Silver Linings

Arrange marriages always befuddled me. The thought of spending your life with someone you don’t know seems weird. And though I belong to a country where arrange marriages are still a pretty common thing, I tend to be a little apprehensive about the whole concept. Not that they are bad in any way. It’s just that when you meet someone, they will obviously show you their good side. Who knows what creepiness hides behind that smile.

My parents just completed 25 years of their marriage and all my life I’ve been fascinated at how these two, despite being poles apart in personalities and temperaments, have managed to stay together and sane. These two are probably the perfect example of opposites attract.

They were set up by their parents through a newspaper matrimonial column. They met a couple of times and god alone knows what they talked about cause these two agreed to the match pretty quickly.

Though in those times people rarely allowed the girl and boy to meet often before the wedding, my grandparents were pretty open in their thinking and these two often met at ‘The Host’ in Connaught Place for tea. Those were days when there were no Starbucks or Café Coffee Day’s. So meeting over Chai and Pakora’s was their date.

There was no phone at my dad’s place so he used to call my mom from work. They couldn’t have talked much because my mom tells me that in those days, call rates were quite high. In this age and day we have Skype and Whats app and endless other ways to communicate with someone. But 20-30 years back, when there was barely a landline phone in every home, getting to know the other person was a humongous task.

After 6 months of courtship, they got married with much pomp and show.

Over these 25 years, I’ve seen my parents going from a simple middle class lifestyle to luxury cars and Rado watches. Not that I was there for all these 25 years. But this is what I remember. They’ve worked together and built a solid foundation for me and my sister.

I still don’t understand how these two have over the years maintained their sanity. I’ve never seen them fight. I mean yeah, they argue about stuff, but I’ve never seen them scream at each other or bang doors. And that is because strangely, every time one of them is in a bad mood, the other one makes himself scarce. Like they avoid each other till they cool down and then have lengthy discussions.

And when I say lengthy, it means I could have a round trip to the moon by the time they finish. These two just looooove discussing things elaborately.

I know I’m too going to have an arranged marriage, because believe me no normal person in his right senses would date me. If in these 24 years of my life I couldn’t find a guy, despite there being more guys than girls on this planet, I can very safely say that my parents would have to make a huge effort to find that one guy who can handle the craziness that is their daughter. 😛

And though this arranged marriage thing scares the shit outta me, I find solace in the fact that if these two could be together and make things work and celebrate a silver jubilee, then maybe it won’t be that hard to make place for a person in your heart even if you don’t know much about him.

Life will be like a mystery then. Unfolding new things about each other every day and making it work together towards that much dreamed about happily ever after. Despite all the thunder and clouds, maybe I too can find my silver lining.

Unsaid

The jeweler had put out a plethora of options. But there was only one ring that had caught her fancy. A single solitaire mounted on a carved platinum band. There was nothing flashy about it. It was a simple elegant ring. She slipped it onto her finger and admired how pretty it looked.

“That is brilliant”, said a voice behind her. She turned and saw the look of sheer admiration on his face. This was the ring. They both knew it.

She had come here with her best friend to find a ring for his to be fiancée. Her best friend, who also happened to be the love of her life. It had taken unspeakable strength on her part to come with him here.

He took the ring from her and looked closely at it.

“I plan to get our initials carved inside this ring. Will she like it?” He asked.

“Of course she will! More than the ring, it’s your proposal that will sweep her off her feet”, she replied smiling.

“Great. I’m buying this one.”

He walked away smiling, without noticing the tears in her eyes that were rapidly blinked away.

 

The Healing Touch

For three days he had been watching her through this glass wall. Three days of praying and staring at her. She was hooked up to all these scary looking machines and tubes. An oxygen mask on her face gently helped her breathe.

Tears had run dry in these three days. His son had tried to take him home but he would never leave her alone like this. Never.

Their marriage was solemnized when they were both kids. He was 10 and she was 8. Child marriages were predominant then. Their families had been friends for generations and therefore it was considered appropriate that these two should be married.

