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Last Friday the 1300 block of Marengo was filled with music, dancing, and colorful traditional Indian attire as family and friends gathered to celebrate the wedding of Forest Parker Anjalee Patel and Manesh Daryanani of Naperville. The marriage itself was on Saturday, but Friday’s Vidthi, a ceremony of blessing from God and family, was an important part of the four-day wedding celebration for Patel and Daryanani.

Patel’s family has a long history in Forest Park. One of her uncles immigrated from India in the late 1970s, and her other two uncles settled in the states in the early 1980s. The house on Marengo, where Anjalee grew up, is the same house they bought a few years after arrival. Her parents, Rashmikant K. Patel and Jyotsna R. Patel, moved from India to the United States in 1978, and to Forest Park in 1987. 

The Friday gathering on Marengo was a reflection of wedding ceremonies in India which can last for a week. For Patel and Daryanani, their wedding included four separate celebrations. Wednesday night was the Mehndi ceremony, in which henna is applied in intricate and delicate patterns to the bride and other wedding participants.  Thursday was the Sangeet, a celebration of union between the families. On Friday, family and friends gathered for the Vidthi. The actual marriage ceremony took place on Saturday in Lisle.
The Patel family kept tradition and history alive through the details and customs of each ceremony and event. Anjalee’s traditional Indian attire for the several days of celebration was purchased in India, where she, her mother and her aunt visited the cities of Anand and Baroda to shop for the event. They were joined there by Daryanani’s family.
Her cousins Hiral and Snehal grew up in Forest Park as well, both attending Forest Park public schools and graduating from Proviso East. Anjalee’s cousin Tejal also lives in Forest Park and worked for the Forest Park Review in the late 1990s. As a child, Anjalee appeared on the cover of Chicago Parent magazine, a sister publication to the Review.

Anjalee attended Betsy Ross School and the Forest Park Middle School. She graduated from Nazareth Academy then pursued her education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she will complete her Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine next year.

She and Manesh will live in Forest Park. Forest Park holds special meaning for Anjalee. Growing up, she was surrounded by family, and she “loved the schools and the neighborhood.” The suburban feel of the town, plus the easy access to downtown Chicago, makes it an ideal place to live, she says.