Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Once Upon A Time in Mumbai

Five months ago, I came to Bombay as a new bride. It wasn't the first time I was coming to the city, but the arrival had many significant undertones. It was the real beginning of mine and AV's marriage, the first time we would be setting up a house together, the first time we would really start to live as a couple. The month following the wedding was a whirlwind of travelling, honeymooning, paperwork, packing, blah blah blah. But November 14th 2012 was the true start of the marriage.

I always knew that our time in Bombay would be short. But five months later, in hindsight, I have bipolar perspectives about my time here. On one level, it seems like an eternity that I have been here, that I have been dealing with the city. And on another, it seems like yesterday that I entered Malkani Mahal (yes thats the name of my building) and was so overwhelmed with the bombardment of information, that I started crying.

I was never a Bombay-hater; on the contrary, on one particular visit (which I also blogged about), I was quite taken by the city. However, at the end of the blog post about the eventful Bombay trip (eventful for reasons which ultimately resulted in me being married) I wrote that Bombay has had no emotional connect for me. Today, after five months of being a pseudo Mumbaikar, I can safely say that Bombay will always hold a prime place in my heart and soul. It was the city where AV and I met for the very first time in life and it's only fair that it has also been the city where we set up our first home, learnt to live with (and tolerate) each other. It was where we devised our own systems of living, own little rituals and routines. It was where we did so many things right from scratch- finding a maid, finding a presswala, a newspaper guy, a grocery store, a parlour (yes it's important!). It was where I learnt that I am responsible for paying the bills, and if I falter, there will be no cable, no internet. It was where I learnt to cook (like BIG pat on the back for moi), and while I have no Masterchef type qualities, and still can't make an above average Sambar (shame on me right?!), I am no longer scared of the idea of cooking, and can manage a halfway decent meal (and I am a certified expert in simla mirch-paneer ki sabzi- just saying). It was where I realized that I am NOT housewife material, and have the potential to turn crazy if forced to sit at home and do nothing but manage house. It was where I worked, and realized that managing house and work is a herculean task (big hug to my mommies who manage it with a huge smile), but it's not really undoable. Your house might be a little messy at times, and you might order in a lot more (especially if you belong to the ungharelu category of yours truly), but if your head is sane, the world is yours to conquer :)

Life lessons apart, Bombay is a storehouse of memories. My first weekend coincided with Bal Thackeray's death, and it was the quietest and 'dead'-est that I have seen Bombay (pun not intended). It was the weekend we celebrated one month of being married. And it was the weekend where I cooked proper meals for the first time, and emerged victorious ;) Bombay, to me, is about long walks to Haji Ali and eating the world's most awesome fruit cream there. High level intellectual discussions with the boss which eventually ended with the phrase "dimaag ka dahi ban gaya". Going to Phoenix practically every weekend for a movie, or dinner, or both, and struggling to find a cab back. The randomest day trip to Igatpuri with the office people, and chit chatting with the sister non stop through the day. Going to Bandra to meet the gang, and getting back at unearthly hours, too tired to even sleep. Random outings to Marine Drive. Showing my mommy around the city. The time we rushed through a dinner at Pizza By The Bay, just so we could have the homemade Parsi ice cream at Marine Drive. The time I went to CST to cheer AV for the marathon (listed in life's favouritest moments). The local ride from CST to Dadar, on marathon day. Brunch at Leopold and walking in Colaba. My surprise bday party at home, where AV managed to pull of a coup, in more ways than one. Going to Siddhi Vinayak, and still feeling awed by it, each time. Discovering Juhu Beach and Matunga with the in laws. The time the gang went for the premiere of Race2 and the madness which followed. Meeting the sister every day at work, and coming up with something new to dissect and analyze every day. Weekend brunches from Udipi. Learning Gujarati and Bambaiyya cultural nuances at work. Play watching. The super long walk to Matunga for lunch on a hot Sunday afternoon...and so much more.

People I met, places I saw, food I ate, things I did- all of it happened in Bombay. But as the Gestalt theory states "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"...Bombay, has been more than the life lessons, and the memories- it has been life itself. Ciao Bombay- until we meet again :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The time when I was a month late in saying "Happy New Year"

So I haven't blogged in a million years. But then I read this, by traveller, and decided that it's never really too late to blog. I wanted to blog about the wedding, and actually have a half completed post in the dashboard, but everytime I tried to complete it, Blogger did something funny to it. And now I just don't feel like completing it. The wedding was a.m.a.z.i.n.g, and a set of awesome and happy memories which I recall (and would continue to do so) every time I feel a tad low. Or every time I just feel like it. And some day, I want to write every single thing about it, just so I have it for posterity.

