2 Moves and a Wedding
On 10th December I felt as if I had lost so much. It turns out that I gained so much more than any thankless job could have ever given me. The last 2 months have been full of paradoxes – broken up into 3 parts.
Once my parents came back into town, loaded with curtains (purple for my room!) and light fittings for our lovely new house, I threw myself fully into the preparations.
The crazy days began. Days filled with
discussions about bathroom lights, towel rods, dining table tops, shoe-rack
purchases. Every alternate day we visited the construction site – to keep a tab
on the progress so as to ensure the builder sticks to his very tight deadline
for delivering the house – a week before the wedding. We climbed 10 flights of
stairs and spent hours supervising the work, till the point where we began to
feel like we should be paid for doing the site engineers’ work. After the
workers took off for lunch, we would harass the site supervisor, trying to
ensure that the lift would be operational and water would be running. On alternate
days we visited furniture shops around the city, planned to take trips for
making bulk purchases for house supplies, selected kitchen tiles, found out
that the kitchen tiles that were selected were not in stock and started all
My brother and I argued over the height of
the bar top, my brother and father over the width of the dining table, mom and
brother about the placement of the TV. Ok so the observant ones have noticed
that my brother is the common factor in the squabbles. He is like a big ball. Very
slow to move but once he starts rolling – he will CRUSH anyone who stands in the way of his ideas (more on the
leather pants later).
We procured cartons from our long-standing
go-to guy, Vinu. Vinu was always at hand, whatever we needed, and we felt
really bad that we would be leaving him behind when we moved. He gracelessly
agreed to our taking his maggi and biscuit cartons and we started putting our stuff
Post a short nap back home, it was time to hit the road for some exercise.
I made a special effort to not miss a workout, my determination to lose weight at its zenith in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I even quit drinking for 4 months in the attempt to push my lazy body to shed some flab. I was quite confident that I would slim down, a confidence that lead me to make a move that I regretted every day for 2 weeks after. I told my tailor to make my blouses tight – assuring her I would lose weight by the time she delivered them. I was lucky enough to find a sari I adored very easily, and I decided to not overdo the dressing up for any occasion except for the wedding day and the reception. So that cut out the pressure of buying myriad salwar-kurtas, lehengas and saris. I did however indulge in the totto – shopping.
Wedding discussions were headed my dad –
and dad has 3 main personality traits –
1. According to my father, the biggest insult that can ever be afforded to a guest is when the host has run out of food. While I live to eat, I also do understand that these things happen. So we ended up ordering so much food that we could have fed our guests all over again with the leftovers, and still have some left over for breakfast the next day. Every day we shuffled food between fridges and freezers, between shelves and vessels, the biggest struggle always was shutting the fridge door.
2. Dad always plans for the worst. According to him, the Queen of England may drop by in Pune during the ceremony, so we have to make extra provisions for the guards, leave 5 hours early to the airport, put out extra bedding for the Queen’s cousins who might decide to visit us.
So there we were, planning and planning and fine-tuning and planning for situations that we knew had a 1% chance of occurring.
3. Dad loves excel. Now, my dad is technically challenged. But excel is one thing he has managed to average (far from master) on his own. So he lives by it. We had excels that counted the number of pieces of fish that had to be cooked for every meal. We had excels that specified who travels with whom on the taxi.
So while dad was busy doing all this, mom
and I were getting the real work done. I mean, who cares if some random aunt
gets only 1 piece of fish. What would blow was if we did not have jewelry that
matched our outfits or if we forgot to buy return - presents for everyone. So we
had our own discussions and plans. We put our clothes into plastic bags and labeled
them day-wise. We put the jewelry into little zip-lock bags and the hid them in
our clothes pockets for the journey. We did home manicures and pedicures,
facials and hair spas. My mother even got me to moisturize daily for over a
month, and proudly pointed out how much ‘fairer’ I looked now that my tan was
gone and how she didn’t have a daughter who looked like a peasant with dry
elbows anymore. Meanwhile my brother brought out his new leather pants, and put
forth his idea of wearing it for one of the ceremonies. The ensuing looks of
horror and shrill protests made him pause, and in that pause I made the pants
The days’ dark deeds done and I’d get into
bed and think about how my new job would be. What I like the work? Would the
people there be fun or the boring lawyer types? Would I have to wear formals to
work everyday? Would I be able to save anything after living expenses? Would I make
any new friends? Would I like the food?
