Archive | August, 2012

The “Just Married Please Excuse” Contest

30 Aug

I first read about Yashodhara Lal’s new book  “Just Married Please Excuse” on my friend MM‘s page,  saw there was a contest happening, thought “Hmmm…!” and moved on. (Yes, I really have monosyllabic monologues. In monotones. With monolithic points of view. In fact the only mono I don’t like is this. All hail the Diva of Digression.)

Four days and some hours later, right after I had honked on about being hitched a full 21 months……..

(*pause for applause*)

(*……………………..*)

(Thank you, thank you!)

……..I recalled a little nugget of information. I was once just-married!

(Yashodhara, do people with multiple marriages have a better shot at winning? Are you looking at me funny? Is she?)

Anyhoo, here’s my story, more in solidarity with the other institutionalized folks, because I may be disqualified on the basis of timing: It happens on my wedding day, but half of it occurs an hour before I signed my singledom away.

But don’t be like me. Share your legally married tale and you may just win the book I probably won’t and the meal at Mamagoto that I definitely won’t . You’re welcome.

****

One of the unforgettable people at my wedding was my dress-up lady. I think her name was Aban, although I suspect she’d just as willingly respond to George, such a darling space-cadet was she. I had hired her on the basis of two criteria:

1) She had to be Parsi. So she could drape my very white, very lacy, very Parsi wedding saree the right Parsi way: Gujarati style, with the pallu longer and pointed at the knee, and pinned together with a very Parsi pearl wreath brooch. Yes, I’m aware there are 5 Parsis in this paragraph. Make population jokes at your own risk.

2) She had to make me up like I wasn’t wearing more than a smidgen of make-up. Given that it was a daytime affair, I was not going to look like those ghastly fuchsia-faced brides that could star in The Revenge of the Make-up Lady. I was NOT interested in looking fairer than my normal yellow, thank you very much. And being of one blood and color, Her and I, we looked deep into each other’s eyes and saw a glimmer of understanding.

So things were going swimmingly, and there I was, being draped and dolled-up, with my BFF plying me with sips of water and holding my hand like she’d never let it go. Our lady Aban and her wordless assistant, yet another Parsi lady, expertly trotted along, being their classic quirky selves and doling out the funnies, Bawa-style, until I looked up to face the mirror and this is what I saw:

I saw me. A prettier version, yes, but all me. My skin, the same color, albeit with a beautiful glow that much impressed me, my glasses–buddies and guides since the age of 9– perched firmly on my nose, my hair naturally straight and cascading down my back, just the way the Boy loves it, with the concession of two white flowers pinned behind the ear, nails French-manicured and my toes a pastel pink. Diamonds and pearls glinted around my neck and earlobes, my grandmother’s ring comfortingly grasped my finger, and I was every inch the Parsi bride of my non-dreams. (Yup, never dreamed about my wedding day growing up–so sue me.)

Slipping into my strappy silver kitten heels, I was all set to proceed, when Aban had one more idea.

“Wait, wait!” she bustled.

And produced a coconut from the depths of her bag.

“I bought this for you. From the station this morning. Carry it with you,” she said, and pressed it into my hands.

You think I’m eloquent, don’t you? Know that I stared at her blankly.

“A coconut?”

“Yes! A coconut!”

“I see that, but why?”

“Arre, chhokri, just carry it!”

“And then what?”

“When your mother-in-law greets you at the entrance, give it to her.”

“You want me to give his mother a coconut?”

“Arre haan! You don’t know. Hindoos do these things.”

“Hindus want coconuts from their almost daughters-in-law?”

“Yes.”

The Bohri BFF had no clue either, but ‘South Indian’ and ‘coconuts’ seemed to join some dots in her head. No pun intended.

“Are you sure it’s a custom?” I insisted, now wondering if it was something important the Boy had forgotten to mention.

“Chaal aveh, you’re getting late!” Aban commanded, hugged me generously, and I was on my way to the waiting car, with the Boy’s family chauffer beaming like it was his wedding day.
On arrival at the venue, my soon-to-be mother-in-law greeted me at the door. Thanking her for the stunning orchid arch and other floral arrangements she had made, I handed over the coconut, was swept up among cousins and friends, and forgot all about the brown, husky topic of conversation from a little while ago.