At that age, a wedding ceremony was just a game for these two. New clothes, good food and gifts.  They had no idea that they were embarking on a journey that would make them partners for life.

His mother had told him that she would be staying with them and he would have to be nice to her as she was now his wife. At 10 years of age, the word ‘wife’ made no difference to him. He actually started disliking her for the fact that his mother was with this girl all day.

This girl was now responsible for bringing him food, cleaning his room and making sure that he got whatever he wanted. Small fights everyday slowly turned into a strong friendship, where they both stood up for each other.

In those days, girls were made to stay at home and learn how to run a household. He on the other hand was made to go to school. But every night when the family slept, these two crept into the kitchen and he taught her everything he had learned in school that day.

His mother knew what these two were up to, but never said anything, thinking that this was just a game for them.

Because of him, she learned how to read, write and do basic calculations.

And when he left for higher studies for, the separation made them both realize that the friendship had turned into love.

Her reading skills came to use when he wrote her letters, telling her about the city, the people, the crowd, and the tall buildings.

Through his letters she saw the world beyond their village. And when he finally came back after 6 long years, he took her with him to their new home in the city where he was an officer now.

Together they built a life that had its fair share of ups and downs. But they had stood together, drawing strength from each other’s presence.

And today, 58 years later, she was lying alone in that hospital bed, alone, while he was made to stand behind a glass wall.

The doctors finally allowed him to go inside her room. Tears running down his face, he went inside and sat on a stool by her bed.

“Wake up now, it’s been too long…”, he whispered in her ear. He took her hand and held it,  gently stroking and kissing her fingers, while he talked softly to her.

And finally, after three days of lying there in a comatose state, he saw a smile on her lips.

 

 

This Post has been written as a part of the #BringBackTheTouch by IndiBlogger.

https://www.indiblogger.in/happyhours/bring-back-the-touch/

Soulmates

She sat down under the huge banyan tree. It was at the very edge of the cliff. Sitting under that tree you could see the entire valley spread out like a painting in front of you.

She loved coming here. It was their spot. He had brought her here on their first date. She had found it odd when he told her that they were going away from the city for their first date. Usually people chose a nice restaurant or a coffee place.

But the moment she laid her eyes on this place, she knew that no other place could have created the magic that this place did. They sat there for hours, talking away on random stuff.

He had a brilliant sense of humor. Though he looked like a serious type person, he was a lot more fun to talk to.

They started dating and both got on like a house on fire.

She was the non emotional type. Fun, bubbly and never actually getting serious in life or in relationships. He was the complete opposite. Serious and nerdy. He never made many friends and preferred to stay alone.

Both of them in the very beginning of their relationship understood that each wanted different things from each other. He was in for the long haul. Falling more and more in love with her with every passing day. She on the other hand was just casually dating.

She tried explaining it to him innumerable times that she was phobic to commitment and would probably never commit for life. But he always just smiled and changed the topic.

Nevertheless they were together. Like chalk and cheese they were completely opposite. And this was probably the reason they went along so well. They filled each other’s gaps and completed the picture together.

She slowly started getting him out of his shell and his influence made her more practical and patient.

They were the perfect examples of the theory which says opposites attract. And eventually she too fell in love with him.

Sitting under that tree today, she remembered the day he was to come to her place and ask her father for her hand in marriage.

She had barely slept last night and she impatiently walked up and down the hallway waiting for him.

She ran towards the door when she heard a car pulling into her driveway. Her dad welcomed them home and within the next 6 months they were married.

Together they built a marriage which lasted nearly five decades. She loved him with all her heart and laughed at herself, thinking how childish her thoughts on commitment had been.

He was there with her through every up and down and they together sailed their ship through the sea of life.

She was lost in her memories when she heard somebody call out to her from behind.

“Grandma, come let’s play!”

It was their 2 year old grandchild. She smiled at him. He has his grandfather’s eyes.

She took out a single red rose from her bag and laid it under the tree. It was his favorite flower. He often bought bouquets of fragrant crimson roses for her.

