Tag Archives: wedding

Some Dates More Than Others

10 Sep

Apologies for being AWOL! I’ve been cheating on this blog with other social media and should really enter rehab. Or maybe just post oftener. Which would you prefer? I hope you enjoy reading this straight-from-my-bleeding-heart piece. And come back after you’ve wiped off all the mushy goop! I’ve got more posts lined up as penance.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What you’ve been up to, the most annoying thing about last week, your biggest accomplishment since I last posted, to tell me that there’s a universe beyond Baby Pooped Today!!!….or simply to say hi? 🙂

~

As teenagers, we would go shopping and she’d rein me in. “No, you cannot buy all seven tee shirts. Choose two.” And I’d grumble that she was my mother all over again.
When I was between degrees and unemployed, I packed up my life in far too many boxes and landed up to share her little room with an eccentric heater in Philadelphia. Freezing Philly winters were no match for this girl’s warmth.
When the Boy and I decided to get married and all hell broke loose, she gave me the confidence that I was doing the right thing. She spent the night before my wedding holding my hand and the morning of shedding quiet tears as I was dressed and made up.
Her hand was on my shoulder as I signed on the dotted line that would legally permit me to torture the man forever.
Her baby is my first baby. Moving away from him was physically painful. Forever a cheerleader for little girls, he taught me how to be mad about baby boys, setting the stage for the full blown Raja Beta Syndrome I now live with.
I informed her I was pregnant using an inside joke we had laughed about since college.

RRV[Credit: Raja Ravi Varma, Lady Holding a Fruit]

I named my son in her honor.
Considerate even as a zygote, she arrived on the planet 10 months ahead of me to vet the place for suitability. “It’s fine,” she yelled, giving me two baby thumbs up, “head on down!”
This girl I met a month shy of 16, I don’t know how I would have lived these past 21 years without her. But thankfully, I don’t have to know. Because we’re going to grow old and crotchety and annoy the eyeroll out of each other across the continents, an Indian in America and an American in India, for that’s how we roll, her and I.
Happy birthday, my J.
I thank the powers that be for September 10th, 1977.

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The Season of Rust

23 Dec

I wrote this post 2 months ago, but clean forgot about it in the non-stopness that has been life lately. Apologies for the delay, especially since it was a time-relevant subject, but without any further delay, here it is.

~

Northern California has two seasons: sunny-and-pleasant, and sunny-and-mildly-chilly. And oh, three- drops-of-precipitation-before-the-sun-colonizes-the-sky-again. For about 2 and a half days a year. Last week, we awoke to Season Two. And felt a delicious shiver on throwing off our down comforters and savored that warm, milky coffee a teeny bit more.

The leaves have changed color. Like an earnest child who can’t quite catch up with his peers. You love him for trying, but you know he’ll never make the League of Sporting Champions.  He’ll always be the one with “Good effort” on his report card, and a slightly patronizing smile from his teacher, glory reserved for his siblings further east.

The pumpkins are out in all their plumpness. And if, like me, you enjoy the national color of this blog, you’re in for a treat, because it’s everywhere.  Crunch through piles of raked, dried foliage in your chocolate suede boots, wonder whether you can sneak in a swim for a few days more, and smile as your favorite hot drinks make a comeback at Starbucks. Apples and caramel abound. The soups are hearty, there are spices in the air, and ovens begin their annual overtime. Suddenly, sugar is a friend.

But this time of year isn’t special just for what it offers. It carries the promise of what lies ahead: Halloween costumes and Bingo night. The sparkle of Diwali, the colors, the lamps, the family time, the mithai. Thanksgiving, our annual mini-moon, and another year added to our legal partnership. Bringing home our Christmas tree, stringing lights while drinking eggnog and spiced cider, picking out new ornaments to add to our collection, watching our holiday traditions—The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol—baking brownies and hosting our annual Christmas gathering. Playing Holiday Radio until it comes out of our ears. Singing hymns into the clear, starry night. Spending time with loved ones, exchanging gifts, Christmas Day dinner and the food coma after, and festivities until another year is properly welcomed. All of this, permeated with that delightful winter chill that has us wrapped in light scarves and jackets, with not a snowflake in sight.

This year, our already-busy season is topped with two special family events. The excitement mounts. We trade updates about outfits and coordinate schedules. Calls fly across the globe as we prepare for visitors and make lists of places to take them.  Much lies ahead. We bubble with plans to celebrate. But for now, I’ll enjoy the moment. Watch another leaf drop and the season turn, as I grab the chance to stand still. The pleasure of anticipation is half the fun. But the other half lies in letting the future take its time.

Here’s a toast to the season of rust. As the earth evolves, so must our destinies with it.

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.

And So I’m Back, From Outer Space

25 Mar

..and it’s been one wild ride. Now it’s time to tell you where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. But because it’s all so fresh, words, like paneer, can crumble if not given suitable time to simmer down. So we’ll do this in pictures, shall we? The little details will emerge when I’m readier.

Go on, guess the sequence of events aloud in the comments section. 🙂 Let’s see how right you get this. And those in the know, you can’t play!

[Click on the pictures if you’d like to view them larger.]

Ready? Set? Go!

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Have a great weekend! 😀