Somewhere amidst much clapping, hooting, hugging, applause, signing, ring-slipping, rose-garlanding, kissing, champagne-toasting, leg-pulling and general chaos, we became spouses, and off everyone went for our celebratory lunch. (Although it must be said for the sake of historical accuracy that it was only after the Parsi wedding feast at the reception party that I felt truly hitched.)

At lunch, I overheard my newly minted ma-in-law chatting with her close friend, a dear Punjabi lady I’ve come to be quite fond of. And here’s how the conversation went:

“Achha, you got a coconut when OJ came in, what was that for?”

“Oh it must be a Parsi tradition, she should also feel like her customs are included, na?”

“Haan haan, of course!”

And with that, I returned to my plate of tawa fish and generic chicken and ROFLed in my head.

I don’t quite know what became of the worthy coconut; perhaps it found itself in a curry the next day, but it did show me an instance of my ma-in-law’s inclusiveness, and for that–in addition to the laugh we later shared over it–I am grateful.

To the Unrecognizable Pink-faced Bride:

28 Aug

First, prep with moisturizer.

Humidity and lotion blend,

Make a base for your case,

A tenuous foundation for

Your evening’s battleship.

 

Next, slap on the goop,

Three shades pinker than

Your steadfast brown,

So your neck and face look like

Distant cousins, four times removed.

 

Darken the brow, line it with dots of color,

Interchangeable, like men & destiny, then

Brush on a violent fuchsia, as vivid as your

Dreams, your natural blush buried deep within,

Like practice for latent desires.

 

Line your mouth, the boundaries of

Your speech, carefully crafted in

Lurid tones, soon to seep away.

Don’t stretch its corners, for cracks will

Show, and it is too soon for that: yet.

 

Trace the hoods of your

Eyes, lowered in compliance,

Unfilled with dreams, you just want your

Liner to dry. Sweep on mascara, brush-on dark pleasure,

Gaze wide and unseeing at the throngs that come to view.

 

Garish and ghastly, you’re the pink-faced bride,

Another for a day, admired in hi-definition avatar,

Brightness and color at max. When the war paint is off,

You’ll revert to someone you know, and I’ll rejoice that

Wedding days are rather few in a lifetime.

Mathematics Commando

24 Aug

To be a comrade in the war on equations, one needs stealth. Patience. Forbearance. And a determination to avenge.

Burn. Bombard. Blaspheme.

Alternating between machete and machine gun, creep up on the long baffling rows of numbers, draw yourself to full height and attack. Pound entire magazines of bullets into the curves of figures, shred symbols with venom, tear through mazes of graphs, rhombi and trapeziums, blasting, blowing apart, uncorking rivers of blood.

Wreak. Havoc.

Rip through logic, plug your ears to the screams, take down as many permutations as you can, hand glide from supertext, applaud the martyrs, put on a show of madness and impatience and flagrant contempt of what is.

Vent. Your. Rage.

Innards will splatter your dark bodysuit, your head furiously churning under the hardness of a tea-colored helmet, blown-up bits and bobs oozing dark liquids and tightly-coiled secrets, your boots crunching out the last of life as we know it in a supposed string of sense, that most despicable of creatures, that heinous crime, that assuredly unpardonable of all sins,

a mathematics equation.

Hat Tip To My Parsiness

20 Aug

Maybe it’s because Navroze just went by.

Maybe it’s because I love food and laughing at myself, like a true blue Parsi.

Maybe it’s because it’s Monday, I have a bad back, am doing a Downton Abbey marathon and curling my toes over the Britishness of it all.

Or maybe I just want to share these awesome videos with you.  Between guffawing and salivating, I’m a right mess and loving it.  Join in, do.

Shit Parsi Women Say

The Parsi Feast

Link: http://cooks.ndtv.com/videos/player/will-travel-for-food/the-parsi-feast/236283?home

Tell me what you think! 🙂

Mother of Another

17 Aug

Me: Okay, Zoroastrianism 101–What was the Prophet’s name?

