The Big, Fat Indian Wedding

tablaRead the phrase “wedding bells” somewhere

And all of a sudden, out of nowhere

An extraordinary urge gripped me

To attend an Indian wedding, and see

Fine silks and jewelry opulently displayed

A profusion of colors, in every hue and shade

Food and drink flowing in quantities that appear

Limitless, for guests to gorge on without fear

Of being judged, because the wedding big and fat

Is an occasion meant to do exactly that

Music blaring in the background, decibels high

Guests dancing with abandon under the night sky

Where time is a concept subject to individual

Interpretation, arriving late is nothing unusual

Where an atmosphere of gaiety pervades the air

But undercurrents of drama are standard fare

 

 

I could go on and on, without a mention

Of the bride and the groom, that is a separate section

But when I crave the excitement of an event social

Nothing beats the Indian wedding in this world!

 

 

Walking down the memory lane on a snowy day

11111111snow-dayOn a cold snowy day I sat inside

Watching the world being painted white

With time on my hands and nothing else to do

I decided to take a trip down a memory lane or two

So out came the albums, the collections of memories

Made over the years, I arranged them in series

I watched my old images with a new eye

Starting with pictures of an adolescent, awkward and shy

To a newly wed with a twinkle and a dazzling smile

Brimming with hope, starting the journey of a thousand miles

To a new mother transformed by love profound-

As I looked at them all, something within me unwound

And a silent tear escaped the corner of my eye

As I reminisced over the time that had passed me by

Moments of joy captured perfectly in still frames

Reminding me of things that had changed, those that were the same..

In taking a walk down the proverbial memory lane

I relived the good, the bad and the ugly once again

 

I was broken out of my deep reverie

By my child who came and sat next to me

We went through the albums again, together

As my husband snapped our pictures to capture forever

These precious moments of sharing old stories

Of our past, while creating new memories..

 

Since then we have made it a sort of family tradition

To celebrate indoors the first snow of the season

By sorting through old photographs and retelling

Our notable stories from the past, always marveling

At how far we’ve come, how many more blessings we’ve acquired

To accomplish more as a family, we feel newly inspired. 

 

 

The Magic of the Holidays

Holiday lights twinkled all around
Powdery snow was sprinkled all over the ground
The stores were lit brightly, music wafted through the doors
She waited for the holidays to take their course
Knowing that the gaiety pervading the air
Was not something that she could share
Somehow life had taken a turn so destructive
Leaving her homeless, unemployed, unproductive
And all alone, within a span of few days
For the broke and the lonely, difficult were holidays..

She stood in queue at the shelter awaiting her turn
For some food provided by a good samaritan
Before her was a woman who seemed paralyzed
Unable to put food on her plate, she stood, as if mesmerized
She nudged her and broke her out of her reverie
Then they sat at the table together silently
She stole glances at the other woman , who appeared
Roughly her age, but her face seemed aged by tears
Her eyes were indescribably sad, she thought
She debated whether to talk to her or not
Eventually, propelled by the holiday spirit probably
She said hello, introducing herself politely
After an initial flicker of hesitation the other woman
Replied in a timid voice, that of a woman
Who had, by life’s vagaries, been badly shaken
Soon they were talking long after dinner was done
Her horrific story she recounted without emotion
Maybe the holidays worked their charm somehow
They felt better than their circumstances would allow
And slept in the shelter soundly that night
The demons of their pasts did not give them fright

Over the next month both of them were there
For each other as they navigated their way everywhere
Looking for food, lodging and employment
They helped each other deal with the resentment
That they had towards life, healing they found
In their friendship they found comfort profound
They struggled some more, but in the end
Broken pieces of life were on the mend
Work they found, basic needs were met
To lead normal lives, both had to sweat

Twenty years later with families of their own
They still think about that night each felt alone
What happened thereafter they gladly give credit
To the magic of the holidays, that had made them sit
Next to each other for dinner that fateful night
That led to everything turning out right
And over the holidays you would hear them say
“We promise you good things are coming your way!”

The bride and her henna

(The Mehndi event is a fun celebration held the night before an Indian wedding,  traditionally celebrated by the women on the bride’s side of the family. Generally, a professional mehndi artist applies henna in intricate designs to the hands and feet of the bride and other women in the family. These intricate designs symbolize joy, beauty and offering.  There is music and dance as well.)

