Once in a while a wedding comes along to remind you of why you got married in the first place. It’s particularly useful if it happens to be the 7th year of your own marriage! When waistlines are thickening and attention is thinning. When you’re squabbling over who should come home early to help your son learn his lines for a play. When you’re annoyed at the other for forgetting an appointment. When you’re getting irritated with his habit of dismissing everything you say. When you’re pissed at her for wasting money you could do with, on bedsheets you could do without. I could go on, but you know what I mean.
It’s a beautiful reminder to hear the priest say the familiar lines and say Yes, I do. I do take this man with his pockmarks, his premature greying and his ugly fingers and toes. Because when I met him I only took in the sharp, perfect features, the warm brown eyes and the energy surrounding him. And the years do tend to dull things, making you notice only the worst. But then like silver polish, attending a wedding polishes up the familiar that has dulled with contempt and gives it back its original sheen.
It’s only at a wedding, that you realise there is no perfect love, but you can aspire to it. And as you look around, at the congregation. A sea of expectant, smiling faces, you know that they’re there for a reason – to watch you make the biggest commitment of your life. That if you walk away from it today, you take away that little bit of hope that each one of them invested in you when they came there to be witness to your union. That each one of them believed in you and in that vow you were taking. That on your wedding day you sent back each one of them with a little strand of hope as you walked down the aisle glowing and radiant with happiness. That if for no other reason but this, you have to put aside annoyances and irritants like ‘he argues with visitors’, ‘he doesn’t bring me flowers anymore’ and ‘he wakes up with a finger on the remote control instead of on me’!
I agree with what someone said, that at weddings I don’t really look at the bride walking in, surrounded by family, flowers and framed in the very flattering light of the church door. But at the groom as he watches her walk down the aisle, knowing that this gorgeous woman is his for life. There’s something about being witness to that realisation.
Yes, the wedding I was to attend has been attended. And after all that excitement of asking you to vote, I didn’t wear the dress. Just about everyone I know in Delhi laughed in my face and asked me if I was nuts for wearing a dress to a wedding in a more conservative Madras. Did I imagine it was Delhi? I lost all confidence and ended up in a pretty sea green and silver and pink saree. And when I reached the venue and saw the number of girls in dresses, I kicked myself. On the other hand, none of them were from Madras so I could see why they wore those dresses. All the local guests were in sarees. Oh well, time enough to wear that dress in Delhi.
The Brat fell asleep on the way to Church, woke up disgruntled and refused to either walk with the Bride or even enter, embarrassing me beyond words. I quote, ‘How can I walk around with them? I don’t know them’ – all in an embarassingly American drawl. It is just like my son to let me down at the best possible time. The Bean on the other hand, made up for it by walking both ways, just insisting on holding hands with me on one side and the most gorgeous little blonde blue eyed page boy on the other. He had a ratty filthy teddy bear dangling from his arm (see right hand corner of pic), and walked barefoot, because well, he felt like it! Another little flower girl toddled down the aisle holding her mama’s hand and a pacifier stuck firmly to her mouth. The bride… was a vision… and perhaps just that little bit more beautiful because she let everyone do as they pleased without for a moment worrying about it spoiling the way her wedding looked.
Punjabis get a lot of bad press for being loud, noisy and uncultured, yet, it’s their music that got the Indians and Westerners alike on the dance floor. The beauty of it? NONE of them understood the words. Singh bloody well is King! Go bhangra!
A union of two cultures is actually pretty easy. All you need is R-E-S-P-E-C-T (hey, so I turn to Aretha for inspiration once in a while!) for the other. And a little bit of compassion. None of that “we’re the boy’s people” attitude that the groom’s family in our country specialise in. And none of that obsequious bowing and scraping that the bride’s family do as they gratefully hand their daughter off to any man who is generous enough to take their burden away. It’s like a dance. You give a little, I give a little. You step back, I step forward to meet you. I dip, you bend. I twirl, you stand back to catch me. All the while knowing that we’re evenly matched and need each other. Most couples these days are aware of that. If only all families knew it as well as the ones I watched that day.
The Brat and the Bean are easy enough kids to travel with now. It takes a lot of energy, but hey, that’s why they’re kids! As we leave them with my folks and head out on our holiday I realise how much it hurts me each time. To the point where I can no longer look forward to that little break. The OA tries to be patient with me but eventually ends up just being firm. He can do nothing about me working flexitime so that I am home with them soon after they get back from school. But he can insist that I get away from them once every six months for a week. And thats the thing with being two parents and not a single parent. Decisions must be fair to both and I know he likes his time off and even if I don’t like it, I know it does me good. But even he knows, that he can drag me away from them, but he can’t make me feel very happy about it. I know I should lighten up and let it go. At least each time I leave them, I know they have each other as constants.
The only problem is that each time I go away, I end up coming back even clingier and more obsessive. I know nothing should be taken too seriously. But I have just one chance at this parenting gig. I don’t want to screw it up.