The Boy: Zarathushtra.

Me: Correct. What was his mother’s name?

The Boy: Umm….Amma?

How to Keep Peace

15 Aug

Peace comes in packets. It is air-dropped. It has quotas. Not served as an all-you-can-eat buffet, where you stagger out pot-bellied, sated after three helpings of mandarin-marinated calm.  Take your packet and run with it. Rock it crooningly, make it last. Soak in its nourishment for treks through the marshland. Teach your children not to play toss with its doughy white balls. Divide it wisely. Sparingly. Warily. And always stock a crate, a spare stash of easy breath. Label it ‘Fragile’ and ‘This Way Up’.

Look to the sky. Look up in hope. Stretch your arms to the ether so they think you are praying. What do they know, Unbeliever, you’re only reaching, your eyes are only searching, your spirit is only screaming, for your next fix of stasis.

A Home-spun Yarn

8 Aug

My niece came to visit the other day. A feisty 4-going-on-14, she bounced on my chaise lounge and dimpled up at me, demanding a story. Looking around for inspiration, my eye fell on these little fellas who hang off a corner lamp.

Clockwise, from top: Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, Englishman

And, with her participation, a story took shape. The concept is simple, so with language modifications, this can work well for 2- to 5-year-olds. I hope your children (even the one that lives inside you) enjoy it.

***

This is a story of five friends, elephants all, named Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum and Englishman. One day, Englishman hosted a garden tea party for his friends. It was a beautiful , sunny day and the flowers were in full bloom. As they were all eating cucumber sandwiches and blowing bubbles into their lemonade, Englishman’s Papasan came stomping onto the vast lawns. Englishman started to tremble, because he had done something very naughty earlier in the day and knew Papasan had found out.

“I’ll just be back,” he said in a small voice to his friends and looked around for somewhere to hide. The ground rumbled as Papasan thumped his way over to the little group sitting on their stools, doing full justice to Cook’s jam tarts. His generous figure loomed closer and closer, and Englishman realized it was too late to run! In a flash, he took the lid off the teapot, dived in, and slid the cover in place just as his father’s booming voice shook the table. In the teapot he stayed, breathing through the hole in the spout, all the while that Papasan was looking for him. When he finally clambered out, Papasan was long gone and his friends had run off to the play area for a game of tag.

“Here I am!” he announced, catching up with Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum, and ready to join in. “Why is the rock talking?” asked his puzzled friends, and ignored him, as he stood in the rockery, camouflaged by a thick brown coat of tea water on his hide.  Englishman scampered after them. “Here I am!” he tried again, waving his hands and wiggling his amply belly at them. “Did that tree say something?” his friends asked, as they stopped playing Pin the Tail for a brief moment.  Quickly moving on to a game of Ele-ballet, they ignored the voice, leaving Englishman bewildered and wondering what to do.

“I know!” he said to himself, and climbed up the play structure to the tree house, decorated in earth colors and natural wood tones. “Here I am!” he shouted down at them, certain they’d look up and spot him. “A talking tree house?” they shrugged, now used to voices emerging from things, and unperturbed, Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum continued to play.

This is getting absurd, thought Englishman, who stood alone and sad in the doorway of the tree house, watching his friends play and missing being part of all the fun. He hung his head dejectedly, and lowered his eyes to the ground, but they fell on something else instead. A slow smile split Englishman’s face and he considered the object of his attention. The tree house was built over a frog pond, and, clutching his trunk tightly shut, Englishman made his second dive of the day.

Splash! And he was in. The sound made his friends turn around, and they saw Englishman, now rinsed of the tea and his natural red again, climbing out of the pond, a family of frogs looking on in alarm.  “There you are,” they cried in unison, and tumbled over to him. “We were wondering where you’d disappeared to!” Englishman only smiled, shook himself dry, and joined Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum at their grass-stamping game, glad to be nothing but himself again.

Now do you understand why Mammas and Daddies say tea isn’t good for children?