PaTake! (Fireworks!)

Boom

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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Going to the sarkar and they’re gonna get married…

Earlier this month, I had the honor of photographing the civil wedding (read: navigating the web of India government) of two Delhi friends, Poh Si Teng and Mayank Misra. They were some of the first people I got to know in the city.

The wedding day had ups and downs and they invited me to be there for the whole thing: getting dressed, car rides in Delhi heat, power cuts, paperwork, Indian bureaucracy, tangling with the sarkar, the eventual success and a fine celebration afterward.

Many congrats Poh Si and Mayank.

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The art of impermanence

Beauty that is skin deep

I’m traveling at the moment in Rajasthan with Joel and Kate. I won’t be near the Internet much for several days. Enjoy preset blog posts.

Mehndi, or henna tattooing, is a common ritual for women in a variety of celebrations in India and, most frequently, is a part of wedding traditions for the bride and often the bride’s friends.

Hands and feet are the primary canvasses for the artist, who paints slowly and meticulously. Though many intricate designs today are applied with a stamp, the best artists still work freehand. It’s fascinating to watch the skilled practitioner; I sat for more than an hour watching the woman I photographed above in 2004 in Jaipur.

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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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