My mom, my brother and I left for Kolkata on the 14th of May. The train journey was fun but painfully long (about 18 hours) and slow, because:
- Mom can be a real pain when you’re traveling. She is a supremely fussy vegetarian. She will:
- Not eat at a restaurant if they also serve non-veg food, even if it is prepared separately.
- Not eat at a pure veg restaurant unless it smells good.
- Not eat at a pure veg restaurant unless they serve north Indian (Punjabi) cuisine.
- Not eat on trains even if you tell her a thousand times that they do not cook in-house and have caterers.
- Make faces when you eat food on a train or on the street or anywhere else that she wouldn’t eat.
- My brother A is constantly on the phone and will not listen to anything you say.
- My mom rolls her eyes a LOT. She complains even more.
- When mom complains, I start giving her a lecture about patience and we end up fighting.
- When #2 happens, #3 happens and subsequently, #4 happens.
You get the picture. So a whole lot of #4 happened. We finally reached Kolkata and then everyone just shut up. I was dying of anticipation because Mister and his mom were going to pick us up at the station. I hadn’t seen him in three days, and was missing him a lot.
I hugged him in front of a thousand people, including my mom who was predictably rolling her eyes. I didn’t care. And then before mom could recover, Mister planted a kiss on my cheek. My mom blushed and looked away. I’m assuming she was rolling her eyes some more at this point, but I couldn’t see her so I can’t be sure.
We reached the guesthouse in about 45 minutes, got dressed and stepped out because we had to shop for last minute essentials, such as alta and shankha-pola. Alta is a red fluid applied to the hands and feet of Bengali brides. Shankha-pola are basically conch shell bangles that are considered auspicious. Bengali brides put them on and never take them off. They also wear an iron bangle, again, never to take them off.
The alta (see the first picture above) was applied by one of Mister’s paternal aunts on the 16th, the day of the wedding, but I wore the red and white bangles as soon as I bought them. The iron bangle had to wait until we were married.
Here are some pictures of where we were married the next day. I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but my Guru, runs an ashram in Kolkata where she and her daughter home school several children from the slums. Mister and I wanted to be married with her blessing in the temple on her rooftop.
This temple, as you can see, houses an idol of Gour baba, the founder of Bibek Anader Satsang. He was my Guru’s Guru. I never really got to meet him, but consider his principles my guiding force in life.
The children in the Ashram were running around decorating the place for our big day with flowers, rangolis and lights. Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and soon, we joined in, hanging a few garlands and picking perfect bel leaves (in sets of three) for the wedding yagna the next day.
Later, we ate authentic home-cooked vegetarian cuisine at my Guru’s home.
And no, my mom did not make faces this time. She ate a little.
We managed to crash by midnight, but I didn’t sleep a wink in anticipation.
Coming up next: The Wedding Day