Marred-Age

It is that time of the year. I am in that time of my life. This time of the year is the worst time for me to be in that time of my life – It’s when two idiots have decided to go for it, mahurats have matched and Taj Gateway has an extra banquet hall all ready. The wedding season!

*match-making aunty flicks a tear of joy*

Till now, it was easy to play hide-n-seek with about just a million wedding invites each year. I didn’t care about them, and the great news is, they did not either! I was happy saving 4 hours of my life, and they were happy saving Rs. 800 of my plate!

So just yesterday I was still sticking finger in my nose, and today I am getting invites to my friend’s weddings – not my elder sister’s friend, or friend’s elder brother buT MY FRIENDS! MY FRIENDS!!! I AM GETTING SO HYSTERICAL JUST WRITING ABOUT IT THAT I AM SHOUTING! WHY GOD, WHY?!B9hXCnPIMAAYUAM

And unfortunately, I love these people- So, I am not only going to attend a total of 5 weddings but all 50 thousand functions of all 5 weddings! One of the few times I wish I was Christian- I do. I do. We go.

Oops!! I can feel it. Intolerance is rising. Shut up! No cares when you are not Amir Khan. *Sulks*

Anyway…

It’s the first time that I am actually using all those motivational I-kid-you-not-kid speeches given to children preparing to get into courses that are actually kidding them: Life is hard. Life is difficult. Deal with it. I spend 20 minutes each morning, using all the knowledge I can remember from the compulsory Yoga class (that I spent doing Shavasana) at school, preparing myself to clear all three rounds of the upcoming trial-

  1. Laden self with 200 kilograms.
  2. Practice and execute dancing on DJ wale babu mera gaana chala do! Without alcohol!
  3. Stand in a line as big as the population of Hong Kong to meet and greet the grin-stricken face of the bride and groom for a micro-second! Oh wait, that is not even a micro-second.

…And get unnoticed! Too much pressure on this little one, I say!

Frankly, I don’t mind other people getting married! I mean free food- Yaay! But things really turn seriously funny, or rather funnily serious when your parents start getting ideas! And it’s worse when you haven’t found anyone yourself, and they offer to help you out! I mean it makes you feel like a failure! It’s their way of saying – Tumse na ho payega, beta!

*digs a hole and goes underground*

I think for my own sake I should stop here. You guys can continue with surfing the web for latest trends, thinking of a reason to avoid that ONE wedding (share your ideas with me as well), buying cheap gifts that look expensive. And while you are at it, I would recommend investing in a great pair of shades. Too much bling is not too good for our eyes, you know!

*gets back to DJ waley babu…*

Happy 18th on your 81st, Dadaji!

When I sit to write about you, for you – it seems so easy because there is so much to you – and yet, so difficult, because all that is said is always so little. There are absolutely no words to describe this feeling of love, this feeling of immense gratitude that I am feeling right now.

This task seems so complex…

Because you make this list never-ending! For a multi-faceted personality like yours, I know it even before I have started writing about it!

Because of “swad” on every Sunday!

Because you are the epitome of wisdom.

Because your eyes see beyond what is, foresees beyond what will be, beholds what has been, besides being a window to the clear soul that there is.

Because why should I read any inspirational book to get motivated, when I can just listen to abstracts from your life!

Because you are a sea of knowledge.

Because of your unconventional, creative way of looking at and dealing with things.

Because from the funniest joke to most serious of the problems, from art to politics, I can share anything with you!

Because you know so much about everything all around the world.

Because you do not need to travel anywhere or meet people per say to connect to them! A strong connection can be formed just over an email or an article, and a new friendship is just a phone call away!

Because all said and done, you knew never to mess with one’s wife – dadiji! Hehe! But seriously, you both complemented each other beautifully!

Because you are the thread that binds us all together, and yet not a knot that we feel. The balance is always so right.

Because you taught me – अति सर्वत्र वर्जयेत् | That is one learning I keep very close to my heart. And it was easy to remember, watching you do it every breathing second of your life.

Because it is difficult to believe that you were a bundle of mischief “in your times”, yet it makes perfect sense – from troublemaker to troubleshooter!

Because you are our guardian angel!

Because of being the most tech-savvy 81 year old around!

Because you are personification of patience, of acceptance, of change, of flexibility, of moulding yourself to the present. You do it so beautifully dada. At your age when most people become so rigid about their beliefs, you break one of mine, each day, every day!

Because you are not old and fragile, but so young and agile!

Because you have kept the doors of the house, and your heart open to one and all. Your heart is so BIG, it has space for everybody- without one feeling like they are travelling in the Mumbai local! 😉

Because we are all so blessed to have you around us – all the time!

Because you are oh so practical!

Because in this age of internet connection and data connection, you have taught me the most important of them all – Human connection!

Because you have more zest about life than all of us put together!

Because at one moment you know-it-all, and the other you are a curious child who is awed by all that is humanly possible now!

Because if I could be even 0.1% of what you are, I will consider to have lived my life well!

