The Wedding Diaries #6: Mehndi and Doodles

My cousin sister got married. To the love of her life. Last December. And it was pretty insane.

Read the rest of the series here: The Wedding Diaries


It’s been some time since the last post in this series went up, and my original plan was to write a series finale post all about the wedding shenanigans. That one, as it turns out, is taking a while to write. Like the actual wedding was, I want that blog post to be perfect!

In the meantime though, here’s something fun I did.

I took this photo of Ektaa’s beautiful mehndi as we sat chit chatting by the pool at the Farmhouse we were staying at during the wedding weekends. I loved how the cool blue of the pool contrasted with the dark red mehndi stains.

Take a look!

DSC_0191.JPG

I initially didn’t think a filter would be necessary for this photo, but then I had another idea. Doodles on the photo!

Most of you would know that I love to doodle. I usually post my art on my Instagram @rewa2303, but I’ve also made a new page on this site for it – Today I Doodled. I drew this idea from a similar doodle I’d done before.

I printed out the photo on an A4 size sheet and doodled away with a black pen. This is how it turned out:

IMG_20170107_112118_147

That’s how you put boredom to good use. 😉

Advertisements

Blind Date

“What will you have, ma’am?” asked the bartender.

“Oh I’m waiting for someone,” I replied, tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear.

My phone buzzed on the bar counter. “Sorry, I’m running a bit late!” said the text from my date. Blind date. I signaled the bartender, “On second thoughts, can I have a watermelon martini?” He nodded and started preparing my drink.

‘A bit late. Ugh’ I thought to myself, fiddling with the rips in my jeans. Why had I ever let Aanya talk me into this? Three days ago, I wouldn’t even have thought about talking to someone I hadn’t met before, and now, here I was, sitting at the bar at Irish House, waiting for some guy from her office called Arjun to walk in.

 

I swept my dark curls over one shoulder and put my phone to my ear. “I’ve been here 20 minutes and he’s just texted that he’s getting late.” I yelled at Aanya as soon as she answered.

“Oh my god! I’ll call him, don’t worry, he’ll be there soon,” she said.

“Fine.” I said, exasperated, “Aanya Gupta, why do I even call you my best friend?”

“Because you love me!” came the reply before she hung up.

 

The bartender placed my drink in front of me. I took a sip and then picked off the slice of watermelon from my glass and bit into it. “Hey, were you just talking to Aanya Gupta from Techspiron by any chance?” said a voice behind me. I jumped.

“Um yeah, you know her?”

“Yep, we’re on the same team at work! Hi, I’m Arjun. I guess you’re Jiah, the school friend? She keeps talking about you.”

“Oh hi Arjun! Yeah that’s me.” I said awkwardly, putting the watermelon slice back on the rim of my glass.

“I’d eat that if I were you.” he said, taking the seat next to mine. “Can I have a beer?”

I picked up the watermelon slice and looked at him as he waited for his beer to be served. ‘Not bad looking at all,’ I thought, considering his long angled face, deep set eyes and dark spiked hair. He was wearing a pale blue checkered shirt, the sleeves of which were rolled up to his elbows, and dark denims. ‘Good work, Aanya.’ I said to myself.

 

“Cheers!” said Arjun, holding out his beer bottle towards me, “To mutual friends who talk a lot about other friends.”

“Cheers to that!” I laughed, clinking my glass to his. “So, you joined Techspiron with Aanya, didn’t you?” I said, trying to remember what Aanya had told me about him.

“Not exactly,” Arjun replied, “Just about a month later though. But I only moved to her team two months ago. App Development, but I suppose you already know what we do.”

“Oh no, I really don’t. I’ve never ventured towards science after school,” I grinned. “I’ve studied journalism. I’m working with an online magazine right now.”

“Yeah, don’t you write pieces on Mumbai?” asked Arjun, “Aanya had shown me a few articles, they’re really good!” he explained.

“Aw, thank you!” I smiled, and took a sip of my drink.

 

A bit of an awkward silence later, Arjun looked towards me again.

“So, you’re a Harry Potter fan?” he asked, pointing at my deathly hallows necklace.

“Yeah I am!” I beamed. “But I thought you weren’t a fan?”

“Are you kidding?” he said, “Hasn’t Aanya told you how we keep nerding out about it? It drives the rest of our team insane,” he laughed.

“Oh I think she mentioned it, yeah!” I said, trying to mask the lie. If I were being honest, I hadn’t really been paying attention when Aanya had told me about Arjun, but I was pretty sure she’d said that he hadn’t read the books. Oh well. “It’s the best, right?” I added.

