[Magpie's Scrapbook] Fluff under the Feathers

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The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Magpie's Scrapbook] Fluff under the Feathers

Postby Magpie on June 2nd, 2014, 1:57 pm

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I'd never really wanted to create a scrapbook, as I never thought my personal life would so thoroughly affect my Mizahar time as to warrant letting people know more than a couple words on what was going on. Got proven a little wrong this time.

All in all, I survived the spring.

I won’t lie, this has been a rough couple months for me. Those I’ve mentioned it to will know that the main event of my spring was my future in-laws coming from India to stay with us for three weeks. I also came to realize that the actual time of their visit would not be the extent of their influence on our lives. For at least two weeks prior, much of our time was spent obsessively cleaning, studying their language (my main priority), and shopping for the various paraphernalia an additional three people moving into our 1-bedroom apartment would require.

The visit itself was…difficult, to say the least. I was extremely stressed out for the duration, and even if I’d had time for any of my hobbies, including Mizahar, I lost all interest in doing anything but inching my way upwards on the ladder of my in-laws’ esteem. They are not happy that their son is with me, they’re not happy we’re living together, and worst of all, they’re quite certain I’m going to eventually leave him. Western culture gets an extremely bad rap in Indian media, to the point that they won't even understand that I’m hurt and insulted that they think that – they think it was just how I was raised to deal with marriage problems.

On top of all this, everything spoke in our house was almost entirely Hindi these past three weeks, a language I’m steadily learning, but vastly underestimated in terms of how far I have to go. The good news was that I could understand the gist of what they were saying; the bad news was that I also got the gist of when they were insulting me. Luckily, the latter was only really a problem early on in the trip, as I feel we finally had a real connection right towards the end. There’s a long way to go, but for now…the hard part’s over, and I’m ready to get back to my life.

Thank you everyone for your patience and support during this time, especially:
Gossamer: Thank you so much for putting up with my AIM whining and being a rock of strength and stability when I felt things getting too hard.
PC Graders: It looks like I missed a grading event during my time away, and as always, I hugely appreciate all you guys do. The grade request thread was a big worry of mine when I left, but I’m so glad you guys stepped up to help everyone all over Mizahar keep their game going.
Ragdoll: We haven’t met yet, but it made me so happy to hear someone was kind enough to AS for Riverfall. I’m sure we’ll be great friends :)
All my thread partners: Thank you for your patience with me, and I appreciate everyone being so understanding in waiting for my replies.

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[Magpie's Scrapbook] Fluff under the Feathers

Postby Radiant on June 2nd, 2014, 2:18 pm

Welcome back, Magpie!

Not just Riverfall and Goss, Mizahar as a whole truly misses you! *Hugs* We are glad that you are back. And hope everything turned out okay.
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[Magpie's Scrapbook] Fluff under the Feathers

Postby Natalia on June 2nd, 2014, 8:53 pm

Riverfall is very happy to have you back!
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[Magpie's Scrapbook] Fluff under the Feathers

Postby Magpie on June 9th, 2014, 3:16 pm

Damn, forgot to subscribe to my own scrap... Thank you so much guys! :)
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[Magpie's Scrapbook] Fluff under the Feathers

Postby Magpie on June 9th, 2014, 3:29 pm

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My First Indian Wedding


I guess since I’ve started the scrapbook, I may as well keep it going…

So I went to Dallas this past weekend to attend a wedding of a good friend of my boyfriend’s. Both the bride and groom are Indians who settled in America, so not only was there absolutely no westernization of the affair, I was actually the only white person there. Weddings vary a great deal from region to region in India, but they are all very colorful, very long, and very involved with what we would consider their religion, though it’s equally regional and familial tradition as well as an appeal to a divine power. This wedding in particular was done almost entirely in the groom's Telugu tradition (from the Andhra Pradesh state in India), though the bride was from Gujarat.

It was only a 60-person wedding, so very small as far as Indian weddings go, and I was told multiple times that it was the shortest Indian wedding I’d ever see. This one had a very vague start time due to some mishaps on several fronts, but it lasted generally from 4pm to a little after midnight. Typically, Indian weddings are multi-day affairs that start around 3-4am so the various aspects can take place at the most auspicious times of the very carefully chosen day.

Visually, it was a spectacle – there’s no other word for it. Even the most ridiculous American weddings just can’t compare. The dominant colors were bright orange and magenta, with a large, curtain-draped platform dominating the room. At the other end of the room was a similarly draped archway, and a cloth walkway with orange and magenta rose petals connecting the two. There were also two small statues of elephants draped with flowers, as well as a small shrine to one side of the platform with incense, a candle, and various offerings to the god pictured there (I think it was Ganesh, given that he was featured elsewhere, but I’m not sure).

