Work of the day -- picking up garments being altered in different locations around town (depending upon where they were purchased) and going to the City Center Mall to go to the Max store (yes, really -- remember from the other day?) to buy everyday Kurtas and Churidars.
We went back over to Kalanjali and picked up Boo and Larry's items that were being altered. I managed to pick up a few more kurtas as requested by friends in the US. Kalanjali -- DONE!
We then headed to Neha's Boutique to pick up the kurta that Jardine had altered which she wanted to wear to the Mehndi Dinner tonight. Boo also purchased a kurta that will now need to be altered. On the counter was the outfit Devika will be wearing in California -- they thought she would be with us. Not only is it a stunning garment, it is a PERFECT color match to the decorations being put together for California. Me? I picked up one of my sari blouses. Neha altered Jardine's pink sari blouse on the spot -- for free! She also found a dupatta that would go with Jardine's new Kurta and gave it to us for pennies. I love this place! We'll have to return to Neha's tomorrow to finish picking up all the items that are being altered. Here is a picture of heading into the changing room to try on my sari blouse. Max has been the most wonderful guide and translator! NEHA'S -- ALMOST DONE.
We then headed over to Max's clothing store at the City Center Mall. Everyone except Allan found something to buy -- Kurtas for as low as $8.00? Why not! MAX'S -- DONE! Well, maybe. There may be one more trip to Max's before I leave Hyderabad.
Last stop for the daytime portion of our program was to the restaurant above Basra Pride for lunch. The staff was very friendly. Most of us had masala dosas for lunch -- it was way too greasy for me, so I didn't each much of it, but at least we all ate. LUNCH -- DONE!
We got back into the cab and headed back to the Taj Banjara to rest and get ready for the Mehndi dinner.
Manju and Ashok Saxena flew in the day before from New Jersey and are staying at the Taj Banjara. Ashok is Devika's Grandfather's younger brother. At 5:00 Manju came to my room and started the quick work of getting me into my sari. Wow -- she made it look so easy! Three strategically placed safety pins later, I was done! I'm still in awe of her and her technique. She did it so fast! Later in the evening, when I thought I was coming undone, she took me out into the courtyard and adjusted my pleats. THANK YOU MANJU!
At 6:00 pm we went down to the lobby and greeted more family and friends who are staying here at the Taj Banjara. We headed in two cars over to the venue, about 45 minutes away from the hotel -- Taramati Baradari (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taramati_Baradari). It was a beautiful gathering place! We were supposed to be outdoors, but could not be due to rain. We were moved indoors to a hall, which was still perfect for the evening. Kalpana and Aditya truly did their homework to book such a lovely place for the Mehndi dinner!
The Qawali gathered at around 7:30 and began to play their beautiful music! Max and Steve were in heaven, as were the guests. This is typical music played at this type of dinner here. The Qawali that Kalpana hired are VERY famous in the area -- they sell out stadiums. They have been long time friends of the family -- Max told me the leader of the group's father played at Kalpana and Aditya's wedding. How cool is that?
The party got into full swing. Kalpana was distributing flowers that looked and smelled like paperwhites -- bracelets for the men, a string of flowers to hang in your hair. Beautiful! I don't know if the flowers were paperwhites, but they looked and smelled like it.
Around 9:00 dinner was served and the Qawali took a break. I am happy to report that before dinner, my own Steve and our wonderful London friend Allan were the two who got up and started the dancing (it's not really "couples" dancing -- but every person getting up and dancing to the music, showing appreciation to the Qawali.) Many people would take 100 rupee notes, wave them over Devika and Max as a form of blessing, and give the money to the Qawalis. I loved watching this! I don't have pictures of any of that as Steve had the camera in his pocket -- he was up at near the stage and I was in the back of the room.
Dinner was delicious -- as were the passed appetizers earlier. The bar served Indian wine which I tried -- not bad!
I leave you with pictures of the evening with various levels of explanation. What a wonderful time was had by all!
Max and Jardine.
My earrings-- themed for the evening -- which was peacock and paisley!
More of the outdoor space we were supposed to be in -- darn rain! No worries, a good time was had by all!
Max and Devika!
Manju is in the blue Sari -- she saved me by getting me into my sari - quickly and precisely.
...and Indian wine
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Location:Road No 1,Hyderabad, India