He nodded, beginning to talk passionately about how he grew up reading the series. His eyes twinkled as he spoke, and I felt a sudden rush inside me.

We spoke over another round of drinks and a plate of fries, and rather unexpectedly, I found I was enjoying myself. It was true that I was meeting this guy for the first time, but he was coming across as charming and witty. I owed Aanya an apology for snapping at her earlier.

 

“So, you were waiting here long?” asked Arjun, “‘Cause I saw you sitting alone here.”

“Oh, not too long, it’s okay,” I replied. “I guess the traffic is really bad tonight.”

“Yeah, all my friends are late tonight because of it. Mad traffic on the highway, a bus broke down, it seems.” he said, pointing at his phone.

“Friends?” I asked, confused. “Are you expecting someone else?”

“Yeah, of course. I don’t generally go to a pub alone and start conversations with Aanya’s friends.” he winked.

“But we’d decided to m.. ” I started to say, as my phone buzzed, flashing Aanya’s number.

“Speak of the devil.. ” Arjun laughed, taking a sip of his beer.

“I’ll just get that,” I said, getting off the bar stool and making my way to a quieter place in the pub to answer the call.

 

“Dude! He’s invited his friends to a blind date, what the hell? ” I yelled at Aanya for the second time tonight, drowning out whatever she was trying to say.

“Wait, what? What friends?” she asked.

“I don’t know! He just told me he’s waiting for his friends to get here.”

“When did he tell you that? I just got off the phone with him.”

“Um, he’s sitting next to me, Aanya, and he wasn’t on the phone.”

“What? No, he’s stuck in traffic because some bus broke down! I just called to tell you that he’s turning around and going back home, and you should leave too.” exclaimed Aanya. “But wait, who are you talking to, Jiah?”

“Uhh, Arjun?” I stammered, “Fr-from your team? App Development?” I looked back at the bar to make sure he was still sitting there. There he was, eating fries off a plate we’d ordered.

“Oh my god, Jiah!” she cried. And then she laughed, “Of course! It’s Riyaan’s birthday, that’s why he’s there.”

Who am I talking to, Aanya?” I stressed.

“Jiah Jiah, that’s Arjun Malhotra, from my team. Riyaan’s his brother, so obviously he’s meeting people there for a party.”

“What?” I said, dumbstruck. “Then, who was I supposed to meet?”

“Arjun Wadhwa! From Communications. That’s a different Arjun, babe.” she explained. “But he’s not going to come there anymore, I’m sorry.”

“Oh,” I said, “And Arjun Wadhwa hasn’t read Harry Potter.”

Suddenly everything became clear to me. I looked back towards the bar. The Arjun sitting there was telling someone that the seat next to him was taken. He pointed towards me and I smiled, and waved back.

“Hey is Arjun Malhotra single?” I asked.

“Yeah he is. But do you like him?” she asked, and I could hear the excitement in her voice.

“Great, I’ll just call you back later.” Still smiling, I hung up and walked back towards the bar.

 

“Thanks for saving my seat!” I said to Arjun. “Turns out our mutual friend can’t make it here tonight. It’s that stupid bus. She’s ditching me.” I lied, shrugging my shoulders.

“Good thing we ran into each other then, isn’t it?” winked Arjun.

“Cheers to that!” I grinned back.

 


This post is in response to this Discover Challenge by The Daily Post – Chance Encounter.

The Wedding Diaries #5: The Bachelorette

My cousin sister is getting married. To the love of her life. This December. And it’s pretty insane.

Read the rest of the series here: The Wedding Diaries


No one becomes a Bride without a bachelorette party. So, obviously we planned one for our Bride-To-Be!

We were eight of us, including the Bride, her cousins and close friends; and we booked a bungalow at Neral to spend the weekend before the wedding ceremonies began. The whole trip was, needless to say, pretty much legendary.

The bungalow (The Destination Homes) was nestled in the Western Ghats and had a beautiful view. The night was cold and the stars were bright. We dolled up as soon as we got there and took and insane number of photos, and we danced almost all night.

But as you all know, what happens at a bachelorette party stays at the bachelorette party!

I’ll still share some photos. 🙂


Next post in the series: Mehndi and Doodles.

The Wedding Diaries #4: Pyaar Dosti Hai

My cousin sister is getting married. To the love of her life. This December. And it’s pretty insane.