It has been 7 years since he left them for his heavenly abode, and every year, this day she comes here and relives that first date. The fateful day when she met her soul mate.

 

Sorrow’s and Joy’s

Life has way of balancing everything. Like if you get too much sorrow, you are bound to get an equivalent amount to joy some day that would write off all the sadness you felt.

Just when you start thinking that everything is falling apart and nothing could get to through, life gives you a much needed little nudge that helps you get through the most terrible times of your life.

Recently I lost a very dear aunt. The whole family was shocked at the untimely loss and for nearly a week we could barely think of anything else.

My aunt was the live wire in our family. A happy go lucky person who was bound to make everybody around her smile because she had the most infectious laugh ever! A regular chatterbox, she was always full of energy.

I remember my mom telling me that when she met my dad’s family for the first time after her marriage, my aunt was in 9th grade. She says that the first thing she noticed was how this girl ran up and down the stairs all day to get things done for the reception that was to be held that night. And how she came up to my mom every 15 minutes and made sure she wasn’t bored or feeling out of place in a new family.

Years later my aunt had revealed that when she saw my mom, she realized how lonely the bride must be feeling in a new family. So she made it a point to make my mom feel welcomed.

I’m often compared to my aunt for being the most talkative person in my family. And frankly, I feel proud to be compared to the one person who was the funniest, most caring, and the strongest member of our family.

At the age of 21 she had against the consent of the family, eloped with the love of her life  , who today is my uncle and the father of her two beautiful children, . Together these two had built the foundation of a strong marriage and a healthy family.

I hope wherever she is, her soul finds peace. She is watching us from the heavens above and I know that she can see the piercing pain everybody is feeling.

My family had been trying to cope up with this huge loss, when life turned around and bought happy news to our homes.

A couple of weeks after this tragedy, my cousin announced her engagement. Being the eldest child of our generation, her’s is the first wedding in the family after a long time. This news acted like a balm to our hearts. It gave us something to rejoice and look forward to.

Today, as I write this post, I can’t stop smiling at the happy prospect of my sister’s wedding, even though I sorely miss my aunt.

Life came full circle for us. We said goodbye to a beloved daughter of the family, and are now, thanks to my sister, preparing to welcome a son.

The Bride’s Side- Part 2

Back to blogging after like a month of being inactive. And the excuse this time is that I had so much editing to do, that I just ran away from anything that required me to open my laptop. Believe me, I hate anything related to weddings right now because I’v only been thinking about them this past one month.

First it was the preparation that went into all the planning for covering weddings, then came the weddings themselves and finally the mammoth task of editing thousands of pictures and shortlisting which are worthy enough to be given to the client. Phew! Whoever said weddings are supposed to fun and frolic, was never a wedding photographer.

Anyways, I’l crib later. First let me take you guys through the wedding day of an Indian Bride. Actually the wedding day of the last bride I met.

I Reached the venue at 7 in the morning on her wedding day and she was sitting there all ready and waiting for the rituals to begin. I can understand her not being able to sleep because of all the excitement but the poor girl went to bed at 2 in the morning after dancing for hours and here she was all ready and smiling.

Her’s was a Sikh wedding which take place in the morning. Usually north Indian weddings take place in the evening so the brides have a comparatively comfortable day and the madness begin at night. But here, the bride was supposed to be up and ready early morning and get done with all the rituals so that she could reach the parlor and meet her beautician at 9.

So when all the relatives were ready, the first ritual of the day began. The Chooda/Choora Ceremony.This is basically a Punjabi cultural ceremony where the Bride’s maternal uncles slip red and ivory bangles on her wrists which she would wear for the next 40 days. Bangles have a huge importance in the Hindu culture and married ladies are supposed to wear bangles all the time. The Chooda/Choora symbolizes that her wrists would never be empty from now on. In earlier days, the bride was supposed to wear her chooda for at least a year and the bride was refrained from doing any heavy household jobs. After the first anniversary, a small homely ceremony was held where the In-Law’s would remove her Chooda and Glass or gold bangles were placed on her wrists. The Chooda was then taken to a river and a small prayer was held after the which the Chooda was left to float in the river. My maternal grandmother’s Chooda was made of pure ivory and I remember her telling me that her chooda was floated in the river ‘Ganga“.

