An Indian wedding: #TeamAppLovin goes East
For many of us, Indian weddings are almost the stuff of legend. As for me, I had certainly heard about how beautiful the pageantry and rituals are at these celebrations, but I didn’t think I’d ever actually go to one.
So naturally I jumped at the chance to join a bunch of AppLovin colleagues at the wedding of my good friend Sonal Gupta, a senior software engineer here at AppLovin, in New Delhi.
Nine of us from AppLovin traveled to India last month to share in the celebration—some of us with our significant others—and it really was the event of a lifetime. It was also a testament to just how closely knit we at AppLovin are. After all, it’s not every day that you’re invited to a wedding on the other side of the world, much less that you go with a bunch of incredible workmates.
Sonal’s wedding lasted three days, and there were about 600 guests. The first day was mostly like a reception. It started with Mehndi, a hand-decorating party, where the bride and all of the female guests got the most beautiful henna patterns painted onto our hands and arms. The party was on the rooftop of a hotel. We loved showing each other the different peacock, flower and other patterns that were the work of the skillful painters.
Day two included the ring ceremony, when the bride and groom exchanged rings and then groups of guests performed Indian songs on stage. About fifteen groups danced, and each group was amazing. But AppLovin had a secret weapon: Our Director of Growth Partnerships, Helen Wu, took Indian dance before and choreographed a three-minute long dance for our group. We practiced for hours before going to India, and we all bought Indian clothes when we landed. So when we performed on stage, we totally took the audience by surprise and were so happy to receive loud applause. It’s fair to say that we have the look and the moves down. Nothing like #teamAppLovin bringing down the house! Now that’s teamwork.
Then day three was the highlight of the wedding, with Sonal’s groom, Adhip Gupta (whom Sonal met while working at Oracle), arriving on the most beautifully adorned white horse with people dancing along him on the street to the loudest drumming you can imagine. This procession is called the baraat.
There was this other ritual called the Joota Chupai—the bride’s side stole the groom’s shoes as payback because the bride had been taken away. The groom can’t take the bride without his shoes, and in this case, both sides got very physical in the fight for the shoes. Our VP of Engineering, Basil Shikin, is an athlete, so he held the groom’s best friend back in order to support the bride’s “team”, but he also shouted rigorously all the poems he knows in Russian to negotiate with the groom’s side who shouted back in Hindi. How crazy was that?
The most beautiful and moving part of the wedding was when Sonal entered the wedding hall. Dressed in her elegant and elaborate red sari, Sonal had her immediate family members by her side. The way she smiled, the beautiful Indian melody playing in the background, the flowers filling the wedding hall…that moment stayed with me. My eyes turned wet. I was so happy for Sonal. The religious ceremony was then performed in Hindi, and even though all of us from AppLovin couldn’t understand the words, it was meaningful and intimate to see our dear friend’s love and commitment blessed.
We were honored to witness Sonal’s wedding. Our trip to India for our friend and colleague wasn’t just an amazing cultural experience; it was also an incredible bonding experience for the nine of us who went. Given that it’s not every day that you essentially go on vacation with your co-workers, it’s a testament to just how special it is to be part of the AppLovin team. We’ll all have incredible memories of that trip, and of watching our dear friend get married, for the rest of our lives.