Renu + Brendan Aug15

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Renu + Brendan

Renu & Brendan Wedding 00

After years of documenting other couples romances, learning their personal stories and most certainly what makes most couples ‘tick’… I figured it was time to tell my story. I’m usually fairly private when it comes to my personal life. However, several of our friends and family couldn’t make it to Delhi. So this will be a photographic and novel placeholder for those that couldn’t make it and I guess now – for the world to see.

Renu and I met just under two years ago. We’ve had our very own version of a whirlwind romance and here I sit at Schiphol Airport spilling the proverbial ‘beans’… Renu and I didn’t hit it off immediately. Actually when I first met her, I thought she was standoffish and rather brute in her demeanor and was put off by this. Our first ‘date’ was a complete disaster. Coincidentally enough, as I sit here at Schiphol Airport – I brought Stroopwaffels to our first date. Thinking back, I have no idea why I brought those to our first date. Moving on… her standoffish demeanor was off-putting at first but then I realized that people with this demeanor oftentimes are equally as passionate about things they hate and love. I personally believe that people like this have huge caring hearts, and they put on this shell-like facade because of past experiences.

I guess for Renu and myself, it was fate that I saw right through her. As the relationship progressed I learned that she also had the innate ability to see through me as well. I guess this works well, as we both have the ‘feature’ where we basically talk before we think, particularly when in an aggravated state of mind. However, one of the things I love most is Renu’s default state, which is just short of giggly (She gets her sense of humor from her Dad and her corny jokes from her Mom) and we both share the ability to laugh at the most dire of personal circumstances and work towards a solution (Attempting to buy a house one month before the wedding comes to mind.) We work well together, really well. We are passionate about things that we care about and sometimes even little things, like avoiding parking tickets. Sorry Renu, your secret is out there now… she goes berserk when I get parking tickets. She left before me for India by a week, and since this has been our only time apart for many days and I’ve again realized I can’t live without her. I could barely bring myself to leave the house when she wasn’t around, other than last minute errands for the trip etc… I love her dearly. It wasn’t just the lack of presence… it’s more granular than that. Things like hearing her folding the blanket on the bed in the morning. Hearing her drag the comfortable chair to the desk so she can start her workday from home. The smell of her skin lotion that permeates the loft when I come out of the shower… The odd things you remember when someone ceases to exist in the immediate sense.

For those not familiar with the situation… we are getting married in Delhi next week. Considering 173 guests are from her side and 17 are from mine, it was a no-brainer to have it there. It’s been almost a year in the planning and Renu’s parents have bared most of the brunt in planning things for our wedding. It has taken a bit of a toll on them I’m sure, but since Renu is the last sibling, hopefully they can rough out this one last time. Thank you guys! We will make it up to you! We have 17 people from the US coming to our wedding and they are all coming and going at different times. Which has made planning insanely difficult, but I know in the end – it’s going to be worth it for everyone. My friends and family and Renu’s family will be taking a tour of Rajasthan after the wedding itself.

In the little planning that we have done from home, I’ve found the process rather perplexing and downright aggravating to say the least. Obviously, I was concerned with which photographer we’d use. We were originally told that we’d be using the photographer that photographs all family events by default. (Possibly offensive if we didn’t use him). I was ok with it in the end, but was hoping for more of a photo-journalistic approach. When we were then told that the default photographer was going into retirement, the flood gates opened up and I started investigating. I probably emailed 7-8 photographers in Delhi alone. From those 8, 2 came back as actually not being from Delhi, 4 didn’t email back at all and two started to email us back, but after a couple of emails, disappeared. It was extremely interesting being on the other side of the table and unfortunately rather defeating being across oceans and unable to meet these two respondents face-to-face or get into a normal rhythm of communication and finally arrive at the terminal plateau of no communication.

So in the end, the default photographer was asked to do one last job. And he will.

