An important part of the wedding was the selection of dresses and beauty salon. I remember when my cousins and my sisters, and I used to go to different malls daily, scouting for the perfect outfits. We purchased elegant dresses of different colors with exquisite jewelries, such as, ear rings, necklace, and bangles. The color of brides sharara (special outfit of brides) was orange, golden, and maroon. Every one was very excited, because we all wanted to look beautiful for that event. Our joyful excitement was like a forest fire which could be seen from a mile away.
In my culture, wedding ceremony consists of two days function. The first day called mehndi is the day for youngsters to celebrate. I can still remember the girls and boys singing songs and dancing. There was a fun-filled singing and dancing competition between relatives of the bride and the groom. Girls were painting beautiful designs on the brides hands and their own hands with mehndi (a paste of leaves, which makes temporarily tattoos). The second day was the actual wedding day. My sister and her husband were looked stunning in their wedding attire. While our four hundred guests dined on a delicious meal in the festively decorated banquet room, the family was holding a photo session.
At the end of the ceremony, there is a time for the bride, to go to her new home by leaving her own family. Her departure created a gloomy mood for many of us. It was stressful to try desperately not to feel deeper feelings of grief which result in weird actions like obsession, anger, or crying. My sister was also feeling somber, as it is natural to be sad when one is at the end of a formative period in life. Sorrow is a part of existence, and often mixed with joy.