Thursday, September 22, 2011

To the moon and back

You know what I did in the last 2 weeks? I went to Vietnam and Thailand and had the most wonderful time with my boyfriend, Thom.

You all know him. He is the one who held a ring to my face and said "With this ring, I thee wed!!!", three long weeks back.

Now the funny part is that we gave each other the wrong ring to begin with. I gave him the ring that said Thommy and he gave me the one that said Liz and we both stood there perplexed, wondering why both the rings didn't fit.

I, predictably, jumped right into the gun and decided that our marriage must be doomed because the rings not fitting is a clear sign that portends that. (It says so in more than one romantic comedy of 2011.) And then Einstein jumped right into his rightful place behind my right ear and yelled right into it that we were not intended for doom but had just given each other the wrong ring! Whew! Big drama averted! Thanks, Albie!

And then we lived happily ever after.

Oh but before that, you know what the priest asked Thom? He said, "Do you Thomas take these women to be your lawfully wedded wife to have and to hold from this day on as long as you both shall live?"

Lucky Thomas, huh? The vow he took is like none other. He says that the priest's was an open invitation and that he can now legally take as many women as he wants as his wife! All at one go if he so pleases!

Just you try, Thomas! I will squeeze your ears and make meatballs come out of it! And I won't share them with you!

But hilarity inducing English aside, the wedding went off quite well and the choir sang "Baby Elephant Walk" rather pleasingly as we walked out of church.

But I now know the reason why the divorce rate in India is so phenomenally low. (It is1.1% as compared to Sweden, which is 54.9% and the US, at 54.8%.)

It is only because marriages in India are dramatic, stressful and absolutely insane. For about a week before the wedding until the moment I entered the church, I was like the Energizer Bunny, running around every space like I was on crack. There were rather long moments when I felt like my skull was going to split and a flaming B-52 would come pouring out. (Or maybe champagne. My head is pretty classy.)

The panic reached a rather unstable peak the night before the wedding but it quickly dissipated post the emergence of a 'screaming, yelling and throwing things at every passer-by' bride, from my thorax. And then I was back to being Energizer Bunny on crack again. Crazy, crazy, crazy!

And right during the prayer before leaving for the church, I burst into tears and didn't stop for ten minutes. (I WILL post pictures of this monumental event.) This is 25% because I was tired from all the running around, 30 % because I was sad that I would be married and my singledom would be distant dream, 10 % because I was unemployed and therefore by default would go from being tres fabulous and living my life in my terms to being a (ugh) housewife, and 35% because my baby brother who had come all the way from far, far away had gotten really, really sick and was throwing up in the next room!

I drove to the church in my pretty white car and I was still giving driving directions to people over the phone, while my poor brother continued to throw up into a plastic bag in the front seat! (Tip 1: Never get married in Bombay or Vietnam. No one knows where anything is. Tip 2:  Never eat flight food that you have to pay for.)

So long story short, I drove myself to a tizzy until the moment I got into the church, and then calmness pervaded. My work was done.

And that is why in all the pictures of the wedding ceremony, I can be found beaming like a flamingo with a mackerel in its mouth. But there is no way in heaven and hell that I will ever EVER consider getting married again. It is too much for my gall bladder to handle. And that translates roughly to "One less divorce"!

And as for our honeymoon, we had planned it such that we would have seven days in Vietnam and three days in Bangkok on our way back. Now Vietnam is a real beauty. She is young and lithe but her soul is aged and ripe with the wisdom of her travails. She is sweet and unpretentious and kind and courteous and always, always smiling.

You know how sometimes you can sit with a friend at a coffee shop for hours on end with no conversation to keep you engaged but at the end of these hours, your heart would be as full as it could possibly be? Being in Vietnam is akin to that - you can be in her company and your conversation her with is as simple as it could possibly be, but you leave her presence feeling complete and enriched in a way that is inexplicable but absolutely comprehensible.

Bangkok, on the other hand, is as sure as an eighteen year old soaring confidently on her new found freedom. She is vibrantly hued and irreverent in her space but mindful of your boundaries. She stands strong and proud,  fierce and brash. And after you have had a taste of her, you are just not the same ever again.

The wares are plentiful - mall after mall lie in wait, selling every ware conceivable to man. There are weekend markets spread out over acres, selling books and antiques and pets and clothes for pets.

Buddha lives in gilded castles here. Like Thom says, its funny that he renounced his life as a king in India shunning all material possessions, only to live in temples in Thailand that are ornate and gemmed and painted with gold.

Everything is taken a step further in Bangkok - they probably live by the adage that if you are not living on edge, you are occupying too much space. Even the roadsides are a testament to this - you can find stalls selling fried cockroaches and stewed worms right next to one selling pretty hats and a bracelet or two, and right after that will be a stall selling bottle of alcohol stuffed with geckos and scorpions and baby cobras..

Everyone's in vogue here, sporting over sized spectacles sans the lens, boots in fuchsia pink and sleek looking hair. The jeans are slim and the tops are either barely there or oversized, held in place with a low slung belt. It is a beautiful image, really.

Everything is in plenty, but somehow, somewhere, there is a sense of containment; of control. It is not a land of excesses or even of indulgence. Rather it is a way of living that is replete with flair and freedom of expression.

Both countries were breathtaking and both are absolute charmers in their own way. But really. the most wonderful gift in the world is to be able to travel and see new places and experience alternate ways of life and really, truly honestly broaden your horizons. All I want is a lifetime ahead full of just that.

I will post pictures of the wedding and the honeymoon as soon as I can find my camera cord, which of course is hiding somewhere in my 20 suitcases full of clothes and books. But until then, big love and hugs from me to you.:)

And thanks a trillion ton for all your wishes. I couldn't say this enough, and I don't have the words to tell you how much they mean to me. 


  1. The wedding sounds wonderful - I can tell from your writing what a good time you had! And I can't wait to see the pictures!

  2. wow! what a wedding! And what a gorgeous couple! anyway next time if u want to get married, just elope and sign at the registrars.... ;)


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