Our Mata Ki Chowki

*Long Post Alert*


The evening of the Chowki: As dusk fell, the family buzzed. Everyone had been making trips back and forth between home and the venue. Flower garlands had been forgotten, and someone was rushing to get those, the Chowki singers had shown up at the wrong address- Dad was yelling at them on the phone, Mom was convinced that we were all going to be ridiculously late and was on the verge of yelling at the next person who spoke to her.

Meanwhile, I had just come back from yet another day in the “wild” aka the Delhi markets, and Mom was frantic. I was to wear an anarkali suit that day – she had it ironed, and all laid out for me.  I remember those moments very clearly, because I was in a weird zone at the time. I am not sure why, but it had not hit me that this was the first wedding event – instead, it felt like any other family function. I strolled into my room after a day of shopping, and I just wanted to lay down for a bit. Instead, I had Mom after me hurrying me up to get dressed.

My anarkali was yellow – the colour of auspicious beginnings. In the previous weeks, Mom and I had visited Ambala with family.  We had shopped a bit there, with the main purchase being my chooda and khaleerein (Side note: Ambala’s choodas are famous for their quality. I can attest to that – I have been wearing my chooda every single day since the wedding with no wear and tear to it at all – touchwood!).  I had stopped to buy this particular yellow anarkali from the market there. I am not quite sure how I spotted it in the middle of all the fabric – but I remember this happy yellow shade catching my eye, and that’s all it took.

It was actually yellow with some green in it – green churidar as well (though that was hardly visible!). Once we were back in Delhi, I had bought green sandals to match, and green jewellery as well.

I remember getting up to wash my face (because there really was no time for a shower), and getting dressed. As soon as I put it on, there was a problem (I had made the cardinal mistake of not trying on my clothes!). The fitting was perfect, but due to the light colour, it was kind of see through. I was just starting to get worried, but Mom came to the rescue, and handed me a spaghetti that I usually wear inside transparent tops.  Issue solved! (Lesson learnt – keep calm and listen to Mom!)

I had an appointment at the local Lakme salon for my hair, and was dropped off there by my Uncle (who was all dressed in his kurta pyjama, might I add). It was dark by now, and I was glad Mom pushed me and didn’t let me sit around.

The salon was great! I had been there a couple of times in the previous week because I was attending another wedding and I had gotten my hair flat ironed there. This time, I was adamant on a blow dry. The flat iron had REALLY flattened my hair, and when I saw pictures from that wedding, I was glad I got a chance to try out that particular style from that particular salon.

My hair were washed and blow dried perfectly. The maang tikka was placed flawlessly, but when it came time to put on the earrings, there was a ‘surprise’ in store – one of the earring holders was missing! I remembered showing the earrings to an aunt, and perhaps it fell out then. By now, it was almost 8 PM, and there would be no jewelry stores open nearby. The house was now locked up with the whole family at the venue. I told the Lakme staff that they were about to have a full blown tantrum on their hands in just a minute. However, they kept off the tantrum – one of the girls had a spare earring holder! I am not sure about the spare – I swear I saw her with earrings before, and without earrings after, but they were very very kind, and I can’t forget how they solved this issue.

Hair done, I headed over to a more private section of the salon to do my own makeup. I had my giant kit with me, and I was adamant at not getting too “done up” on the first event itself. I used this amazing Maybelline aerosol foundation that made me glow (or maybe it was just happiness?).  Then followed the eyeliner, shadow, lipstick…. And the kajal was missing from the kit! The Lakme makeup artist meanwhile was sitting behind me the whole time – she really liked the aerosol foundation, and we were chatting  – she whipped out  her kajal pencil, and helped me with that right away – including the kala tikka behind my ear – kindness, I tell you.

And that was it – I was finally dressed, the family had reached the venue, the initial pooja had started, my Mom must have been a calm lady at that time. I called, and my Uncle came back to get me. I walked down the salon steps a bride-to-be. (But it still had not hit yet).

The Pooja was amazing – slow at first (as the lost singers found their way, and guests filtered in) and then much more lively. The smile didn’t leave my face for a minute, as I accepted congratulations and blessings the whole time.

About halfway in, Abhi and his parents made an entrance. As he walked towards me, I remember blushing deep deep red! He sat next to me, and that was it. That was the moment it really hit. He was the groom, and I was the bride. We were to be married in the next 10 days.

He wiped the tears that dropped from my eyes.

