With the wedding ceremony and the reception over, everyone was much more relaxed and eager to get some sightseeing done. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t really sleep in or have a lazy morning as we were supposed to get our wedding registration done in the local government office. Even though more than 300 people witnessed our wedding, we weren’t legally husband and wife until we had that piece of paper from the government that said so. As in any bureaucratic process, this usually takes time and needs oodles of patience (and money) but Ash’s relatives have been living here for quite a while. I am not sure if it in enshrined in Oriya law but I think it helps to be a Patnaik if you need to get any government or political work done in these parts.
We shuttled around a bit to couple of government offices until we met our lawyer who assured us that we would get our certificate in a day. Folks who plan to get married in destinations other than their hometown are advised to register their marriage in the town they are married in. I’m not sure if this is a rule but when certain legal procedures come accompanied with ‘strictly advised’, you are better off not doing otherwise. After much waiting, we were ushered into the office of the deputy commissioner who witnessed our signatures and we were married. Again. There was some minor jhol with my passport since it showed an U.S. address on my new one since it was renewed in the U.S. That reminds me to get it changed to my ‘permanent address’ in India. On our way out, I couldn’t help noticing that the office for Grievance & Consultation was located next door (see photo). I wonder if it was planned deliberately.
In the meantime, rest of our guests went around Bhubhaneshwar visiting the requisite tourist destinations like Lingaraj Temple, Mukteshwar Temple, Raja Rani Temple (no wonder it is called a temple town), Udaygiri & Khandagiri caves, and Nandan Kanan Zoo (home of the white tiger) although few of them decided to take the four-drive to Chilika Lake. They came back and claimed to have seen dolphins so were prompted named as the Dolphin Group. We met up with everyone later in the afternoon and swapped stories of our day. Of course, we didn’t have as exciting stories as they did but the uncles sure enjoyed ribbing me about the previous night. Of course, no details were shared because none were expected although I was sorely tempted to drop a few just to see the look of horror on their faces.
We were invited to Ash’s maternal grandfather’s home in Cuttack for an informal party. The grandparents were excited to host their first granddaughter’s wedding party in their own home and we drove down late evening from Bhubhaneshwar. Cuttack, an erstwhile capital of Orissa is much more like a typical Indian town with narrow streets and crowded markets. Thankfully, we were spared the crowds and traffic since we arrived late; anyway our minibus wouldn’t have made it. This was a much smaller affair with only immediate relatives and close friends on Ash’s side along with our brood. It let everyone chill out and mingle informally and we could finally get a taste of all Oriya foods that Ash had been craving for. The food came with a liberal dose of seafood and other non-vegetarian fare that we didn’t hesitate digging into. Ash’s grandmother had made some yummy ber pickle that she sneaked into our plates since it wasn’t ber season and she couldn’t get more than a couple of kilos in the market. I found that quite endearing and it was too bad we couldn’t get more to take home with us.
It was late by the time we left for Bhubhaneshwar and we had only a short night’s sleep until we left for a day’s long trip to Puri and Konark the next morning. More on that later.