23 February 2017
The University of South Wales has a thriving Alumni community here in Pakistan
Umair takes up the story:
"The University of South Wales has a thriving Alumni community here in Pakistan. It has been quite a while since me and my friends graduated, but we have made it a point to stay in touch and meet up every now and then. Weddings are especially important in Asia and it is one of the only occasions when we are all able to get together is on someone's wedding. Many of my friends who graduated around my time got married and have children now, but one of the most gregarious ones in our group had somehow avoided marriage altogether, until this December.
As per tradition when one of the friends is getting married, everyone was informed months in advance in order to ensure that everyone could clear their schedules and be in one place at one time. University of South Wales Alumni from all over Pakistan, big cities, to small villages were invited and even those who lived outside the country! Everyone had to be there, and of course, everyone had to live together under one roof or at least in the vicinity. The idea was to recreate the wonderful time we all had in Treforest.
Pakistani marriages typically last 3 days (sometimes even more).
The 1st day, 23rd Dec, was 'mehndi', a tradition where the bride's hands and feet are painted in mehndi/henna and everyone wears traditional clothes. It is accompanied by the women of the household singing folk songs, as well as dancing to more hip records of the time. All in all, its an excuse to sing, dance, eat and party!
The 2nd day was the 'Baarat' or the reception which was to take place in Pakistan's second largest city, Lahore, from where the groom was to bring back the bride to the village. A horde of friends and family left the village for the city, but things got delayed due to the immensely thick fog and accompanying traffic along the motorway. Regardless, the bride was safely in the village by the afternoon! All of us boys spent the night around a bonfire, sipping tea, eating sweets and reminiscing about our time in Treforest.
The 3rd and final day was 'Walima', a dinner event given by the groom. This was again in the village, smack in the middle of green rice fields on a beautiful 25th of December! Everyone dressed up for this event in their best suit and ties and perhaps the only time we all looked like we were at an actual wedding. As the last day of the wedding, we all were thinking about when will we could see each other again.
Everyone had to go back to living their lives, with their wives, children, businesses and jobs, but everyone went away happy as thanks to our friend's beautiful wedding, we could relive the time we had at University in South Wales."
Thanks Umair for sharing your reunion story with us - it is always fantastic to hear of our former students having meetups across the World.
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