Feeling rested and revitalised it was time to say a reluctant goodbye to Palolem and head back to Bangalore to hit up the cricket and have the privilege of going to our friends son’s naming ceremony. An overnight bus thankfully went directly from Palolem to Bangalore so for 500 rupees each we were able to get back to Bangalore relatively cheaply and easily.
It felt good to go back to a previously visited city as we now had a bit more confidence with directions, places to eat and what things should cost. We jumped off the bus and ordered an Uber to avoid paying too much for the Cabs that are always circling like vultures as each bus arrives and headed directly for Vaisha’s family home which would be our accomodation for the next few days.
Vaisha, Dave and their family welcomed us warmly and we were soon seated around the kitchen table drinking chai and discussing the main reason we had come back – Zia’s naming ceremony.
A child’s naming ceremony is apparently the second biggest event in an Indian persons life – the most important being their marriage – so we were told to expect a lot of people. We were also told it was a fancy event, so traditional Indian clothes were best. Both Stu and I didn’t have anything and were not super keen on spending money on items we may only wear once, so Vaisha and her family were kind enough to lend Stu a traditional shirt and myself a Sari.
With final preparations needing to be made and us tired after then night bus we decided to retire to our room and have a nap mainly to stay out of the way and allow the family some time together. As evening rolled in we all got dressed up and piled into cars to head out to the country club where the party was to be held.
It took a moment for me to take in everything as we walked into the party. The whole pool and outdoor area had been decorated and a stage erected at one end that was covered with flowers and silk drapes as the backdrop. A good 5m worth of tables lined the back fence where food was laid out and served to the 100+ guests who were already there. We picked a table near the stage and sat down and for the whole night we found ourselves hardly speaking as we tried to take in all the colours, customs and fun of the night.
The night saw friends and family come to say good luck to Zia and offer him gifts as is the custom. Zia was a champion, hardly grizzling as he dealt with 4 hours of cuddles, cheek pinches and kisses from everyone his parents knew. It was a lovely event to watch. 11pm rolled around and there was the offer of a lift home so we jumped in with the neighbours and headed home to bed.
The next day saw the whole house sleep in. Around 9 movement started as we all got ready for another full on day. Myself, Dave and Stu were to head to the cricket and also go and watch Vaisha’s Dad speak at a University rally (he is an activist who fights for equality and the end to the caste/gender discrimination that is still present in India).
The rally was held due to the politically motivated suicide of a student. The student had committed suicide as he was an activist against caste discrimination and he felt his complaints and arguments were failing to get the attention they needed. In a desperate attempt to try and highlight the damage that this discrimination was causing himself and others of his caste within Universities he ended his life. The rally saw students from all over the area come to listen to over 20 speakers who lectured on the need to end this type of discrimination. It was amazing to see the way the youth of India seemed to want change and how hungrily they listened to the speakers. It gave me the feeling that India is going through massive change and that their young generation is the one who will really make it happen.
We left the rally and headed for the cricket. It was a test, so the crowd wasn’t to capacity but they still had enough energy to make the game feel electric. Stu got on TV multiple times much to the delight of our families and friends back home and with the day seemingly won by Australia we headed to the pub for a drink before home for dinner.
The next day was more cricket and meeting some lovely young locals to chat to and then dinner at a local restaurant with Vaisha, Dave and Zia. Happy and tired we went to bed early in preparation for our 7am flight to Jaipur.