Because you a living legend, my super-hero!

Because I am not sure if I want to stop writing yet!

Dadaji, I have realized why is there a ‘grand’ in grandfather – because grand also means marvelous, glorious, magnificent, splendid, awe-inspiring, elevated – you are all of this and much much more! J

I love you.

Your “laadli”,

OJ

Done Done London!

Well yeah, I know that it is a very off-the-wall phrase from the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan, meaning “it’s a deal”. But I have used it as a very bad metaphor to have checked “Visit London” off my bucket list. I am not even sure if it qualifies as a metaphor actually!

Anyway, 2014 has been a great year! A very quick, not exactly last minute, but a sudden plan to travel around England turned out to be a brilliant one! Thank God for sisters who decide to do their masters abroad – you get to plan a I-will-go-get-her-back trip there, not to mention she is the one who actually gets you back! (Also, is it too soon for Can-I-accompany-her-for-graduation ceremony-next-year?) It was also a one-of-a-kind trip abroad, since it was only us three sisters travelling! (We really missed you Jiji!)

Well, of course anyone loves to explore any area “as the locals do”, but when you come to London, I think there is a charm in doing the clichéd touristy routine – at least once in your life – whether it is the mesmerizing view from the London eye, taking a typical picture with the red bus, booth or cab, walking over tower bridge, feeling patriotic looking at Sachin’s pictures at Lord’s, visiting Buckingham Palace, feeling a star at Madame Tussuads or paying to see our very own Kohinoor at the Tower of London.  And meeting old friends at far off land is incomparable! They are local guides to places no internet website will mention but are worth every penny! The best lunch I had there was a place Samidha hunt down for us vegetarians! :*

And London aakar agar koi musical nahi dekha toh kya khaak London aaye! It was one of the most beautiful visual treat at lyceum theatre, watching the gorgeously done Lion King. Oh my! It has been one alluring sight I have witnessed in the longest time.  While we are talking about sightly, I have to mention the day trip to breath-taking Stonehenge, splendid Roman Bath and the exquisite Windsor castle! *Note to self – Next time in UK, stay an extra day at Bath.

Inserted between was a brief trip to Manchester! Though I am not a die-hard football fan, there was no two way about visiting the plush Old Trafford stadium! One just cannot stop gawking once there! And then a visit to the delightful York was very pleasing! It is definitely a must-visit town in England, just for the sheer beauty of the countryside!

And when you are with Vinita, there has to be some adventure (read amusement park) added to the outline – so that she leaves you at peace with rest of the list! And that led to a day well spent at Alton Towers – one hell of a park! I haven’t been to any other park with this variety of roller coasters! While I am really a scaredy-cat, I did manage to ride quite a few of them! *beams with pride*

Phew! We did manage to pack quite a lot of things in the short week in England, but that place draws you to it. The swanky London architecture, unblemished streets, neat parks, swift and smooth underground, delicious cupcakes, lively city centres….Ah! I just need a reason to be back there, and I dare say – hopefully soon! And of course, Scotland is yet to be checked off the list, you know!

A Very Colourful White-Wedding!

A few days back, I attended a traditional Belgian wedding. I was so excited when Bruno (well, that is another story about how he is family) informed us about his wedding! Of course travelling to Europe was like a side-effect of it, but this highlight turned out to be so much fun!

I felt the contrast in an Indian and a Western wedding right from the beginning. Having come from a kattar Marwari family, and attended a lot of these great fancy Indian weddings, dressing for a western one was so different! How can you attend a wedding without wearing things that do not weigh double your weight? That’s blasphemy!
Anyway, all formal prim and proper, we left for the church. We did not understand anything that happened there, since it was all in French, but the kiss signaled that the main part was right there! Yes, I am smart that way! It was so nice of Bruno to say a part of his speech – that is not elaborated in the movies – in Shudh Hindi. Very heartfelt, we were so touched! Love you, bhai! 😀

What came later was a great surprise!
The wedding party then shifted to the outdoors, at a resort nearby, and was called – The Sunmount Festival.
There were these funky badges, and entry bands tied around our wrist at the entrance. Custom made neon glasses were all over the place. Champagne was served at the entrance, with tables already laid out with snacks. Every family member was given like an ID card with their name and title written on it! It was a bright sunny day in Belgium – a celebration in itself!

A full-day event was planned, with a few stand-ups, photography session, video session, dance party et al lined up. Bruno composed and sang a song for Carolina, while playing four instruments simultaneously! How wonderful that was! A very helpful Italian family member of Bruno’s helped us with all the translation, and made us feel so much at home! In fact everyone there seemed thrilled to have us, coming from so far for the event, and were so helpful, so courteous, that it did made us feel like a part of their culture, their family.

We spent the entire day at the ‘carnival’. The photography session took place in the backdrop of a tree, with funky props to choose from for everybody – right from bows to mustaches, tiaras, bunny ears they had it all!

We left tired. We left happy. We left with good memories, a different experience, and with prayers for the bride and the groom.