The evening reached a crescendo with performances by artistes depicting Shiv-Gauri and Radha-Krishna, followed by the entry of more family, coming in directly from the airport.

After the Chowki was over, we headed down for dinner. It was so amazing meeting cousins after such a long time, and meeting second cousins that had practically gone missing. I remember having the gol-gappas and the chaat – do not remember dinner. I think I was just talking the whole time, and there was no time for it.

Finally people began leaving until it was just the family. We were way past midnight by now, and we finally made a move too. Abhi left, after scheduling our next forage into the wild (read Karol Bagh) with me, and then my big family headed home. The Chowki ‘jyot’ was taken home as well. How they transported a huge, lit jyot home in a car is a feat I still wonder about.

But when everyone was home, broken into groups of chattering people, I remember taking a quiet moment in the kitchen where that jyot was still alight, and thanking God for the happiness around me, and for the miracle that had come my way.

With the blessings I had received that day, I finally transformed into a bride – and I felt like one too.










No excuse for Tardiness

There really isn’t, is there?

All I can say in my defense is that I am running. Happily running, but running indeed. 

Running a career, running a home. I really am loving each day of my newly wedded bliss but my poor blog bears the brunt!

I’m putting an end to this now. I know that time is made, not found. And so – I commit myself to a new blog update every 2 days.

(Vowed by thevowsand beyond)


Question for all brides out there:

I really want to take a moment and get on stage on my Mehendi function to address my family and friends that will be there. Toasting is an integral part of weddings here, and I find it really touching. I would looooove to toast my family and to acknowledge all that they have done for me over the years. It truly does take a village to raise a child.

2 questions:

1) How appropriate will this be for a Delhi wedding (read noisy and drunk – will people even stop to listen?)

2) How do you do this without crying?

Showers of Happiness

This last weekend was a super busy one!! I was busy all day Saturday with a work event and party, and so when Sunday dawned, I was content to just lie in bed. Not to be – my brother dragged me out of the house on the dumbest of excuses, and I was out all morning. We finally came home at about 1 30 PM.

I opened the door, and everything was decorated in pink – pink balloons, streamers. And a room full of women wearing all shades of pink yelling “Surprise”!

I was standing in the middle of my surprise bridal shower.

I remember the silly grin on my face never left me, and I was just so bewildered by it all! It was a super duper party arranged by my Mom and a couple of friends. The theme was pink butterfly, and so once I got over the shock, I was sent to my room to change into something pink.

All my clothes were packed, so I dragged out the first pink thing I saw – a brand new fuchsia long top. Perfect. I teamed that with tights and headed back down. Showers are silly affairs, but a lot of fun. I was made to wear a tiara and sit in the center of the room. I was blushing so much that I must have matched the colour of my shirt.

As is the custom at showers, there were a lot of games, and they were sooooo much fun!! We had the “dress made of toilet paper” one. I chose the winner for that, and it was the team that gave their bride model a pretty dress AND a pretty toilet paper hairband. Then there was the “advice”. All the women had written down their advice on little slips of paper and I had to read them aloud. I was so embarrassed – there was stuff like “buy a blanket one size bigger than your bed”.

The girls had emailed ‘A’ a bunch of questions about his likes, dislikes etc, and I was asked those same questions. The guests bet on how many I would get right. I actually got 7 right, and 3 women won the prize. The ones I got wrong? “What would A want you to wear on the 1st night?” Now – even if I knew, I wouldn’t answer because I was sooooo embarassed!! Another wrong answer question was what he is scared of…. I wasn’t sure. The answer was “losing you”. That really was special!

There was this one game where a ball is placed in a pair of pantyhose, and tied it to the waist of the ‘player’, who is blindfolded. They then, have to knock over a bottle kept on a table using only the contraption around their waist. Needless to say, it brought up a whole lot of inappropriate comments, and if a lady knocked the bottle down on the first try, everyone else would giggle and say that she had a lot of “experience”. It’s a marvel how dignified Aunties can turn into giggling schoolgirls, while the real schoolgirls stare at them open mouthed!


I chose the best dressed girl and there was a present for her, and then I opened up all my presents –  got a bunch of useful things and some cash. 🙂

There was also the most delicious and pretty cake ever – I did not want to cut it!! And then I did not want to stop eating it!!


Lunch was followed by sangeet and a night of dancing. Liquor flowed in the evening, and by dinner time, the party was rocking.