When the day finally arrived to catch that flight, my mind was only half on the move. The other half was thinking about the excitement I would be missing back home, and how I would survive the 2 weeks away from it.
I landed on Sunday, only to find out soon
after that the next day was a holiday at work. So I spent the day trying to get
comfortable in a strange house. On first glance I liked the city, but I knew I couldn’t
really have any fun before I took off back to Pune, since I wasn’t drinking or
eating out for fear of not fitting into my blouse. Office seemed nice enough,
except that I didn’t have much work. The trend continued for the 2 weeks I was
there, except the few days I was asked to collect some data to build a case,
and I started regretting I’d ever asked to be assigned work. Nonetheless, I survived,
and here I must afford heartfelt thanks to Grooveshark and Facebook.
There were however 2 people that I dreaded
meeting, the rickshaw driver from the ride to work and the rickshaw driver from
the ride from work. If this place needs a quick fix to make it one of the
nicest cities in India – just line up all the rickshaw drivers at the firing
range. While most rickshaw guys all the over country cheat you, these guys are
so BLOODY RUDE while doing it that it
really gets my goat. The other day a guy just stopped his auto mid-way to my
house and refused to move! He grumbled and complained in Kannada about
god-knows what, and literally threw me out. I walked the remaining 2 kms back
home, cursing him every step of the way!
I was still on my fitness regime I found
park nearby and went for a run there. Lalbagh is big and beautiful and reminds
me of the parks back in Delhi. I had a long, refreshing run around a beautiful
lake and decided to head back after dusk started creeping in. I emerged from
the gate only to realize I strayed off the path and was at 1 of the other 3
gates. That was when my real workout started – as the growing darkness engulfed
me in panic, I sprinted atleast 3 kms to the right gate. The park has giant,
detailed direction maps and boards but the fellows have not thought it necessary
to mark out “You are here”, so I had to put my language skills as well as my hands
and legs to work and ask the guard to direct me. Still on an adrenaline high
from the previous day’s run, I went back the next day. Since there was a big
flower show in the park that day, I had been informed by a friend to carry 5
bucks for entry fee. So I did, in my hand and was all pumped to burn those
calories. Only to find out that the entry was actually 40 bucks, but he let me
through after seeing my running attire. That presented a new problem; I had
nowhere to keep the 5 buck coin I had carried. I considered throwing it away, but
then stuffed it into my shoe, thinking I would throw it out if it hurt. It didn’t,
and I had an amazing run. The next day I couldn’t walk. The leg was gone –
every cell seemed to hurt. That put an end to my all my resolve. The week
passed in a haze of tears, I just wanted to be back home in my own bed, hug my
family and hang out at the coffee shop with my friends.
Everything is a struggle when you leave
home, and you have to be in the correct state of mind to deal with it. I was
staying with a perfectly nice couple, but I felt uncomfortable there. I tried
to put my energy into cooking, but even that was painful on that leg. House –
hunting was a daunting task, and I dealt with it by checking scores of places
online, rejecting most over the phone, and visiting hardly any at all. I counted
down from 10 to the days left for when I got to go home, and finally that day
Meanwhile back in Pune wedding preparations
had hit a giant hurdle. The builder had finally admitted that he wouldn’t be
able to deliver the new house in time for the wedding. So that meant that we
had to unpack everything we had packed, make all the stuff we had purchased for
the new house vanish, and clean out every bit of junk we had ignored for the
past 1 year, confident of leaving it behind when we shifted. Boy, did that come
back to bite us in the bum.