Monday, July 11, 2005

City of Joy

The view from the top is breathtaking. There are trees everywhere. It was to be my first visit to this city, the 'City of Joy'. My sister Sonali was getting engaged to Nikhil. I was to be picked up by Nikhil's friend Teddy.... err Teddy Bear???? Images of him started running through my head just when the airhostess thought I was smiling at her. Incase somehow I did not find Teddy Bear, I was given instructions to tell the taxi guy to take me to Biman Bose's house. The chairman of the Left Front, the ruling party in the state. He lives above Nikhil's parents place. However I met Teddy and we were off. As we moved into the city that has been a nerve centre of intellect, a home to four Nobel laureates, you realise that a lot needs to be done.

At Nikhil's place, his mom took out his sisters wedding album and then all of us became the wedding planners. From the church timings to the reception timings. From the seating arrangements to the dancing arrangements. Err.. sorry... make that from the dancing arrangements to the seating arrangements. Then the guest list. My mom already had her list. Nikhil's mom, aka Aunty Jean, is from our home town. So both the moms began exchanging notes on the guest list... friends, inlaws, outlaws et al. "What about the theme?". Nope... you can't forget the theme. "Whats the theme?". You know, like the colour of the decorations, the bridesmaids dresses, the writings on the walls. Basically a theme idea that can be adapted to your personality, style and most importantly.... budget :-) "Annette, I remember for your wedding there was some nice writings on the wall", says Aunty Jean. My dad had moved into the house just opposite my mom's when he had shifted to Nagpur. After some time they found themselves in a wedding hall with the following writing on the wall. "Ma. He's making eyes at me". My Dad retorts, "Thats why I'm wearing specs now".

We then moved to Aunty Jean's sister, Jackie's place, where we were staying. The balcony overlooked Theatre road. It was next to Park Street where the movie "Parineeta" was filmed. Then I started making plans for painting the town red. My dad was everready. My mom and sister Natasha also signed up, along with Uncle Jeff. The next day the mood was infectitious and the spirit sweeping. We went to Victoria Memorial and the museum. Then an old church nearby. Next to the church was Birla planetarium so we jumped in. There were so many stars in the sky, accompanied by a strong north wind (the fan). The ambience was.... err it was... well what can I say... the mood was infectitious and the spirit sleeping. We then headed home.

In the evening we had a short prayer service followed by a get together at Aunty Jean's place. Later in the night Nikhil narrated the story of the proposal. Phone calls for advice, practise, tension and timing. Airtel must have made some good money that day. Then Aunty Jean narrated some sweet childhood stories of Nikhil. "Sonali also must be having some sweet childhood stories." Then I start. "Yeah like the time she stabbed me with a pencil between my eyes, near the area just above the nose." A piece of lead could be seen behind the skin for nearly 9-10 years before it got assimilated into my body. I used to proudly show it off to people, like a brave soldier wounded in battle. "Thats because you bit me!". She then showed everyone the teeth marks near her thumb. Hmmm.. hu hmmmm. hu hmmm... Dinner.

There was also this time when my eldest sister Natasha hit my hand with a hammer. I was like two years old. Well she says that she doesn't remember anything so here is my version of the story. "Natasha is at an age when children are inquisitive. So she wants to know what happens when you hit your hand with a hammer. I realise what she is upto and start crying, cause I know she will hurt herself. Trust me, I know. I then bravely offer to be the guinea pig and thats that." Mother however claims that I was the one who hit Natasha's hand with a hammer. Now now... who are you gonna believe. My mother or a tiny innocent pure two year old child. Did I say innocent....

The next day the mood was still infectitious, however some spirits were still sleeping. My Dad and I made the plans. My mom decided to join in, just to make sure we don't get lost. First it will be like, "Where do you want to go now. Let it be. Don't go." After the plans are finalised it will be like, "I also want to come". I decided to let her join us cause of her umbrella, which had provided me much refuge from the sun the previous day. I mean I could have borrowed the umbrella but then again its nice if there is a woman along with you, under a flowery umbrella. After some site seeing we went to Mother's home, the house of 'The Missionaries of Charity'. Although the visiting hours had passed they allowed us to enter as we told them that we were from out of town. There is a 'Missionaries of Charity' in Nagpur, close to our place. My dad recently performed one of his magic shows out there. We visited Mother Teresa's grave, one amongst millions who discovered the human potential to make any city, the 'City of Joy'.

In the evening was the engagement. After a short prayer service which was again captured in 8mm by my dad, they were officially engaged. The cake was in the shape of a calendar showing the wedding date. Everyone got a smaller version of the cake, complete with the calendar. Neat. We then played a game where we were to guess the words of a sentence where only the first alphabet was given. Something like "7 D of the W" would be "7 Days of the Week". Uncle Jeff and I were the first to give in our papers. We would have won if not for just one which went "1000 Y in a M". Thats easy "1000 yards in a mile". Ok stop laughing... we were technically correct. 1000 yards may not be equal to a mile but there are "1000 (plus a few more) yards 'in' a mile". At the end everyone was declared a winner. However I have a theory. Nikhil's Dad, Uncle Danny, had come up with the game. It had some clues like, "39 B of the O T", "27 B of the N T", "66 B of the B", which stand for "39 Books of the Old Testament", "27 Books of the New Testament", "66 Books of the Bible". They were nicely spaced out. Maybe the intention was to check out our Bible knowledge. Especially after the violent childhood stories I thought were sweet :-) BTW Uncle Jeff got the ones about the 39 and 27 books. I'm good at Maths so I got the 66 one.

About our sibling wars, well we were just being ourselves. When you are small you forget about it the next day. Unless there are physical scars that remind you about it. As you get bigger sometimes it takes just a little bit longer. This time around the scars need not be physical. I'm sure there must have been many sibling fights that very same day in some corner of the world. But come to think of it, "A brotherly fight, a sisterly scream. For some these treasures of life are just a far-fetched dream." These are one of the few things that make any city the 'City of Joy'.

1 comment:

Mayank said...

You would like us to believe that a 2 year old remembers the incident ?