It was so great to have Allan, Boo, Larry, Jardine, Steve and Max at one table at breakfast -- this hasn't happened in years! We all ate a great breakfast and got ready for our day.
Max rented a cab for 4 hours and we first went to Neha's Boutique -- she was working on my two sari blouses. I went up to check on them while Boo, Jardine, Steve and Allan went to the Boutique. My blouses will be done tomorrow, and they can fix Jardine's blouse for her.
Meanwhile, down at the Boutique Boo found an outfit that looked stunning on her, but required alteration. Because each piece is its own piece of art (Neha's design), they can and will tailor anything. Jardine also found a beautiful Kurta which is being altered. We'll pick that up today, along with my blouses and my green sari that Neha was putting the fall into.
We then headed to Kalanjali, where I had purchased my green sari a few days ago. Larry and Allan purchased two kurtas each -- one of Larry's kurta's is being altered. Boo purchased two outfits -- one for the Mehendi dinner tonight, one for the wedding. Both are being altered, and we'll be picking those up today. This took the bulk of the time for us -- finding just the right outfit for our friends. I don't have pictures of any of that, sorry!
We headed back to the hotel for a bit of a rest. Then -- the women and Max headed over to Serene Domain for the henna party. When we arrived, we were introduced to the members of the family there -- everyone was excited to meet Boo and Jardine! Those who hadn't met me yet were so kind, warm and welcoming. The henna was being applied to the bride -- and the other women applying the henna were working on the various women already gathered.
Gauri, Devika's aunt started leading people in songs typically sung at these events -- beautiful! Max had Devika's name written in henna on his palm in Urdu. As time went on, henna was applied to each of the women's hands. As it dried, a combination of water, sugar and lemon was applied to our hands to seal the henna a bit. You could choose different designs, and whether or not you wanted your fingertips "capped" -- meaning henna applied to the tips of your fingers including your finger nails -- I opted for this! Kalpana tried to get everyone done by 6:30 or so, as the women applying the henna had to get home to break their fast as it is Ramadan here, and they are Muslim. Here is a picture of Max's hand, henna'd for the wedding.
Around 8:00 dinner was served -- they brought Haleem from Pista House, and Najma their cook for the summer made Chicken 65, Bagari Baingan, a wonderful rice dice (Hyderabadi), Paneer Makhani, roti, chapati -- I think that was all. Later on they served ladoo and other sweets. YUM was on everyone's lips!
Women's hands were still drying. Those of us who had our henna applied earlier were able to flake it off a bit -- Ghazal, a close friend of the family, took Jardine, Boo and me under her wing and helped us remove the flaking henna and oiled our hands. So very kind! Devika, the bride, had the most elaborate Henna applied -- it took over 4 hours -- hands, arms, and feet. Ours was much faster to apply, as it was not as elaborate. As Max had Devika's name written on his palm, Devika had Max's name written in Urdu on her palm. The henna looks dark when it is applied, and then when it flakes off it looks lighter, but it darkens overnight. I was told not to use water or wash my hands tonight, not until the morning. Here is Devika as the henna was drying.
I'll leave you with the "morning after" pictures of my hands, along with other pictures of the festivities last night. Today? picking up our outfits that are being tailored -- and, just maybe, some more shopping!
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Location:Road No 1,Hyderabad, India