Monday, May 31, 2010

Tale of a Honeymoon

When it was finally decided that we would marry (and not simply start living together) with the consent of both sets of parents and the hoopla that surrounds a regular wedding, we were left with the very serious question of where we would go for our honeymoon.

To me, it seemed like a formality. Honeymoons are an extremely overrated, but necessary part of the couple acclimatization exercise I used to think. And I didn't need it because I'd known Harish for almost two years by then.

Moreover, after the wedding we were to move into a lovely beach-facing apartment in Vizag by ourselves (minus the in-laws from either side), which according to me would leave us enough time to 'honey - moon and swoon' at our convenience and leisure. I was too casual in my style to actually want to go to some far off place and spend time and energy sight seeing...if you know what I mean ;-)

All those who've been there, done that, please raise your hands - honestly!!!

But we succumbed.

And eventually decided to go to a swanky resort in Kumarakom where I'd recently spent a day enjoying the last few days of spinsterhood with my friends over a lavish buffet and loads of masti...followed by a two day stay in Munnar.

5 days in all, spread over two resorts sounded really hectic to me but Harish could not be bothered about the details since he always wanted what I wanted and as it turned out, in this case, I didn't know what I wanted. So we went with the flow.

We arrived at Kumarakom after a lovely boat ride, checked into our room, a tharavadu style duplex cottage with an open toilet and set out to enjoy THE honey moon.

We swam, we loitered about in the resort and actually went out for a sunset view boat ride too. In those days I was a very poor eater so I didn't even pay attention to or enjoy the food really... It was also the peak of the Kerala monsoon and after 24 hours of an incessant downpour, we both got tired of it. In a day and a half, we were stiff bored!

At the end of the second day, I coaxed Harish into going back to Cochin and he agreed in an instant. Firstly because (as mentioned earlier) he always wanted to do what I wanted to do, and secondly because, he was bored too.

On day three, we took a cab and landed home. Thus ended our 'honeymoon'.

My mom was concerned. "I hope you haven't had a fight?" she asked worried that we'd already begun doing what typically starts a few weeks after the honeymoon, not on the honeymoon!.. I mean fights...

We admitted that we actually got bored even though the confession didn't speak well of us - we had fought our respective families to be together, and could quite apparently not endure five days of 'togetherness'....

In retrospect, I think the pressure of "enjoying the honeymoon" got to me. I didn't want the sight seeing bit...didn't want to be part of the 'how was your honeymoon' kinda jibes either...

Fifteen years and two lovely children later, I would not mind another shot at a honey moon. I think I can handle the jibes and comments with maturity...

And this time, something tells me we won't be bored.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shaadi ki tayyariyan

I was a very happy bride. All brides are happy...well, usually...but I was an exception to the extent that all I had cared about in the months preceding my wedding was that I was going to spend the rest of my life with this wonderful person I'd met and fallen for in an instant.

I was oblivious to the shopping sprees and hectic activity that surrounded the wedding. I had no clue what I was going to wear, what my parents were buying as gifts (for me as well as others) and what would happen on that day.

My parents took me to Mumbai to buy jewellery and I actually argued with them about not wanting to spend money on it. I reluctantly bought myself a 'lehenga' and didn't really care about the sarees or clothes that were to form part of the trousseau.

I spent all the time I had dreaming about being with this man...the nitty gritties of the wedding were just nitty gritties to me....left to the others to handle.

And I concentrated on eating papaya to get an 'internal' glow on my skin and trying to lose some weight before d-day.

I recall the wedding morning... Harish and his parents had landed up at 530 or so (in the morning mind you) to begin the ceremonies. My oblivious parents and relatives were roaming around in their night clothes when they walked in. So was I!!!

By 830 I was to get draped in a 9 yard saree for the Tam-bram ceremonies and it was at the nth hour that we realised that I had not stocked up on the customary head jewellery, hairpins to hold my step-cut hair (bedecked in flowers) in place and even enough safety pins!!!

My brothers ran helter-skelter to buy these things and chaos reigned as aunts and cousins laboured over the bride trying to dress her up! To their dismay they also discovered that ignorant of the fact that 9 yard sarees don't have falls, my mother had a fall, not stitched, but peekoed on!!!

Some of my cousins were aghast that I had chosen not to get dressed or made up by a professional on the most important day of my life...and furthermore, I hadn't even had a dress or make-up rehearsal before the auspicious day! 

All this happened even as the elders of the family insisted that we were running out of the 'mahurat' time and the groom sat outside anxiously waiting for his bride.

When I walked out, the 9 yard saree draped on me with the 'fall' visible on the outer layer, I don't know what went on in other minds, but I was totally bindaas...glad that we would finally be able to get on with the ceremony.

Fifteen years hence, I am helping my parents prepare for the weddings of my brothers. Meanwhile, I have decided what I am going to wear, what my kids will wear and to an extent how I will help Harish buy his outfits. From our clothes, to our footwear and jewellery I am working on each aspect.

Wonder what's changed in 15 years!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thoughts on dying

My earliest memory as a child is of sitting in the back seat in our maroon Fiat, with my chin perched on the part where the rubber beading meets the glass of the window, looking out, and trying NOT to look down at the water. I was always afraid of heights and furthermore of water.

I grew up in Cochin, a quaint town (now of course a bustling city and a strong contender for the 9th or perhaps 10th Metro of the country) made up of several small islands. To go from mainland Cochin to Ernakulam, the district headquarters, we'd traverse two bridges built across the backwaters by the British.

The first bridge, the Mattancherry bridge was constructed by Sir Bristow somewhere in 1940. By 1980's the bridge had survived way past its original expiry date.

Often we'd get stuck in traffic snarls on the bridge which had a wooden drawbridge (which could be raised from two ends with pulleys to allow big ships to pass under it - although it was never used in anybody's living memory).

Due to the age of the bridge and the load of vehicles, the bridge would sway in a ripple like manner (almost like a wave), often scaring the daylights out of visiting relatives. My parents would, very matter of factly say, "Oh this bridge can fall off any day" lamenting inaction by the local authorities in constructing a new one as we'd stand on the bridge, swaying. The irony was never lost on us.

For many years, my nightmares fed on this fear... I am in the car and the bridge breaks and we're all sliding down to our deaths... Ofcourse, many times, a super hero would come to save us, but that would depend on whether I was recently influenced by an actor or not. (OK, I admit, most often it was Rishi Kapoor!!!)

What I do recall is that in my dreams, I was never alone. I was always with my family. This is perhaps because every time my parents had this morbid discussion of the bridge breaking, my mother would always say, "I only want that when it happens, we should all be in the car together. What's the point of leaving someone behind to mourn?"

Reading about the families that perished in the Mangalore air crash recently and the agony of those left behind,  I am veering toward my mother's thought process.