This post was selected for BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday picks on 26th April ’11
This is dedicated to mum and dad, for their 21 beautiful and eventful years of marriage and the many many more to come. Belated happy anniversary to both of you.
It all happened one fateful day in 1989. My dad (a surprisingly down-to-earth Punjabi) was a lieutenant in the army, in a unit in Bombay, and hence the junior-most in the office. My mum (a surprisingly smart and ‘non-chinky’ Nepali) had just started out as an air hostess enjoying the thrills of new shoes from Paris and watches from Dubai.
My dad’s regular day started and ended in the office and little did he know any colours beyond the ones in his olive green uniform. Well, at least not until my mum decided to learn how to drive in an army driving school one fine day.
My mum wasn’t a bad driver, in fact she wasn’t too bad at all. Not until she discovered one day that she was lousy at reversing. And this she got to know when she rammed the car right into my dad’s (way too little) office, and nearly broke down an entire rear wall, leading to my dad rushing out as if an earthquake had just occurred.
No. It’s not what you think. There were no sparks at all. In fact there were only explosions and fireworks. My dad came out fuming, at his broken wall and my mum counter-argued at the fact that the army didn’t provide him with enough funds and a better office with stronger walls.
The argument went on till about half an hour or so when my dad’s boss summoned both of them to his office, where the argument was abruptly ended as my dad’s boss told them both to apologise to each other. After a few exchanges of the most murderous glances ever, my mum broke the silence and apologised, since the bad reversing style was hers after all.
My dad got the ego boost but his male-pride needed a little nursing too, so he invited my mum for lunch as an apology for him yelling. My mum agreed on the condition that they would go dutch. And then what followed was my mum and dad’s first ever ‘un-official’ date, at a vada-pav stall, on another fateful day in 1989.
My mum continued her driving lessons. Apparently, she needed a lot more practice at reversing. After every lesson, my dad would invite her to tea and samosas to his office and sometimes he would fill-in for the driving instructor, when the instructor would be on leave or sometimes even when he wasn’t.
Sometimes my dad’s boss needed things to be sent here and there, my dad would, more often then not, always volunteer to deliver something whenever it were somewhere near my mum’s house, and would ‘drop a casual visit’, saying he was ‘just passing by’.
The meetings grew. My mum’s driving improved, but she continued to come to correct even the most petty mistakes. And my dad paid his visits even when nothing was to be delivered anywhere and sometimes just something as petty as a glass of water or juice.
Symbolically enough, from the very first time they met, quite a few barriers were gradually broken as time passed. They started going for more lunches together, still sharing the costs and quite often they went for evening walks together in nearby parks and the pavement by the sea at Marine drive.
And on this one fateful day, many walks and lunch-dates later, my dad asked my mum out under the setting sun at Marine drive.
They dated for about almost a year and everything was going smooth until the entry of the villain of this story- my paternal grandmother.
My paternal grandmother was this typical Punjabi mother of a son, who was dying to show off her wealth and riches to her relatives through her son’s big fat pompous Punjabi wedding ceremony. She finally got the opportunity to bombard my dad with numerous matrimonial offers when my grandfather got a posting to Bombay as a doctor in the railway.
There were girls’ families who visited my grandparents’ house almost every fortnight and my grandmother forced my much protesting dad to visit girls’ houses now and then. My dad begged all of them to reject him, and he successfully wormed his way out of the matchmaking conspiracy, humouring my grandmother at the same time.
My grandmother began to smell something fishy and when she finally got strong hints, she debarred my dad from talking or meeting ‘this girl from another community’ a.k.a. my mum.
My grandmother continued the matchmaking in full swing, with twice as much vigour this time, and one of those days a girl and her multi-millionaire family was going to pay a visit.
My grandmother started to prepare for that day right from the morning, and told my dad to come home early from work. She bid the heartiest goodbye to my dad, and he drove off in his (now antique) Bajaj scooter. He drove at the highest possible speed he could manage, sped past his office and reached his destination- ‘The Bombay high court’- where my mum, along with my maternal aunt, paternal uncle and a few friends waited for my dad. My aunt being an IAS officer had pulled some strings and made my mum and dad jump the que. And on that very fateful day, the 13th of April, 1990, my parents were officially married after a 25-minute long procedure and about four signatures.
And that is how my mum and dad got married.
No. The story isn’t over yet. After that rather eventful day, my parents, each with their headiest adrenaline rush, decided to go and pay a visit to my grandmother. Yes, it was a pretty bold move, but she had to know some day, might as well have been the first.
My parents (now married) drove off to my grandparents’ house and decided to enter from the back door. And well, as luck had it, Miss multi-millionaire and family were sitting in the drawing room at that very same time. My grandmother opened the back-door and was overcome by the rude shock, when my dad introduced her to my mum, ‘his wife’.
I wish I was there to have seen the expression on her face. Apparently she froze and didn’t know what to do for about 10 minutes and when she finally gained her senses, she had her very first heart attack!
The chaos ensured the family in the drawing room to never be seen again and the heart attack turned out to be minor acidity.
My parents decided to have a small ceremony a week or so after, but neither of them could decide between a Punjabi and Nepali ceremony.
They finally came to a consensus, and decided that, since everything started and happened in Bombay, they might as well have a Marathi wedding.
That girl in the drawing room got married to one of my older paternal uncles some time later. My grandmother was still in shock for a few months, and to date she still tries to take revenge for the shock by being a soap-opera-ish mother-in-law to my mum. My grandfather was one of the happiest at the ceremony and to date he’s proud of my dad’s choice and his bold move.
Well… and then of course, about a year later, I came into the picture. And to date I laugh about the filmy-ness of my parents’ story and try to picture my grandmother’s expression on that eventful day. But amidst all the chaos and overwhelming emotions, my parents managed to live happily ever after.