You don’t really get the scale of the thing with the below photos, but they’re the only ones my boyfriend got:

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(The handsome fellow to the far right is mine ^_^)


The beautiful design on the curtain behind them is done in flower petals, and is also of Ganesh.

This is all to say nothing of the clothing. The men, excepting the groom and the fathers of the bride and groom, all wore western suits and the women all wore sarees. Even if I hadn’t become much more aware of fashion from playing Rosela, there’s no way you could miss an Indian woman decked out in her finest sari. Sarees are gorgeous pieces of clothing that I someday want to bring to Mizahar, and just a handful of those in that quick image search can hold a candle to the ones I saw at the wedding. I came this close to wearing one myself, as the bride was kind enough to bring an extra of her own, but the blouse just didn’t quite fit. I was extremely disappointed, to say the least. They were also kind enough to schedule me in to do my hair and makeup with the other female members of the families.

The bride’s wedding sarees alone are worth mentioning here. The wedding involved a clothing change halfway through, in which she went from a red sari to a bright pink one that was no less stunning. Both had extensive, sometimes gold-threaded, embroidery, and had a big gold belt on top. She was decked out in an enormous amount of jewelry, as well as a ton of flowers in her hair, and the intricate mehendi (henna) you may have seen in movies.

Attending the wedding was very interesting, to say the least. As I said, things started late in the afternoon, with the groom doing puja (prayers) and multiple metaphorical actions with various members of the family and the pandit, whose role is equivalent to that of a priest. These things include getting his feet painted with turmeric and other spices, walking to the platform in a very particular pair of wooden sandals, and carrying up a coconut that had been painted with his name (the bride had a matching one). The bride didn’t come until later, and while that was typical, I wondered at the time if it was just because there were problems in getting ready in time. She arrived with some ceremony, and joined him on the platform for more puja and ceremony. Halfway through, there was a clothing change, during which food was served, and afterward, more puja, and finally a couple fun wedding games for the bride and groom, such as pouring an extraordinary amount of rice over each other’s heads, blowing handfuls of little puff balls at each other, and competing to be the first to pull their rings out of a container of water. Afterwards, lots of formal pictures, and a brief bout of dancing that would have been much longer had our reservation on the room not run out at midnight.

The differences between these and American weddings are vast, even beyond the visuals and the actual structure. Many of the below sentiments I tried to convey to the people I knew there, but I don’t think any of them have ever been to a western wedding, so much of their responses were, ‘Of course it’s done this way; how could it (the western way) even work?’ The thing that was most disconcerting to me was how casual it was, despite its lavishness. In western weddings, everyone in the church is silently focused on the bride and groom, and anything other than pleasant solemnity is best left for the reception. Here, a separate reception is optional, and people are more than welcome to chit chat and let their children run around. Because the main event takes place on a platform, the main group of friends and family are up and hovering around, either on the platform itself, or down next to it. When I brought it up, the people I talked to were confused, as they couldn’t imagine asking guests to sit still and silent all that time. All of the spectacle isn't for the guests - the focus is entirely on the bride and groom.

Another culture shock for me was the behavior of the friends of the groom, which included my boyfriend. Because my boyfriend was one of the few close friends of the groom that could attend, it was expected of them to be rowdy and entertaining, to be essentially the life of the party. Antics included taking selfies at or on the platform, jokingly acting like bodyguards, and awkwardly trying to find a time to give them our gifts. It admittedly took me some time to accept that no one else was horrified at them acting up.

Another difference was the ceremony itself, as performed between the pandit, bride, and groom. In western weddings, there’s not a whole lot going on up there: reciting some vows, putting on rings, someone doing a reading, etc. Symbolic actions like the groom was doing before the bride arrived happened throughout the wedding. Particular necklaces had to be tied on by the groom, wafting in the smoke of a candle to take in blessings, washing the groom’s feet in a milk mixture, a slow walk around the platform by the pair and family members, putting their hands on each other’s heads over a leaf stuck on with a sweet paste while friend and family threw pinches of rice on them...to name just a couple things going on. Every action is deeply steeped in symbolism and tradition, so while a lot of it seems subjectively very strange, it was all very…cool.

I’m glad I got to go, and everyone was very kind in letting me know how glad they were I came. I was told my future wedding (someday) will be much different than this, but I’m sure what are major differences to those who are familiar with these traditions will still be just as foreign to me.

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