Last night was very enjoyable as we were guests at a Fiji Indian wedding in Melbourne. We have known the girl’s family for a few years as they were in Geelong for a time. The venue was the Williamstown Town Hall and on stage was a brightly decorated pavilion and there were about five hundred guests in the hall. Most of the women and girls were dressed beautifully in saris. The Hindu ceremony was led by Pandit Sharma who used Fiji Hindi, Sanskrit and English through the many ceremonies but it didn’t go all night like it does in a wedding in the cane-field settlements in Fiji! The photos I took are of Malvini, the bride’s arrival, the bridegroom Sashrika waiting for her, and during the signing of the register and the girl's father, Amar, and mother Mahdur, originally from Nadi. The boy is from an Indian family who came to Melbourne from Sri Lanka.
What great music we had. There were hhajans, qawali like our neighbours in Vatuadova, Labasa can sing, wedding and film songs and plenty of drumming.
It was good to meet with many people from Fiji who migrated to Melbourne, but who still love Fiji their home. One guest, a cane-farmer from Ba, said to me, I have a son in New Zealand. I have a daughter in Melbourne, but I like Ba best of all.’ I asked him why, and he said, ”Here there’s no one to talk with.’ As we met people we didn’t know, we always ask, ‘Where are you from?’ The answers – Lautoka, Nadi, Suva, Ba and so on. One young woman surprised me with ‘Naleba, Mataniwai’ so I was happy to tell her I was from Labasa too. The meal after the ceremonies was delicious of course with puri, pilau, chutneys, vegetarian curries, salads, and a sweet called besin.
So dhanyabad and vinaka vakalevu to the family, the organisers, the caterers and the opportunity to share a lovely evening with Fiji people.