Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nikita - The wonder girl (Part 2)

I called her the other day when I needed some information on BoB. She still has the same melodic voice and I felt instantly guilty of how irritated I often sound on the phone. Anyway, I quickly started telling her who I am as I thought she would have forgotten me but no she hadn't. She vividly remembered everything about our interaction way back when I was in Mumbai. It was only I who had kept the memory of her at the back of my mind. She was disappointed with me and of course she has all the right to be, I hadn't called her since the time I came back from Mumbai neither did I share my number. I apologized earnestly and asked what she has been upto all this while. She told me shyly that she got married in June. Now, my mind started racing in all directions - whom she got married to, how is she coping up with, where does she live and what not. But before even I could begin to ask her, the ever ebullient girl she is, she started telling me about her fairy tale. Girl met boy in office, same project, same aspirations, blossoming of love and culmination in marriage. I mean I was zapped, I could not begin to tell her how this new beginning in her life has touched me. Its so simple, clear like crystal. This girl who cannot see the world, touched someone's heart in her own sweet way and got betrothed for life :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Punjabi streak!

As my mommy says often – You dont eat Sarso ka saag te makki di roti and you dont like wearing gaudy, flashy clothes hence you are a misfit to be born a Punjabi. I usually just laugh this off because my parents do no better than I do, they are vegetarians, are extremely soft spoken, wear the plainest of clothes, speak as good Punjabi as would a Briton and don’t have anything much to show off either.

The other day, one of my uncles - my mommy’s first cousin called and invited us for their silver jubilee anniversary celebrations. They said that they wanted to make it grand, like a wedding and hence are taking all their close ones to this resort in Jim Corbett where it would be two day celebration. My natural reaction should have been, I can’t take off from work and that this is boring stuff so I am not going to go but whoa this I thought would be the litmus test if I could really be thick into Punjabis and see if I can be one of them. So, we planned for that weekend and off to Jim Corbett we went. They had done elaborate arrangements, the entire resort was booked and what a wonderful way to spend a weekend than being able to stroll down to the pool, click pictures near the fountain or have a cup of tea while you watch a wedding video which dates back 25 years. I teased my parents, the then newlyweds who looked at each other so very shyly. I also saw my grandmother shaking a leg and it was such sheer delight. Anyway, so the first day was Mehendi in the afternoon, we all sat around the mehendi walla and waited for our turns, I too got it done on both my hands and then got conveniently fed by daddy cool! Evening was what I was waiting for, for my favorite function – Sangeet was planned. The dress theme that evening was red and green and I had carefully chosen my outfit - shimmery and bright. The best thing in Punjabi gatherings is that you can never be overdressed and there are always enough people to make you feel comfortable. Soon enough started the proper Punjabi style Sangeetdholki, folk songs, gidda steps and the like. My feet wouldn’t stop tapping and it was indeed such a pleasure to be there. Well if this side all aunties made quite a noise then the uncles were no less, there was one Dr Uppal who sang all Hemant and Kishore Kumar songs, the uncles took drinks on drinks and he sang and sang. Quite late in the night, post the compulsory Antaakshari, we sauntered to our cottages. It was that day I realized how I am a true blue Punjabi who felt so much at home in such settings.

Next day, I woke up and got dressed at my own sweet pace, ate breakfast and then was another round of games and music. Well I won’t dwell into the details of the games but they were hugely enjoyable and I too won a prize, yayyy! I also met the prettiest 12 year old who was such a chatter box that I for once had complex about my ranting skills. The afternoon passed by all in boisterous laughter and loud music and then was evening, the time for cocktail party. As expected, the dress theme was black; one had to see to believe the sexy looking women and dashing men dancing away to glory. We came back the next day and guess what this is not over yet. Next day was the actual date for the anniversary and so a party again, a cake which was a feet smaller than I was cut, a lovely video was shown and huge diamond rings were exchanged. This was like truly seeing people living life king size. I have come to realize now that I kind of admire them, the generosity, the warm welcome, the dancing and singing, the part of letting go the sophistication for being truly loud and up there!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Festivity it is!

Its that time of the year again, when the mood is festive, shopping places are brimming with new stock and the temperature is coming down notch by notch. I was itching to go out and be part of every celebration - the dandiya, Durga Pooja and Dusshhera. Sadly, the super enthusiastic dancer in me had no partner for Dandiya and so I had to skip that. But, I am so glad I could manage to go to Pooja pandals as well as Dusshhera.

It was after many years that I revisited the Durga Pooja pandal and it was nothing less than magnificent. I visited 2 pandals and the enormity of idols in both of these took my breath away. The place was reverberating with the drum beats and the air evoked the fragrance of the holy smoke. I loved just standing there, being able to absorb all what was happening around. Quite late in the night, I could still visualize the scene at the pandal, I could still feel my heart pulsating. With the backdrop of such electrifying experience, I resolved today to go for the Dusshhera. We were at Lajpat Nagar market, I was helping mommy select bed covers, cushion covers, table covers and what not. Its only at 7 that I insisted we had to go and find the Raavan. To my delight we found not just 1, but at least 8 of them, in a vicinity of 500 meters. We sat in a park in front of 4 of them and waited for God Ram's arrival. The block which had arranged for 4 Ravans had done elaborate arrangements, so in that park were not just chairs, but all kind of savoury stalls, a stage in the front that had dancers in the form of Gods - Shiva, Sai Bada, Kaali maa and adjoining to the park were the heavy duty fireworks which added to the spirit of the program. Finally the God, appeared and with his bow - arrow aimed at one of the Raavans. In a matter of few moments, it was all up in the air, the big thermocol idol reduced to ashes thus declaring the victory of good over evil.

It is on such days that I feel with greater vigour that what a marvellous thing is it to be born an Indian. We are such amazingly crazy for festivals people. It is on these festivals that we bond again, leaving behind whatever little there is to nag about.

P.S - I suddenly remember an overused sentence from my school days essays. "India is a country whose strength lies in unity in diversity :)"