The cars arrived at the Lotus Hotel in the morning and took us to the Shah's residence for a Gujarati breakfast. There were so many guests (60 in all) that the breakfast was served at the base of their building, outdoors. It was a lovely warm morning and the space gave us all room to eat and move around comfortably.
Most people opted to ride the bus because we knew it would be more fun to be together, than to ride in separate cars. The very senior members came in the cars as the bus steps would be too hard for them to climb. The Shah's thought of everything; there were cases of bottled water on the bus as well as snacks. We headed out into the rush hour traffic but no one minded how slowly we moved because everyone was chatting and excited. We even stopped for a "bio break" halfway to Lonavla - at a McDonald's no less.
At last we arrived at the Fariyas Resort, high in the Western Ghats, the mountain range that runs along the western coast of India. The weather was much cooler than that of Mumbai and the air was fresh. Everyone was impressed with the lovely resort, and we quickly dispersed to our rooms - two couples to each room. We were lucky to share our room with Kishore and Meena Mehra. I had not had the chance to meet with Meena since 1981 (25 years earlier) when I came to India with baby Rajan. Meena had just had a daughter, Ruchita, so we spent a lot of time together then, comparing notes on babies and motherhood. We each announced that the other had not changed - not one bit. Anil had never met Meena before, so it was a great chance for us all to get to know one another better. Luckier still, Ruchita was also at the resort for a conference that was just winding up, so she became our roommate also.
We were treated to the first of many amazing meals at the Fariyas Hotel. Each meal had a theme, many of the themes focused on the food of a particular region of India. After lunch, there was an opportunity for the women to have mendhi applied to their hands. The bride had elaborate menhdi designs, the other women chose to have one hand (or both) done. I have included some photos of the beautiful mendhi that was done on my hands.
Later in the evening, there was a fun and games night arranged by the hotel, with the intention of having the wedding guests from the two families mix and get to know one another. I judge this as a great success; there were many laughs and we were given the chance to break the ice with each other. We were even rewarded with a traditional dance performed by the bride's parents along with her aunties and uncles. They had been practicing for some time, much to the delight of all the other guests.