December 1,2011: I have to save this date, forever, and you will soon know why. A day of masala and masti. Please be patient. I love to share every bit of the most important moments. (All pics on FB, will soon follow)
First Wedding Gift: My mom’s youngest sister Ammu (Sangeeta) came home in the morning with 3 big gift boxes. I didn’t even think it could be for me. I was busy relishing pav bhajji, wondering how to smash the veggies if I ever make it, cos Mark pukes with the smell of vegetables, and he does not eat 90 percent of them. And then Ammu is like “Here, Joy. It’s too early but I had to buy it cos I have another wedding coming up from my husband’s side this month.”
I jumped up quite shamelessly opened all the gifts, and all were sets to go with a rice cooker! Wow! Now you see, with a rice cooker, anyone can make rice (even Mark, lol). It reminded me of my college times at Pune, when the rice cooker saved us (Appu, Anu and Pravi) for two full years. We made everything possible using it – rice, chai, dal, curries, and even used it to boil water for bath!
I’ve got a rice cooker with an extra bowl, one idly-making thing, one steamer, and another cute black proper cooker!
Shopping: Mamma’s sister Rani (Sabitha) and her daughter, my cousin, Joni (Hana Priyanka), along with Ammu accompanied us for shopping. We were to split into two teams – one for buying dressing material for my ghagra, and the other for casual clothing (the younger party). While mamma and aunty left, we were at home, about to leave, but delayed because of this sudden josh to dress up Ammu and click pictures. Toy is great with make-up – she did mine for the engagement.
Just then we got a call from mom asking us to come immediately to Neeru’s Abids, to try on a ghagra choli. We went, saw it, loved it – I tried it, everybody’s eyes lit up, sales executives froze along with the other female mannequins, and the Kanthamma gang (my grandma’s name) going “AAWWWW WOW, amazing, joy ke kuttinatlu undi, bridal look…” and the new male mannequins agreeing with them, “Madam, aap ke liye hi silaye jaisa hai.” Just to rule out other options, I hurriedly tried 2 more. One was okay, elegant but not bridal types, and the second one – well, the skirt did not fit me, so I came out wearing the choli with jeans – ha ha ha.
It is done! We found the one! It’s got the look! ( the best part is yet to come)
While we were coming out of the store, we saw Tollywood shoot happening. I shamelessly took a pic – (well- hello! for you guys only)
A group of jawani-ke-josh-mey fellas running out as if being chased, with no scary expressions, but actually laughing to themselves. Guess why? The shot was from the back – depicting people running away. “Why would anyone do this silly thing for a thutta-putta 300 Rs or so- running around?” said someone in the car. I was like “Many love to come on the screen. With pay, without pay; with face, without face.” (my experience in video production taught me that)
Laughed till I dropped: Came home for Suri’s chai, and Taher bhai was there already. Waiting for us to approve, what we thought was a sample of how the card and cover would actually look.
But what do we see? Our man, in all his enthu, re-designed the card with 3 variations, in two different colours. And why? “Mereko acha nahi laga. Gold colour ubhalke aana bahir. Woh utke nahi aara, tho main raat thamam baitke karvaya. Pasand nahi aaya madam?”
Pasand ki aulat, his face also changed colours within seconds, with mom and me giving him left, right ‘n centre. Then we pilaod chai after manofying him about his wasted, untimely efforts, and bargaining heavily on the price. Chai works somehow, especially Irani.. and now we go to Rani! (man, I’m in a terrible PJ mood)
Rani and mamma kept narrating a slew of adventurous incidents from their childhood days. Eight of them: 4 sisters, 2 brothers, 2 adopted brothers – enjoyed life to the fullest. Full of chalu and faltoo fun- ragged every bakra they could find, played practical jokes on strangers, teased kirana shop fellows with accented English, scared friends at graveyards at midnight,and too many others to list. What makes the fun even more captivating is the fact that they came home to an alcoholic dad who would beat up my grandmother, and serve some lashes to all who tried to rescue her. When he was drunk and had finished his beatings, they would lock him up, and sit down around to hear amamma read stories from Chandamaama, and other famous comic books. They’d run away from their dad when he got worse, and watch a late night movie – all the kids with amamma, and sleep in the govt-run park. When amamma declared a ‘holiday’ – that meant a holiday for food – no food in the house! What a life (this space does no justice, so will tell more another time)
What made the laughing uncontrollable was this: While Ammu, Joni and myself were laughing in the key of C2 (lower note), mamma and Rani were in the key of C8 (which is the highest note in a piano)!
Later, I went to Lifestyle for casual shopping with Preethima (my best friend), and we had dinner at Delhi9. While I was on my way home, Mark called and asked me to meet him for dinner. He got his salary, and as always, he likes to have the first meal with me. Plus, I had not met him in 2 days so we fixed a spot, and I was waiting. Battery low, cell went off, and I was still waiting, wondering if he forgot, or if he told me he had left but was still with his parents busy with printing wedding cards. Guess 15 min later, he came, fullto smiling. Entered the car, and gave me a bouquet of flowers. (And all the girls say ‘Aaaaawww so cute’)
We headed out to Ohris, Basheerbagh cos that’s the closest to my house, and Mark doesn’t allow me to go home that late – he drops me home and takes an auto back home. (And again all the girls say ‘aaaawwww’)
“Ya, why you don’t like them?”
“No, nothing. Are they looking red cos its dark, or are they red?”
“They are red. I asked for red.”
“Or may be orange na, but looks like red!”
“What’s the problem? They are really red. You want me to take you to the florist?”
“No, I just can’t believe they are red, and why did you put white carnations in between?”
“Cos after I put the red together, I somehow felt like picking the white ones also – it felt incomplete. Please tell me what it is”
And I was smiling, still in shock.
He said, “Oh my God, was this the last sign?”
“Yes! Yes! Unbelievable! I thought it would never happen”
How can something I read in a book, and then pray about, years before, come true, yyyeeears later?
When I was single, I came across this story of a lady who kept asking God for signs if the guy she chose was the one or not. And apart from all her serious signs, one of the romantic ones was something like this – that her guy should give her a certain color of flowers with a certain combination only. It was so specific, and it was just between her and God. She did not tell a soul. And one day she gets a gift from him, and when she opens it, it has all petals as a decoration – the same color combination!
It was then, long ago, that I thought to myself, “Lord, I know it sounds kinda fairy-taleish, and Bollywood, but if it happened for her, it can happen for me. You are the same Jesus, yesterday, today and forever,” and I gave God one of my bonus romantic signs.
I had a series of serious confirmations I had asked for like confirmation from the Bible(general and specific) and affirmation by my mentors, even before I said yes to Mark. When all these basic, most important were fulfilled, I knew this was it. I also had many chota mota ones all throughout, one by one – I kept ticking off. And the last one was this “The guy should give me a combination of red and white flowers. It could come in any form – petal packing or a bouquet or anything. What form or shape it takes, I’m not concerned.” I made this prayer before Mark came into my life.
I always, also told Mark that after marriage, or just before, I would tell him, if that last sign or signs get fulfilled.
I never told a soul. Not even Preethima whom I tell every single thing. Nobody! Only Jesus.
And I cannot cannot believe it – I’m still staring at the flowers. Such a little, insignificant, girly, silly, romantic sign – I forgot, but the Lord remembered. (And again the girls say waaaaaooooowww)
I love you Jesus! and I love you Mark!
Now I can walk down that aisle, without a shadow of doubt…
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me” Psalms 138:8
(And all the guys and girls say Amen!)