Attending our friends wedding in Puri, Odisha in January 2015
This post has been written for the theme “26 Places, 26 Memories” for the #AtoZChallenge.
O FOR ODISHA:
Odisha or Orissa, as it was formerly known, is a state on the Eastern coast of India. The capital city of Bhubaneswar is known for its historic and well-preserved temples. Puri is a pilgrimage site, where the famed Jagannath Rath Yatra (religious procession) takes place every 12 years. The Sun Temple of Konark, and the beautiful sandy beaches, are also crowd-pullers.
I visited Odisha in January 2015, when two close friends of mine from University days in London, married each other in the groom’s hometown. Destination weddings are memorable because each attendee has a shared purpose, and partying is a sanctioned activity! My small group of friends and I had a memorable trip, but here I’ll describe one night that really stands out.
OOMPHY “OUAHS” IN ODISHA:
It was the night of the Sangeet (music and dance) party, for even Odiya weddings follow certain Punjabi traditions! When our feet ached from dancing too much, and our throats from the flaming shots that had been consumed; we decided to leave the party. Not wanting the night to end, however, our group moved to the hotel.
We had arrived at the venue in a common bus and transportation proved a problem. A friend from Bhubaneswar, came to our rescue with his Hyundai Santro. Quite bravely, eight of us piled into the tiny car and made our way to the hotel. I was fortunate as my husband and I sat in the passenger seat up front, but the five people crammed in the back seat had a tough time!
Throughout the ride, my hysterically drunk friend kept speaking in gibberish, insisting it was the local language he’d been hearing. The ensuing laughter fits made the ride more uncomfortable, but also more fun.
The revelry continued upon reaching the Mayfair Lagoon Hotel. Settling in to our friend’s bedroom, we discussed the hilarities of the night, recalled fond memories of our time together in London; and teased each other incessantly.
A couple of hours later, when a lull seemed to have settled on the conversation; one of my friends announced she’d received a surprising text message on her phone. It was simply one word “औऊआ” (a generic sound pronounced ‘Ouah’), written in Devanagri or Hindustani script, from an unknown number. Shakti Kapoor (of Bollywood fame) fans in the house, will recognise this ridiculous sound from his comical films of the 90s.
We collectively burst into laughter, hysterical to the point of tearing up. No one cared who had sent the text message. The fact that she’d received it in such a surprising manner, in the middle of the night, in the company of friends that would always tease her for it; was enough to make it legendary! On that high note, we left the hotel to rest for the next day’s celebrations. Four years on, we still have no clue of the identity of my friend’s secret Hindi-touting paramour in Odisha 😉
Come back tomorrow for the letter P and another story!
Wedding revelry with my friends
Enjoying the beaches of Puri, January 2015
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A for Amritsar, B for Bhopal, C for Cambodia, D for Delhi, E for England, F for France, G for Gwalior, H for Hemkund Sahib, I for Italy, J for Jim Corbett National Park, K for Kamakhya Devi Temple, L for London, M for Munich, N for Naples,