15289056_10154751992221241_8524872878809034085_o.jpg

She sat with arms stretched out before her

Helpless in the moment, expected to savor

The festivities, music and dance around

The carefree laughter drifting in the background

Surrounded by family she was, ostensibly

She felt all alone, staring  insensibly

At her hennaed hands, her feet still being treated

Like a canvas by her mehndi artists, art being created

On her limbs by the very best in town, because

The most spectacular wedding in town this was

Expected to be, no expense had been spared-

Despite all this, at her hands she stared

Her movement restricted by the henna that needed

Drying, therefore with outstretched arms she was seated

She smiled, realizing all of a sudden

Her physical helplessness was a reflection 

Of her mental state- caught in the rigmarole

Of an elaborate wedding, with hardly a soul 

Realizing how unhappy she was, how she

Wanted to run away, to scream hysterically

“This is my life, this is not what I wish”

She wanted to say, but her desires she had squished

The day she had agreed to the marriage arranged

Like a business partnership, things could not be changed

Now, her assent inexorably bound her to comply-

As she contemplated, a tear dropped from her eye

She could not wipe it, but no one asked why

She was crying, her tears were also misunderstood

To be tears of joy, no one around her could

Guess how miserable she felt, she was afraid to voice

Her concerns, her fear had led her to make this choice

She looked down, inspecting her hands with a sigh

Waiting for her unshed tears and henna to dry..

(Image: This is not henna, but a henna design doodled on paper by yours truly)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linguistic laments

dsc_0264I am writing furiously, yet words fail me

From time to time, thoughts tend to derail me

As I search in vain for the right English expression

And my mind in a spirit of transgression

Jumps from my adopted language to the one

That pervades my soul in subliminal recognition…

 

It is true that proficiency I have acquired

In a language not my own to quench the desire

To be active on a wider platform, expand my horizons

Yet, when faced with the need to express emotions

Rich idioms and proverbs from my brain’s recesses appear

In Hindi, my mother-tongue, loud and clear..

 

I am faced with a dilemma, a strange predicament

Where I know how to express perfectly my sentiment

Except it happens to be in the wrong language

Literal translation does not provide the same leverage

To what I wish to say, it gets frustrating

As I navigate between the two languages, waiting

For the writer’s block to disappear somehow

To get my chain of thoughts back, to allow

Me to go back to thinking in the language that’s now mine

English is a sensational cocktail, Hindi is old wine

To be enjoyed at leisure, occasionally

While it rests in the closet of my heart subconsciously

**

English forms my metaphorical wings to help me fly

Hindi represents my roots, deeply grounded under the sky

My wings have taken flight in realms scientific and literary

My roots have soothed my soul troubled and weary

To describe my life completely I would need

To express myself in both languages indeed!

 

 

 

The Writer

dsc07049In a world that often did not make sense

In a society plagued by pomp and pretense

She felt like an outsider, never could blend in

Always blurting the blunt truth, she could not win

Friends around her, so she became a recluse

The more she withdrew, the stronger was her excuse

To keep away from  company unless required

A distant, cold aura she gradually acquired

**

Away from the chatter of human interaction

Thoughts in her mind began to take action

Shaping themselves into words she penned down

Furiously, her forehead wrinkled in a frown

She created a protagonist no different from her

In being direct and truthful, they were similar

Her character walked through her life unconcerned

About others’ opinions, living life on her terms

She made the phrase “calling a spade a spade”

Seem almost glamorous, as her escapades made

For a very interesting reading, I would say

This lead character was quirky in an endearing way.

**

I’m not alone in my opinion, let me make that clear

When her book was published, it became that year

The book to lead all major lists- critics raved

About the quirky way in which the heroine behaved

The author became a celebrity overnight

This time she was able to say what she thought right

And no one objected, dazzled as they were

By her brilliant book and her character singular

People jostled for her attention, tried to befriend

Her now that she was famous, tried to extend

Their hospitality, which she graciously accepted

Marveling at the irony- she had not suspected

The quality that had alienated her from others 

Would be desirable in her fictitious character!

Publishers and readers were clamoring for more

Stories featuring the protagonist they now adored..

**

She continued to write, but would say this often

She still did not understand most women and men

Who, in their preferences, appeared quite capricious

Inexplicable to her, they liked a character fictitious

So she made her character the instrument 

To voice her thoughts and her sentiments

Her heroine her alter-ego became

She lived life vicariously under her character’s name!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

black-friday-shopper

This is the time of the year when

Temptations abound for men and women

To loosen the purse strings that have been tight

And dish out moolah for everything in sight

With a sense of urgency that might appear

As if apocalypse was drawing near

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Each one has become an awaited day

When people flock in droves to buy

Everything they can think of under the sky

Things that are needed, stuff they fancy,

Holiday gifts- are all included in the shopping spree

Prices that low are seen once a year

If you are not quick, deals disappear

Like a flash of lightning, this you know

But while sales are running, you make an excuse

To buy that item of  little practical use

At 75 percent off, it is a great steal

As a savvy shopper, you shop with great zeal..

**

With those days over, the damage you survey

Your coffers are dried out, you realize with dismay

But the holiday season is around the corner

And your shopping did not completely cover

Gifts for everyone on your list, unfortunately

You are forced to part with more money ultimately

Next year, you resolve, holiday shopping would be

Confined to the two major sale days exclusively

**

 

Every year you hear estimates of money spent

By the US population, reflecting the extent

Of recovery of the economy, but for you

This statistic adds nothing new

As the same cycle repeats year after year

The sales lure you to part with your money dear.

(Image source: webclipart.about.com)