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Also, After the Chooda ceremony, the family of the bride hangs ‘Kalire‘ on her Bangles. The kalirey traditionally were made of a thin metal usually golden or silver in color, and coconuts. The metal symbolizes wealth and prosperity for the bride and groom and the coconuts symbolized that the bride never runs out of food in her new home.

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After this ceremony, The bride picked up her dress and jewelry and headed to the parlor to get ready and actually become a Bride.

I don’t know how the brides deal with it, but getting ready for the wedding ceremony according to me is probably the most agonizing part of the entire wedding. I mean I just sit in a corner and keep clicking pictures, but the poor bride has to sit on that chair for like 2 hours and get her make up and hair done and then get her lehenga draped. I shudder at the thought of going through this on  my own wedding. Though I’v seen brides who really enjoy the ‘getting ready’ part, I find it a torture. Sure I want to look my best on my wedding, but to sit and get your makeup done for like 2 hours is scary! Oh well! God help me and the beautician on my wedding day. I’l probably have to pay her double of what she charges to handle my tantrums as well. 😛

Anand Karaj

 

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So, now when the bride is ready and is all anxious for the baraat (The Groom and his relatives) to come, her sister’s and friends all come to her. Sister’s play a huge role in the wedding for a bride. They help the bride get ready, chose the best Bindi, give secret signals on whether the make up is going good or not, and are basically turn into a superwoman of sorts who can handle everything from getting extra hairpins to keeping the bride calm in such times when the bride is ready to explode with nervousness.

The bride sits in this small powder room reserved for her at the venue, waiting patiently for her knight on a white horse to come as everybody around her goes into a tizzy the moment they come to know that the baraat is about to reach.

And that is when the actual wedding begins…

 

Pictures By Clickaholicks

11-12-13

Today is the last synchronised date of this century. 11-12-13. And people are rushing to make this date be a special part of their lives.

The news is flooding with stories about couples who are tying the knot today. I follow a lot of photographers on Facebook and quite a lot of them said that the enquiries for this date were really high. 

In India, the marriages are fixed on a date after checking all the astronomical and  numerological significances. But according to a lot of astrologers, there is nothing special about this date as far as the stars go. But still numerous couples are rushing toward the mandap to tie the knot.

And if this was not enough, there are expectant mother’s who want to deliver their baby today. I was always taught that birth and death are two things that no human can ever control. These two area’s belong to god, and nobody can interfere in them. 

I was apparently taught wrong, because people are giving birth on the day they like so that their kids birthday would be on a unique date.

Now I don’t know if  being born on a sequential date would make them any more better in life. I mean come on, if being born on a particular date changed your life’s fate, women around the world would make sure to plan their pregnancy so meticulously that every child would end up being the president or a Hollywood star or maybe a world renowned writer or a Nobel prize winner. 

And if everybody became so good then the not so good people like me would be the extraordinary ones because we would be the people who are just not that good in everything .

Oooh! I like that!! 😀

Hmm….maybe it is really not that bad about people going crazy after such dates. I mean I admit I went a little overboard last year on my birthday because the date was 20-12-2012. I went paranoid thinking I’l buy such and such stuff and the bill would bear such an awesome date.

Thanks to my friends who knocked some sense into me. 

The point is, that any date no matter how awesome it is would not change the decisions you make in your life. Even if a person is born on a super cool date, that would not guarantee his being really famous in the world. His choices in life would be the sole determinant of what happens with him. And the same applies on getting married on such a date. Yes the albums would bear an awesome date but would that really guarantee you marital bliss? 

Celebrate such dates. There’s no harm in that. But don’t go overboard with the celebrations. Each day is special no matter how ordinary or extraordinary the date is.