As I fly to India again, I find myself particularly retrospective in what has gotten me to this point in my life… all the trials and tribulations. I find myself asking ‘What makes me keep coming back to this country, time after time? Well, I guess that’s an easy one this time, my wedding!. But beyond that, even if I weren’t having a wedding there, I’d find us traveling here for fun as well. From the busy streets of Calcutta, to the backwaters of Kerala, I’ve seen quite a large swath of this amazing country. And now finally, some of my closest family and friends will be able to experience a place that has truly changed my life. A place that continues to change my life and my attitude towards life in general each and every time I go there. Having traveled to quite a few countries on different continents, I can honestly say that only India has this profound effect on me. Sadly, for every opinion you hear like mine, you hear 20 opposing views of India. But I can break it down rather easily for who should visit India… if your personality is go-with-the-flow, you will prosper in India. If you are anything but go with the flow, avoid it at all costs. I mentioned in a previous blog post that India is a country that can swallow-up and spit out even the most experienced of world travelers.

Now as I sit here typing away, I’m wondering if the effects this country has had on me will also have a positive effect on my friends and family. I just don’t know… but certainly hope so. In my mind, I can’t see how someone wouldn’t be transformed by India, especially upon returning to the US. No longer do I sweat the small stuff, no longer do I let material things play a leading role in my life. Renu is from here, so it’s already engrained in her. But I really hope that friends and family arrive in India with an open mind and an open heart. Only good things can come from all of this.

Renu and I aren’t having an overly lavish wedding by any means. Just a simple combined Mehndi/Sangeet and the wedding ceremony on the next night. Seeing my side being forced to dance to Bollywood songs and dancing in the Baraat will surely be a highlight for me.

Well now that I’ve got all that out of my system and it’s now time for me to catch my flight to Delhi, enjoy the photographs that will be posted in the coming days and weeks!

Week 1

A quickie… Renu in bed in her default state:
Renu & Brendan Wedding 01

So upon arriving after 18 hours of flying, my in-laws decided that we will drive 7 hours to Bareilly, India, to attend the wedding of Renu’s cousin Shilpa. Uttar Pradesh state is not kind on those that drive through it. Very rough roads, and that’s coming from someone that’s sampled a lot of rough roads in India!

Renu getting ready for the wedding:
Renu & Brendan Wedding 02

Some of Renu’s family:
Renu & Brendan Wedding 03
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Renu’s Uncle and Dad:
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A real Indian Baraat (Gas generators run those lights, which are dragged along the back end of the procession):
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The groom, Arpan:
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Upon leaving Bareilly, we hit a really large traffic jam, at 1am. Again, this is coming from someone with some experience in Indian traffic jams.
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This was my view for over an hour and a half… sitting there not even idle. The engine was off for that long. 🙁
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Week 2

So far we are meeting with vendors. Since we are having our wedding in Gurgaon, we have to find all of our vendors in Gurgaon. You find vendors here in India in the mostly unlikely of places… a small storefront produces nicer cakes than that beautiful fake wannabe European cake-haus we saw in Delhi. You never know what you will find over here…

Yoga folks across the street, they start at 4:30am each and every morning. That’s called dedication. Imagine the first time hearing this though… they do different ‘sound’ exercises. Including loud excessive laughing. I’m still trying to capture that. I’ll get it one of these mornings…

So today, I’m having tea, Renu’s dad makes the best tea! As i open the paper and see that Gangham Style has made its way to Baraats (Dance processional) here in India. We heard it at Shilpa’s wedding in Bareilly last week being played to people dancing, but this is the first I’ve heard it played at Baraats. Awesome.
Renu & Brendan Wedding 11

Renu went today to have her Bridal trial… all is looking good.
Renu & Brendan Wedding 12

Last last night, we had some additions, Chris, Nicole, Leslie, Thomas, Lucy and of course the kids, Brendan and Aiden. At dinner some of the family and friends had a chance to meet and talk:
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Sunrise this morning from the hotel…
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Disclaimer: The Following Sangeet/Wedding Photography was photographed by a wedding photographer here in India. These photographs are not representative of Symbol Photography’s style or preferences. 🙂 )

Sangeet

























































































































Disclaimer: The Following Sangeet/Wedding Photography was photographed by a wedding photographer here in India. These photographs are not representative of Symbol Photography’s style or preferences. 🙂 )

Wedding









































































































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1 Comment

  1. *Darla*

    Hi Brendan, it’s been awhile since we last seen or spoken to each other. I love your site and the pictures of your trips look amazing. I’m glad you’ve settled down and found someone to share your life with. Not sure I’ll ever meet her in person but I’m sure she is as lovely as you’ve stated in your blog. I’m truly happy for you. Take care and be well.

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