But this post isn't all about the wedding. This post is about 2012, as a whole. Although, to really put it bluntly, 2012 was ALL about the wedding. At least till October. And then it was about getting over the wedding, and getting into the marriage.

2012 began with the preparation of the engagement. The planning, the shopping, the hush hush invitations. The deciding of the wedding date. The arrival of people from far and near. And finally, the event itself. Which was just coolness. I mean where else amongst the community of Tam Brahms would you have a groom-to-be dance with his besties to Desi Boys and the bride-to-be rushing to hug the boys after the performance (sacrilege I am sure!). Mine was the funnest engagement I have ever attended (and I have attended quite a few, to be fair). It was Tam Brahm and Punjabi, loud and noisy and joy and happiness and warmth and love. And it was exactly a year ago..happy engagement anniversary to moi :D

Then came February. I joined CSR, went to Bombay, came back sick, and remained sick through my 25th- the worst 25th birthday in the history of 25th birthdays. March was defined by Holi, the first time I played (or rather, was forced to play), by the fiance and his besties. I am just not a Holi person, and I suspect that the Holi of 2012 is going to be the beginning of a life term effort on the part of the husband to make sure I become one (fat chance that).

In April, the father moved to Hambantota. I had my M.Phil viva (super duper awesome that was). Till the end of May, we were going at snail's pace with the wedding planning, very much in the "abhi toh bahut time hai!" phase. June was when things picked up speed- I quit CSR (sob sob) and went to Chennai for wedding shopping (super duper crazy).

July and August were all about shopping, visits to tailors, and basically a million lists. The father visited in August (after hoisting the Indian flag in Lanka land- proudest moment e.v.e.r), and card distribution/posting/inviting began in September. And then came October. How it flew! One of my favourite memories of the pre-wedding days is going for an impromptu movie outing with the parents (English Vinglish was utter rubbish, but it's the sentiment which counts right?)

And then began the wedding, a week long celebration of the greatest event ever.The cocktail was super fun- I wore a lehenga after practically a decade, and a bun for the first time ever, and looked and felt like a completely different person. The day after the cocktail, was when the greatest disaster turned greatest miracle of all time happened, amidst the family musical session. To cut a long story short, the childhood friend from Canada was stranded at Mumbai airport with her boyfriend, and the parents and uncle pulled every string known to mankind to make sure she gets to Delhi, and the wedding. While she was on her way to Delhi, the bride to be (moi) declared to all and sundry that she wants to go to the airport, and since she was the bride, she had to be obliged (coz you know, you don't piss a bride to be off). But then, since she was the bride, a four member delegation (comprising the father, the uncle, and two cousins) accompanied her in two cars (yes I come from a madcap paranoid family) to the airport. And reunion with the childhood friend happened- 13 years later. Listed in life's favourite moments? Check.

And then the wedding happened. I don't know what all to write about- the leaving home, the grand welcome given for the bride, the chit chatting with the BFFs, the irritating beautician (who did a great job btw), the husband's incessant talking in the middle of all the rituals, the sister's beautiful surprise dance, the family's phenomenal group performance, the chariot, the besties removing makeup and hovering around me, the early morning gossip with the twin, the BBMing with the husband, the family oohing and aahing (as always) over how pretty I looked, the girls chit chatting away to glory, the jaimala (where I was actually lifted!), the kanyadaan (where the mother and sister started the never ending copious tears), the moment when the mangalsutra was tied (goosebump inducing till date), the pheras, the grihapravesh, entering my room after everything was over and the girls pulling and pushing to remove all the paraphernalia, the chit chatting with the husband and his besties hours before the reception, the FINAL visit to the parlour, the non stop standing and smiling at the reception, the irritating photographers, the teary vidaai....

The list is endless. But the wedding ended. And the marriage began. The honeymoon(s) happened- in Goa and Kashmir (and ended with Vaishno Devi- super yay!). In November, the marriage was registered and I changed my name. Diwali happened, and I moved to Bombay. I set up a house, learnt how to cook. The mother came to visit for a week, the husband had his first birthday after the wedding. I am still getting used to being (and feeling) married...but really, it doesn't truly feel any different...I don't feel different! I still feel silly and stupid and filmy Except I live in a different city, with a boy, and I cook (more astounding and unbelievable than the living with the boy part). 

Coming back to 2012- it was a whirlwind year, ending as quickly as it began. A year where I got to meet all of my most favourite, most important people- people who made me, me. 2012 would always be the most unforgettable, the most crazy, the most life changing year. A year which I would always hold extremely close to my heart and soul. A year which gave me a new name, multiple new relationships, many responsibilities, and a lot of happy happy intangible things.

It's ok 2013, you have a lot to live upto. You can never be 2012, but let's hope and pray that you are as happy and full of good memories as 2012 was.