Day 12: Jewellery done! Invitations going out!

The jewellery and footwear for the gown and ghagra is finally done! Went with mom to Begum Bazaar, then GVK, and finally found everything at Mebaz, near White House. We searched everywhere when what we wanted was right around the corner. Begum Bazaar is fascinating – from baskets, to huge cooking vessels, to jewellery – you get everything there.

Little Ryan came with us shopping at GVK, and later he was  getting cranky, so we had to take him home. How cute he is! There was a time when I never bonded so much with children. Somehow, with Ryan, its an amazing bond. I love to see him, make him laugh, play with him, and just carry him and put him to sleep.

I have no memory whatsoever of who carried me, and made me laugh, or put me to sleep. The first few months are so crucial for a baby and for the mother. And the ones who helped you during those times are precious people. People the mom will not forget for the rest of her life.

And to some such people who carried me when I was a baby, and to those who helped us a family, when we were struggling to make ends meet – my parents have invited for the wedding, and they have told me time and again about the friends who helped us when we were babies.

A whole gang of friends from Mumbai have confirmed – Nandu uncle and family – a huge family! Every year we spent the summer vacation with them, for at least 10 years. What fun we had and what food we ate. Amazing childhood memories.They hosted us every single year, and we so love them for those precious days at Bombay.

I keep video-playing the invitees  who will come to the reception, and wish me, and how I’ll have to tell Mark who the people are and how are we related to them. The engagement gave me a heads up, and alerted me to the fact that I’m very absent-minded and don’t remember how certain relatives are related to us, and what are their names.

When mom and dad were going through their list, they were debating on whom we can cut down – if any. Name by name, they were talking about how a friend was so important, and at the end of it, they could hardly cancel a few names.

I appreciate my dad – he remembers every single person who ever helped him, and many of  his close friends right from school and college, and I love how he keeps in touch with them. So many times, I have met uncles at shopping, and they hug dad and tell me “We know your dad since school. We studied together,” or “We were in college together and we loved his singing even then.”
We pride ourselves on how FB helps us to keep in touch with long lost friends, but hats off  to my dad, who without a mobile (in those days) and FB, maintains better relations that most of us do. Nothing can beat that personal phone call, or that personal visit to a friend’s home. I know how pappa visited the parents of his friends who were in the US, years after they left; and few months ago, one such friend came back from the US. A very posh fella, and I was wondering what he and dad had in common, cos he was so tech savvy and all that. Then Jay uncle told us how he valued the little visits pappa made to see his mother, and that he’s ever grateful to pappa for that. Amazing!

I know that Indian weddings are big fat weddings, and a lot of money is spent on various things  – most important being food and decoration for the reception and wedding, and clothes! I am totally against throwing money on unnecessary traditions, but there are few traditions which help bonding, and I am for them.

I’m also against superstitions, and will not spend a dime on any of it. Traditions, though, do have some place in my heart, and my pocket (now, my parents’ pocket). Like Nalugu, where the parents give me a bridal shower, followed by relatives, and then Sangeet, where all relatives come together in celebration – wow! I wonder how marriages would be without all this sandadi.

I know many romantics who say its best to get married near the beach with a few friends and family members – very few. It might be nice and quiet … but I love sound of music, sound and music, dance and masti, and the view of people glittering in bright colors, teasing and ragging the couple, feasting and dancing, celebrating the union of a man and woman, of Mark and me – oh so much joy it brings!

We do have a choice to make regarding expenses though  – we were discussing today. Let’s spend the money God gave us wisely, on what’s most important, and let’s cut down on what’s not, we decided.

As for me, I think and I told them, spending too much on reception decoration is not a very wise thing. Let’s not exceed our budget in that area. But one area I don’t want to compromise is good food and good service. Around 60 percent of the crowd would be those who really care about me or Mark, or our respective parents – may be the rest 40 care about having good food. But this 60 percent matters to me.

And as far as we can, as a family, we’d like to treat them well, by giving them time and personal attention, and good quality food, and ensure they have a pleasant evening. For me, its just all about gratitude. I want to be able to say thanks to all those who were there with my parents and with us all through these years. And if that translates money, so be it.

God has blessed us so we can bless others. And there is something so lovely about arranging a good party – when the families walk back after the dinner to the auto, car, or bike, and have their hearts  filled with joy. That’s what I keep imagining. And that’s what I pray. That we will be able to exude the love and grace of God, to everyone who comes… that they will go back feeling special. Our focus is the people, and not the ‘show’.

Lord, help me to joyfully receive and smile at every single guest!

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