I had a hard time determining the sequences of the blogs. Should I write about all the events and then go back, to blog about the wedding prep, or should I I go in order? I finally decided to write everything in sequence, simply because that will trigger my memory more, and will provide a better flow. So bear with me as we make our way through those pre-wedding weeks 😀
The journey to Delhi was super smooth – no hiccups. Mom and I were the first ones travelling, followed by my brother and Dad, further followed by the rest of the extended family from all parts of the globe. We got the seats we wanted in the plane, the food was great, the transit stop was bearable. Final approach to Delhi and I had a giant grin on my face. I was returning after 4 whole years and was itching to set my feet down… to run home.
4 years away, and the Delhi Airport looked mighty fine to me. It made me very proud to see the prettiness of it, the efficiency of it. The people were super friendly for a change. I will never forget the immigration officer who stamped our passports. Not only did he say the standard “welcome to India”, but he also said “shaadi mubarak beti”. Outside the airport doors, my Chachi-Chachi Bua etc waited. We had the usual extremely loud meeting – we are kind of famous for the melodrama we bring into airports. It’s extremely high laughter at the arrivals, and practical sobbing sessions at the departure gates.
A and his mom were also here to welcome me (he had flown to Delhi a week before me) . I actually physically met her for the first time here – there had been months and months of phone calls but this was our first face-to-face. It didn’t feel like that at all though. I was immediately at my ease and she had brought along a silver Lakshmi Ganesha for me. I remember A and I sneaking off away from the family on some pretext so that we could just hold one another. I remember him pushing the trolley away and hugging me super tight. We must have stayed like that for minutes because suddenly we heard our families’ voices teasing us about it being a public place. That night, I went with A and his Mom in their car, followed by the rest of the family.
Approach to Delhi – I had the wing seat so the view got cut off
This picture is blurry – I was trying to capture the Welcome to India sign, while walking very fast to get to the immigration counter before a long line build up – thankfully, there was none – should have stopped and clicked this :S
Aaaah the Delhi roads!
Home was how it always was – just home. I had been adamantly saying no to destination weddings that my Dad kept pitching – Rajasthan, Goa, Neemrana – he put a platter of options in front of me. However, I stood my ground. My parents thought I had my heart set on an OTT Delhi wedding and left it at that. But that was not the case.
I insisted on Delhi because that is where the home I was born in is. It is the first surroundings I knew. We were in an extended family setup, where I was the only baby surrounded by doting grandparents, parents, two unmarried uncles – I truly was a spoilt brat as a result. That home has seen all the changes in our family. It is where my uncles got married, where my Chachis came as brides, where my brother and cousins were born. It is where I took my first steps, where I said my first word. Each corner overflows with memories.
Just yesterday, baby walkers were zooming through the house and nappies drying on the terrace. Just yesterday school homework was done on the dining table. Just yesterday, birthday parties were thrown here, poojas held. It has witnessed me growing up in the true sense of the word because it has witnessed me falling in love with A. I spent many, many nights in my room dreaming about him, and then many, many nights on the phone with him. In short, this house is where I became me.
Now, the house is not as it was then. Everyone grew up and moved away, including us. My extended family visited every now and then, but it had been a long time since everyone had been in that house together. We would more often meet up to go on holidays rather then to go to Delhi, and so the house fell silent, where there had always been whoops of laughter.
I wanted to bring back life into that house, give it back it’s due because we all learnt to fly from that nest. It may not be as fancy as the homes my immediate and extended family now live in, or as big. But that is our first home, and for the first wedding of this generation, I truly wanted to go back to where it all started – where not only me, but the whole family has lasting bonds. I wanted to blow life into that home again – I felt I owed it that much.
So returning was precious.
I had a very clear notion that I will leave from where I came. Not every girl has the opportunity to be married from the house she was born in, and I was not letting this go. My house will be as dolled up as me on my wedding, is what I told my Dad.
After that, everyone was on board, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins. There was a very real problem of the fact that there would not be enough space to hold everyone now as our family has practically quadrupled in size since those early years (no pun intended), but we were happy to adjust. It was clear though, that with the influx of the guests, we would have to get a bigger place. I gave in to that and the deal was done. It was announced that we are indeed having a Delhi wedding.
My first night there, I slept like a baby. I was woken up the next morning by temple bells, and it felt glorious! A most different experience from waking up to the alarm, I had forgotten the morning sounds of Delhi! Everything was so relaxed, the October morning sunshine was so warm. The familiarity of everything was overwhelming. I had always heard from people that Delhi assaults your senses, but I always thought of it as walking into a giant cloud that completely envelops you. You can either fight it and hate it, or accept it and flow with it.
I can just see myself now as I was that morning. A would-be bride at her home, about to start on her first day of shopping. A month stretched ahead of me. I was excited for the wedding, but also happy for that month granted to me – living at home again, waiting for the entire clan to get together. It was as if the very walls of the house were smiling with me.
My room was like a time capsule. My barbie dolls were all wrapped up, but still there, the scribbled up shirt of my school uniform was there (it made me smile to see A’s scribbles all over it!), books were neatly stacked, college bag still hung inside the closet, I even saw my Grade 12 timetable stuck on the closet door.
Though I had taken all of A’s cards and gifts with me when I left, there were some that stayed behind – I dug out a giant card he made for me – all handmade, I found a deodorant he had gifted me – all spent now, but I had saved the container, a hair product he had bought me. I remember opening these things up and sitting on the bed. When Mom came in, I didn’t scramble to hide them as I would have done then, but I showed it to her. She was truly amazed – the card had taken a lot of work and she could see that. I remember her saying “this is all you two did in college”, but there was a warmth in her voice.
We went out shopping that first day – straight to the ‘cardwalla’. Post coming on that very soon.