Young man, blow your horn

Shadi ki band

The Indian wedding band. A loud, esoteric and wonderful institution. Is this man is playing a trom-pet. Or a trum-bone? I can’t tell.

During the groom’s procession at a typical wedding, a show of music, dancing, firecrackers, lights and is headlined by the band. It’s not clear, honestly, how much musical training these guys have, but they huff and puff and bang and harangue.

All good fun.

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PaTake! (Fireworks!)


I attended my first Indian wedding at the end of October. I’ve wandered past and through a few wedding parties raging on the streets of Delhi, but this was a fancy shindig in a large open air ground with food galore, a DJ and hundreds of people.

And like any pukka Indian wedding, fireworks. Loads of fireworks.

Technically paTake refers to small firecrackers. The proper aerial fireworks have another name — atishbaji — though I’m not sure anyone would use it.

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Of drums and elephants

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The wedding party breaks up

On a recent evening while I was transcribing in my room, drums exploded outside my window (hit play above). They echoed through the neighborhood here at Tutti Chowk, Paharganj, and by the time I got down to the street, what I believe was a marriage procession had turned down enough alleys that I couldn’t find the drum gang and only heard the banging in the distance.

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