9th May 2014
My dear friends,
I said I’d write, so here I am 🙂 My thoughts and dreams wander back to you all often. I have been away from Oldenburg for longer than a month before for holidays but this time, even when it had only been two weeks, it felt like longer. In other words, I miss you and I miss Oldenburg.
Some part of me finds it funny how I so often long for the home I’m not in. I’d love to be omnipresent, always with all the people dear to me who are spread across continents. The glass-half-empty view makes me feel like I’m always missing something, always leaving. But on the bright side I could also say I’m always home. The theme of my life seems to be ‘Yaadum oore, yaavarum kelir’ a Tamil saying which translates into ‘Every town is my hometown and everyone is my kin’. I sometimes really think that everyone I don’t know are simply friends I haven’t made yet. Moving around this much makes me realise how temporary everything is, how now is all that matters. Then kindness, connection and friendship become more important than anything else. And all of you offered that to me, making all those shared moments so special.
Ok, now with the exciting news of what I’ve been up to. I made the switch to bride mode pretty easily in Dubai. I stood there staring at all the clothes in a shop with my future sister-in-law saying I don’t need anything, why are we here. In the next hours, we had a really fun shopping time, where the rare girly side of me emerged. It was a great way of bonding with her. We also went out with her husband to the Palm and through New Dubai with all the glittering and impressively large buildings many of which are architectural marvels. Dubai seems to have taken the best of so many countries and merged it together. It has people from everywhere, it’s a pretty interesting place.
When I landed in BLR I felt like I’d never been away. I was just here in January anyway. The first weeks were hot (~33). My parents complained of the heat but I didn’t because I had missed it so much. Similarly if someone was critical of the food, I’d say it’s simply great. I appreciate everything a lot more since I’ve been away. Within those first 4 days, we had a gathering with all my family and my parents in law to be. It was for a special occasion at a really pretty temple nearby and my mum outdid herself with the lunch afterward. She had started preparations at 4am!
After this event, things calmed down a little bit, then activity paced up again towards our trip to Chennai on the 1st of May. We went there for a week for shopping (it’s the best place for a lot of variety and great prices) and to invite people in person the old traditional way. My parents did most of the leg work though (they want to save me from the ‘exhausting heat’). I spent lots of time with my grand aunt and uncle who we stayed with and I had lunch at my cousins place in a different part of Chennai. My niece has grown so much (she’s 6 now) and she’s super smart and very affectionate towards me. She’s my first niece so she holds a special place in my heart.
Saree shopping in Chennai was fun! We went with the ladies of the family and again with my future parents in law for specific things they wanted to get me. It was really nice spending time with them too. While I spent time with my grandaunt and my aunt, the conversations often made me realise how much more there was to learn about the traditions, mythology and culture that I come from. While in Oldenburg when people asked me questions about India or Hinduism I always had pretty good answers, but here among my family, I realise I know so little. I became more curious and we had some great stimulating conversations.
But things are busy. I’ve been organising what to take to the US, what to take to Coimbatore for when I go there after the wedding, what to take on the other trips to temples, visa offices and the honeymoon before we leave. My parents painted the whole house before I got home so my things were disorganised, the room is littered with bags of sarees and veshtis bought as gifts for family and close friends who will come as guests. Each saree I get (I think it’s 12 now for the whole wedding) needs a blouse and petticoat that goes with it and since it’s bridal, everything is fancier than normal stuff. It’s been exciting and busy and I have lists of things to finish before my friends and other family members arrive from other countries. My close friend from school is also engaged to be married in November so we two not-so-girly girls went girly looking at different hair-dos, blouse types, jewellery, beauty routines etc. It was really fun to do this with her and I’m mildly surprised at how much I enjoy this. She’s also hosting something like a bachelorette party a few days before the wedding for a few of my close friends who will be here to hang out at my school campus, walk around in the forest etc. It was when we were organising this that I realised how much I’ll really miss so many of you. How wonderful it would’ve been to have all my close friends from various parts of my life get together for my wedding. But it’s hard, I understand. Still, I think I will enjoy it with those who are here. I was especially touched when I heard a cousin of mine is flying in just for the wedding from the US. That totally made my day.
In the middle of all this, I talk to Santosh when I wake up as he’s about to sleep and after dinner, when he’s waking up. We’re both pretty excited and slightly impatient 🙂 I’m also watching 24 Season 7 with my parents after lunch on the days when it’s less busy and the IPL around dinner time. Some of the cricket in the last two days esp with Kings 11 Punjab has been brilliant. (I support CSK mainly and RCB sometimes). Pity we never finish a match though. The routine here is very early to bed early to rise so getting up even past eight is frowned upon. And since the house goes so quiet by 9:30pm, it’s easy to feel like midnight is late!
For those of you curious about the sarees, I’ve attached photos of 2 blouses and their sarees. These are similar in type. As and when I take pictures of other styles and types I’ll send those too. The wikipedia article is a little dry but informative http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sari. I think many of you will find this more interesting overall. https://www.pinterest.com/theonlyangel/brides-of-india/.
I look forward to hearing from you about how things are going there. Also, tell the trees around the University that I say hi 🙂 I miss them too.