Muslim Matrimonials and More


Back to home pageSTORIES

Muslim Wedding in the City of Boiled Beans

by Ashok

Dear Reader

During the spring of 1995, Apple Computer approached me with the prospect of setting up a software development center in India. India had lots of engineering talent and a skilled culture of consulting engineering. Would I go to India and set up a division for Apple? Although of Indian descent, I had never lived in India, and didn't speak any native languages. Nonetheless, I took the job, and had the adventure of my life. What follows is a journal of that adventure.

I wrote about what I found interesting, or what was around me, or what was funny. To those who find the experiences similar, or funny (and many do), I ask you to share your story.

Sadly, others, finding difference with the journal, question my accuracy, veracity, agenda, and parentage. Really! India is a land of extremes. Extreme joy and extreme sadness. Extreme beauty, and extreme squalor. It generates passionate views and passionate people. All I can offer in return, is a disclaimer.

Accuracy and Veracity:

All events in this journal are as truthful as I can make it. Where needed, names have been changed.


I wrote this journal to convey something of the expatriate experience. I wanted to record what it meant to slowly become used to a culture unknown to oneself, and totally foreign.

However, if you came to City of Boiled Beans from the Yahoo Travelogue section, you may be expecting a guide to the sights, sounds, and smells of India. Yahoo's category for this site is as travelogue. While some sights and sounds of India are covered, what follows isn't a travelogue or a guide to India - it would be a herculean task I am ill-suited for. I'm sorry, I simply don't know the location of a good paan shop near Fatephur Sikri.

Thanks to all the readers who have sent me their stories, their knowledge, and their interest. Your letters continue our education about India and Indian culture.



A Muslim Wedding: Mar. 30th, 1996

At last! Tonight we managed to make some headway into the Moslem culture. Nassir, the Moslem furniture maker that Sue has been buying furniture from (the wonderful dowry box was a Nassir purchase) invited us to his sister’s wedding. This was in a marriage hall on Infantry Road. I suspect that the astrologers all decided that tonight was an auspicious time for weddings; there were marriage halls open and decorated all over town. Sue and I checked out all the beautiful women in their gold and saris, and then decided to go on a walk, since we were obviously early, and didn’t know a soul. A block away there appeared another marriage hall. We checked this one out, and surprise - this one was Nassir’s marriage hall. Inside, I saw an old man with elephant sized ears in a fez, women in purdah with gorgeous saris underneath, and gold everywhere. Eventually Nassir’s brother introduced us to his family, showed us his sister’s wedding furniture (the seven brothers had been working for months carving the furniture for their sole sister), and then showed us the jewelry gifts. The bride was escorted to her throne chair, and was given a headdress whose most notable feature was a ring of flashing red LCDs. The headdress’ considerable weight caused her bowed head to bow down a little more. Then they gave her a huge gold chain, then more garlands, then more chains. She was the proverbial pack elephant. The final request was for her to hold her head high so she could be video taped. Uh-huh. Sure.

I had problems getting out of the habit of namaste’ing (NOT an appropriate Moslem greeting!). Eventually Nassir’s kind brother taught me to say "Salaam Alekum" (God is with you), and "Malakum salaam" (and with you). I still don’t have the hand gesture quite right however.

The wedding dinner was equally wonderful. I met the owner of Prestige properties, Rezhak Reswan. This was the Bangalore equivalent of meeting Donald Trump. Discussions ensued about children (can you meet my 17 year old son and talk to him about computers as a career), art (please come and see my wife’s paintings), and property development (we both agreed investments outside of your local area were tough to manage). A wonderful, powerful contact in Bangalore business circles. Finally a chat with Nassir himself; a promise to teach me about wood-finishing (Nassir is the best wood-finisher I have seen anywhere in the world, and I would like him to finish the Buddha head I'm carving); a willingness to take me to a mosque (please bathe first, sir), and a pledge to teach me more about Islam. At last! I have an entry into the Moslem culture. I have been depressed all day about how little was happening here in India, and behold; I have another friend and mentor.

Salaam alekum.

Visit Ashok's site, City of Boiled Beans, for many more of his experiences and observations in India.

Back to home pageSTORIES Muslim Matrimonials and More