The last three nights have been spent over in Sadul Colony, attending the wedding of a complete stranger. Well, now that I've spent three nights with the family, I can't say that we are strangers, but still, this is not something that you would see happen in the U.S. "Hi, complete stranger, please come to three days of my son's wedding, including the family prayers. Oh, and have some whiskey."
When I was starting to make my research plans, one of my committee members gave me the e-mail address of a senior scholar at another university and told me to e-mail her and ask her for research advice for my stay in Bhopal. I did that, but said senior scholar replied that she had no helpful advice, but that I should e-mail another scholar in the U.K. and ask for her advice. So, I did that, and we made tentative plans to meet while I was in London, but that didn't happen. A month or so ago, I sent a follow-up e-mail asking if she could share her advice through e-mail. She didn't send me any advice, but she did do something better: she sent me the e-mail of an archivist in Bhopal and suggested I ask him for advice (are you following this? That's at least three e-mail addresses).
This wonderful archivist replied with many useful suggestions, but more than that, he responded with an invitation to his son's wedding, which was coincidentally in Bikaner this last weekend. Even more coincidentally, the U.K. scholar, who I've never met, also was coming to Bikaner for the wedding. So, Sunday night, I met U.K scholar and Bhopal archivist at a wedding of a handsome young man I'd never met before. Good times.
It was good times (whiskey aside). Two nights of essentially just hanging out, doing prayers, listening to music, doing more prayers, eating, taking photos. One night of walking (well, dancing) through the streets of Bikaner. I've only ever been on the bride's side of an Indian wedding, so walking with the barat was a new adventure.
I can say with some authority that it is very difficult to do a full day of archival work the morning after the third night of an Indian wedding. I thought I was going to fall out my chair this afternoon. No lie.