This was my first wedding event, and what an event. A beautiful surprise, tons of blessings coming my way, and crazy dancing. What more can a girl ask for – my Mom is the best for arranging this ❤ ❤

And so it begins…. 😀

Wedding Videos I LOVE <3

I wanted to share the videos that I really really love, so here goes:

First up is this one: It’s a Sikh wedding in Toronto. What I love about this one is the back and forth between all the different wedding events, and the fact that it is all centered by this funny story about the guy’s side coming to the girl’s house after the wedding for the official vidaai. The sisters block his path and demand a ransom to release his new wife to him. I must have watched this like a hundred times, and have even hammered it into my videographer’s head that this is what I want! Hopefully, he’ll deliver. Watch and smile:

This is another one that I really liked:

If you haven’t already guessed, I am a big fan of Film-Style Weddings, and they would have been my videographer of choice had the wedding been here in Toronto.

And here is an awesome proposal! This one went viral last November and I’m sure everyone has seen it but nonetheless: Prem proposes to Manisha in Vegas. Love it!

Here’s hoping that our pictures and video are as good as these! … Fingers and toes tightly crossed!

Emptying out my Closet


I have been putting off packing for the longest time. However, Sunday dawned bright and shiny, and there was no reason to NOT give into my conscience, and finally dig into the task, and so that’s exactly what I did. 

One of the rooms in our house has been completely overtaken by suitcases of every size and colour. And they are ALL half-full. Looks like a complete mess, but there really is nothing to be done about it. It’ll only be wrapped up 3 hours before the flight – I know from experience. A couple of the suitcases are for me to take to the new house (immediate winter wardrobe for when we’re back), and the rest is stuff to take to Delhi. 


So I finally opened up my overflowing closet to pack and purge. Thankfully I did a LOT of both, and I feel so good!! I fired up my Mac and watched back to back TV shows as I worked – really helped me with my pace. (Though I suspect my Mom’s yelling only helped with the speed!).

By evening I was standing in front of an empty closet.

And the tears just came.

The sudden realization that I am PACKING – not to leave on a holiday, but to LEAVE my home came like a huge thump in my chest. Standing in the middle of my room with my stuff all around me suddenly felt like standing in a cocoon with my parents’ love wrapped all around me. To be leaving all this… it can be so hard.

I found a huge stash of greeting cards in that closet, and I couldn’t resist a peek. There were my birthday cards from my family since forever, stubs from a movie we had gone to see , receipts for the earrings I got on my 16th birthday from Mom Dad. The first iPhone that Mom Dad got after I complained that I really really really need one, a note by my baby brother in his childish scrawl, pictures of a family holiday… A lifetime of memories – and I just really want to hang on at this point. Just want to pause these moments … want to be a just a daughter for some more time.

 Realizing that I will no longer be at the dinner table every night, nor will I be hanging around Mom in the kitchen, or lounging with Dad on the terrace or yakking with my brother in his room is a sobering one.

It is a testament to how much I love A that I am willing to leave this – couldn’t have done it for another guy. 

We went shopping this weekend and I came home with a ton of bedding. On the way out, my Mom stopped to look at a dress – it must have been for a 12 year old girl. She turned to me and said my little girl was in these dresses just yesterday – you’ve grown up too fast. It took all my self control to walk out of that mall dry eyed. 

Weddings are emotional, and doubly so for the bride and her family. It is exciting to look forward to the life ahead, but equally hard to leave behind everything else. Such is life. 

However, on a brighter note – we got the condo we wanted 😀

The real estate agent called in the evening to give me the news and it was very happily received. After the sad day I’d had, here was something really awesome! So the condo is on the 23rd floor with a gorgeous view. It was the master bedroom that sold me on it. It has an entire wall of floor to ceiling glass, and the view is amazing. There is a stream and trees right under your feet – and twinkling city lights all the way to the horizon.  That REALLY perked me up and I surveyed my packing again to check what will be sent to the new house. 

Picked up the box of cards again and this time I saw others – A’s first ever card to me – a “Sorry” one (yes we had gotten off on the wrong foot back then!), anniversary cards, movie tickets, framed pictures, folded up Toblerone chocolate boxes he’d gotten for me from Singapore….. just a whole bunch of stuff. It made me smile and I was thankful at that moment that I am only moving from one loving home to another. My family will forever be a part of me and no one can change that. But this is also the time to give A and I our space, to give us our wings. 

This is a bittersweet ride for sure. If there is one thing I learnt today it is that I will need waterproof mascara for the wedding. It’s going to be a weepy vidaai!