Wednesday, October 06, 2010
It is nearing our 40th Wedding Anniversary and my mind keeps flitting back---specially with the Festive Mood of the approaching Navratri---9 days 9 nights----beginning to make itself felt!!We were married on an "Ekadashi"---the day after Dasra (Dussehra)---the 10th Day of the waxing cycle of the Moon!!
I was 17 years old---hopelessly,madly in love and Sudhir was a 1000 miles away----just imagine our plight!!Those days to hear each other's voices we had to book Trunk Calls to each other---and those Telephone Operators loved eavesdropping on Conversations---specially of people like us---having a long distance Love talk!!Not just that---the Telephones were kept at places easily accessible from all parts of the House---so not in the most private of locations!!In Sudhir's case there was an extension in the Bedroom---so he at least had some access to privacy---in my case there'd be 4 pair of inquisitive ears straining to catch every nuance of our conversations---not forgetting the Telephone Operators!!Without going into too many details I guess my Readers must have realised how difficult it must have been for either of us to say "Something Stupid--like I Love You!!!" a la Sinatra style!!To resolve this situation we resorted to writing Letters---loooong ones---so thick and heavy that they needed to be sent by Registered Post!!!Daddy used to tease me mercilessly about how my Letter writing was a such drain on his Finances----that too with literally a Letter a Day!!
Mummy travelled to Mumbai to finalise all the Wedding arrangements---and buy my Gold Ornaments.My choice was not taken into consideration at all---at my age what did I know about Patterns and styles???Funny isn't it?I was old enough AND responsible enough to get married but was supposed to be an imbecile otherwise!!Not that it mattered---to me the only Jewellery that really counted could be counted on my fingers---the most important Gold Chain strung with Black Beads---my Mangalsutra----a proclamation of my married status--followed by items of lesser importance--a set of 4 Gold Bangles, Diamond Earrings ,Silver Anklets and Silver Toerings----a different variety for each toe---all a daily requirement!!!Buying my Trousseau was another Farce!!!Our local Cloth Merchant was instructed to show us his prized Stuff---on a Sunday when the Shop was closed to the Public.The 3 of us---Daddy,Mummy and I were escorted inside from the Shop's back door and then one after the other the Magic of Weave and Colour unfurled!!!I had never even imagined that that rustic little Shop housed such a magnificent hoard!!Reams of richly woven Gold and Silk Banarasi Brocades,French Chiffons,Kashmiri Chinons,Mysore Crepes,South Indian Silks and such just streamed past my wonderstruck eyes to land in an iridiscent Pile of shimmering Fabric at our feet!!My presence there didn't mean that I had a say in whatever was being set aside for buying----I just sat there in the middle--my neck swivelling left to right or vice versa--my mouth hanging open in wonder---and except for saying once"I like that Sari" to Mummy---which was quelled by a ferocious look by her---I subsided having understood that it wasn't mine to question why!!!After a 4 hour stint some 70 Saris were kept aside---a mixture of plain Cottons for Daily and Casual Wear along with Silks,Crepes,Chinons and Chiffons out of which the French Chiffons were plain---to be hand embroidered in Silk and Gold Thread!!!My parents had an awesome eye for Stuff----Daddy was also an Artist who enjoyed Painting on Fabric---there were a few Pastel Orgadies which he bought to paint on-----all in ll a very rich Collection of Saries----in every concievable Colour and Fabric---we all came home replete with Satisfaction!!The next day the Embroiderer---an old lady who knew me since my babyhood came over to discuss the Embroidery Patterns and Motifs---again it was Mummy who had the final say!!!All these things had to be readied well in advance as we were to travel from Chandigarh to Bombay as it was called those days!!My Trunks were packed with Saries,Sari Blouses---each with three quarter sleeves and Sari Petticoats one for each Sari----I needed plenty of these because I was to stop wearing my Salwar /Churidar-Kameezes after the Wedding.
These were not the only things that we were going to carry.Mummy also was carrying 50 kilos of old Basmati Rice and Canisters of Pure Ghee(Clarified Butter) for the Wedding Banquet as this was extremely expensive in Bombay those days---besides being of an inferior Quality!!!To add to the tension Trains weren't functioning regularly thanks to a Flood having inundated the Narmada and Tapi Regions of Gujerat----a part of our usual Train Route to Mumbai!!!