Los Altos council accommodates traditional Indian wedding

Courtesy of Saroj Pathak
Groom Anupam Pathak, with ring bearer Shalin Taksali, arrived on horseback to marry Theresa Bruketta June 15.

Tradition prevailed over city regulations when a June 15 wedding at the Los Altos History Museum combined Indian and Western cultures.

The city’s initial hang-up with Anupam Pathak and Theresa Bruketta’s wedding procession, or baraat in Hindi, was the use of a horse. The horse or elephant that carries the groom in the baraat is an integral part of an Indian wedding. The horse is essential to Indian culture, akin to the white dress for the bride in a traditional Western wedding.

According to Los Altos regulations, people are prohibited from riding or leading large animals on city property. The city initially rejected the participation of Dora, a white mare.

Saroj Pathak, the groom’s mother, appealed to the Los Altos City Council in a letter, explaining how important living in the Los Altos community has been for the bride and groom and their families.

Councilmembers reconsidered and granted the exception.

“(They) were gracious to accept diversity in the community,” Saroj said.

“I think it is important for people to express their traditions,” said Laura Bajuk, the museum’s executive director.

During the wedding, Anupam rode Dora from the Los Altos Police Station to the museum garden, where his wife-to-be waited. The couple exited their wedding on a tandem bike with a basketful of childhood toys. They are honeymooning in Iceland.

The wedding was officiated by Bruketta’s brother, Thomas and family friend Usha Bhatt.

Anupam is the founder and CEO of Lift Labs, a San Francisco-based startup that makes devices helping people with essential tremor and Parkinson’s Disease.

“The wedding was perfect,” Saroj said. “It took the most important part of both cultures and blended them.”

As for the significance of the venue, Anupam and Theresa thought it would be fitting to hold their union in their hometown. The Los Altos History Museum “represents home for them,” Bajuk said.

Despite the initial setback, the wedding went off without a hitch.

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