Living out of the country, I have missed out on lot of Indian weddings over the years. An Indian wedding is like a festival, celebrating the good luck of the happy couple and a chance to show off your wealth and social connections. Unlike olden days when the weddings lasted a week, in these days of inflation and urban living the weddings last only couple of days, but be assured these days are packed with fun on every level.
I had a chance to attend a very close friend’s wedding on this trip. The preparation before attending the wedding is as much fun as the wedding itself. Buying fancy Indian clothes, shopping for beautiful Indian jewelry, matching the clothes, jewelry and shoes…I am sorry but the quote from MasterCard advertisement is perfect here, “Spending time with your close friend on her wedding…priceless; for everything else there is MasterCard!” Or for everything else there is a bank called “Dad”!
The best part-it was a destination wedding, far away from the noise and sweltering heat of Mumbai crowds, this was a wedding nestled in the hills of Dalhousie, in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. The drive up the hills to Dalhousie through those narrow one lane roads was a fantastic experience; thankfully I wasn’t the one driving! Needless to say the wedding was absolute fun. Thank you to the lovely couple for including me on their special day. It was also a great way to spend quality time with my parents, touring around the north, seeing Taj Mahal and other beautiful monuments. I had almost forgotten the joy of dressing up in weddingy Indian clothes, over the top blingy jewelry, non-stop eating and constant hugging! Attending a friend’s wedding has the added benefit of you being practically anonymous as you don’t know most of the other relatives. There isn’t anyone around to judge you for the amount of alcohol and food you consume. Also there is no one to question you on your singlehood, though there was a moment when my friend tried to be a wing woman and introduce me to a guy in what had to be one of the most awkward introductions ever; but that is a story for another time.
I know I mentioned in the previous post that I will avoid maudlin posts, but being assaulted by images and memories is inevitable when one goes home. The memories are bittersweet part of being home, the one place where everyone has seen you at your worst and have more or less accepted you!
Yesterday I travelled back in time while helping my dad with some chores. My dad wanted me to go through my old textbooks and figure out which ones he could give away to the local library. Going through those textbooks on Pharmacology, Anatomy and Physiology, brought back the countless hours spent pouring over those books, those hours which couldn’t go slow enough so that I could cram everything possible in my brain. Seeing my notes in pencil in the textbook margins brought back those days when the only important thing in life was to score good grades and the most important decision was to decide how much time should be spent on a particular study topic.
Then I took a journey into a past much further than my undergrad school days- into the childhood days of my older sisters and those of mine. As my dad and I went on clearing out more cabinets, we came across 2 drawers full of old photo albums. Since digital cameras are still fairly recent, most of our older photographs are on glossy photo papers in jumbo albums. I found albums of old trips taken across India, pictures of my older sisters when they were still babies (almost unrecognizable!), our photos with grandparents. The hilarious part of those pictures was our get up- the fashion of bygone eras. And then I found my parents’ wedding album….found those pictures with my parents all dressed up and looking so young! As you grow older you tend to forget that your parents were once young and had a life that did not revolve around you…seeing these older pictures reminds you of those times, when you were NOT in the picture! Needless to say I spent a great afternoon looking at those pictures and reminiscing old times with dad.
Now that is the kind of nostalgia I wouldn’t mind getting lost in. Those old, stuck to plastic cover photographs are not just coloured paper, they are memories; unaccountably precious and forever reminding you of the passing of time. Whenever I am bogged down with irritation due to visa issues or difficulty of dealing with parents, I remind myself that I am here to build precious memories. Whether I am spending the afternoon idling with my parents or out sightseeing with them, these are the small moments which make life.