travelled the entire distance to and fro. Yadu, Rama and I decided to take the road route to avoid massive expenditure that could be incurred from a flight journey. So, we started looking for good deals to rent a car that would provide us with unlimited mileage outside Missouri. This advantage could not be gained by hiring a car at Rolla. So, we had to look for car rentals outside Rolla, and finally zeroed up on Budget in St. Louis. By the way, if you are wondering why we had to go all the way to Utah, it was because we were invited to be a part of Ashwin's wedding ceremony.

We left for St. Louis on August 16 by hiring a car from Rolla. Thankfully, one of the guys dropped us all the way to St. Louis. We were provided with a premiere vehicle in the form of Mercury Marquis to travel all the way. Later did we realise, that it was going to be a guzzler. We were getting a mileage of only 24 for the entire trip. There were only two drivers for the entire trip in Yadu and Rama, while the third person was busy reading Mahabharata and PG Wodehouse in the back seat. No prizes for guessing who the reader is! We first concentrated on the drive to Kansas City, because that's where we were expected to have lunch. We took the buffet at 2PM at Korma Sutra. This place is in the downtown and it wasn't as delicious as the one which is off the city limits. After a hearty meal, we settled for an eight hour drive to Denver, which is in the mountainous limits of Colorado. We reached Denver at about 11 PM, and we were thankful to spend the night in the confines of Rama's cousin's place.

After a good brunch next day, we were set to travel to Salt Lake City, which was a 10 hour travel from Denver. This was a pretty good drive and the scenic beauty was a sight to behold as the roads were encapsulated in a mountainous background, providing a breathtaking view for atleast four hours of the travel. We were also rendered offtrack, as we took on unpaved roads at a particular junction, and travelled on that road for about an hour. If you are wondering what we were doing traveling on unpaved roads, we have Yadu's GPS you see. That made things really simple! We reached Salt Lake City at about 10 PM, and Ashwin had made the necessary arrangements for our stay at the hotel. We were then taken for dinner at a nearby pizza joint.

We got up early next day, and started to get ready for Ashwin's big moment. We had to wear our suits and ties, and present ourselves for the occasion. It was an Indo-American marriage, and we got to witness the gest of both the styles. It was obviously an emotional moment for his parents. It is definitely a big occasion for everyone concerned. The marriage was conducted at the Salt Lake Temple, a part of the Mormon religious heritage center. It is a massive structure where all are allowed to admire the stunning edifice of the temple and its immediate surroundings. But, the entry to the temple is limited only to the Mormans. There was a joyous gathering of well-wishers and relatives, and as the couple emerged out of the temple, were greeted with loud shrieks. The couple were then photographed with every relative and friend present in the temple, and each movement was captured in a new frame. That should give you the estimate of the number of photographs taken.

We then moved on to the Willard, a building which is just two streets away from the temple. At the 23rd floor, a luncheon was organized along with the religious ceremony to be conducted in Indian style. There was a priest from the local Indian temple at Utah to conduct the ceremony. It went on for about half an hour, with the bride and the groom attired in Indian style. With the formalities completed, we feasted on the Indian menu - Cashew Biryani, Channa Masala, Saab Alu, Butter Naan, Paneer Masala, Paysam and Mango Lassi.

By the time, we went back to the hotel, all of us had our eyelids battling for rest. All of us had a sound sleep and awakened in the evening to have a good Indian dinner at Bombay House. We did not have much time for sight-seeing, as we were all tired too. So, the next day, we bid adieu and headed back to Rolla, but this time a 20 hour non-stop travel that included the night too! It was good to be safe and sound back in Rolla.

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