Read the rest of the series here: The Wedding Diaries


Shah Rukh Khan in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai said, “Pyaar dosti hai.” (“Love is friendship.”) And although we were kids when we watched that movie, most of us had the same thought – “I’d love me some Shah Rukh Khan.”

Then we got older, and we watched rom-coms, and even more Shah Rukh Khan movies. We realised there was a common underlying theme to them all – pyaar dosti hai. There’s no love without friendship.

And that’s exactly where our story begins.

What’s the best way of finding new friends? Through another friend! It’s effective most times, I guess. That’s how our Bride and Groom met, and I can tell you for a fact that they’re pleased.

Ektaa and Prinstan met when a mutual friend asked Prinstan to pick up some lecture notes for his girlfriend. They added each other on Facebook, and began to talk. Pretty much every day. It was all friendly chit chatting though. He had moved to China around that time for a work stint, and internet was the only connection they shared. But then, he called her up from China to wish her on her birthday. That’s when she realised this friendship was special.

When he came back from China, he met her to give her a box of chocolates he’d gotten. They met a couple of times after that too, but not for very long. Prinstan had to go back to China for almost 6 to 8 months at a stretch for work, coming back to Bombay for only a few weeks.

Skip ahead two years, and Ektaa topped her year in college. Prinstan bought her a teddy bear as a gift, but Ektaa was apprehensive about taking it, since they weren’t all that close after all. He mailed her a picture of it anyway.

32795101584470pinkteddy113859820531386516756_1400429775

Over the next 2-3 years, they’d keep chatting over the internet, meeting a few times when he came to Bombay on leave, and going back to chatting when he left. It was then that some of her closest friends moved away, and Ektaa found herself talking more and more to Prinstan. She realised that even if she was alone in person, he was there for her to share things with, albeit in another country.

Their friendship deepened even further when he finally returned from China for good. They were able to speak more often, meet more often, and spend more time with each other. They weren’t dating, but he soon became one of her closest friends.

When exactly dosti began transitioning into pyaar, neither of the two could tell, but within each of their minds, the possibility of something beyond just friendship started blooming pretty soon. Ektaa thought that he seemed like the right guy for her, having pretty much all the qualities she was looking for. And more than anything else, he’d been there for her when she needed someone to talk to. Could it be possible that he felt the same way too?

Prinstan did. He thought that she seemed like the right girl for him. But ever since she’d told him off about the teddy bear he bought her, he didn’t want to come across too strong, and he wasn’t sure if she was looking for a relationship.

So they spoke, and met, and spent more time with each other, but neither of them said a word.

That year, Prinstan invited Ektaa home for his birthday. It was a close knit affair, mostly his family and close friends. It was all very chilled out and friendly, and they had a great time.

Later, he met her again, this time to invite her to his place for Christmas. Not being able to stand the suspense any longer, she had to ask him (to put it simply), “What are we?”

And just like that, dosti completely turned into pyaar.

dsc_2846

PS. Prinstan did eventually give Ektaa the teddy bear earlier this year. 😛


Next post in the series: The Bachelorette

Inktober Accomplished!

I did it! I successfully completed Inktober 2016!

I love to doodle. Since Navratri and Inktober coincided this year, I’d combined those two, and posted those doodles (Day 1 to Day 11) on my blog earlier. You can see them here.

And here is a round up of the rest of the doodles (Day 12 to Day 31)!

 

You can check out my Instagram (@rewa2303), where I post all my art.

The Wedding Diaries #3: “No Pressure!”

My cousin sister is getting married. To the love of her life. This December. And it’s pretty insane.

Read the rest of the series here: “The Wedding Diaries“.


Wedding shopping is insane. Like, INSANE.

I’d already told you about The Notebook and how we’d noted down pretty much exactly what we’d wanted each bridal outfit to be. So, armed with The Notebook, we set off to Surat to commence shopping.

We have family living in Surat, and they told us there’s a whole lot of choice there for bridal clothes (and they were NOT wrong!). And so began the 5 hour trip from Bombay to Surat, which is a great drive by the way. It’s a straight, well maintained road down National Highway 8; and with the right kind of music (we like to jam to Bollywood music and ABBA alike) and a halt at Hotel Ahura for their amazing Parsi Akuri (10/10 would recommend if you love eggs), it’s a perfect road trip. We even tried to make a consolidated guest list on the way. Note the word “tried”. 😛

Once we had settled down at our aunt’s place and had lunch (a LOT of lunch, because while in Surat, you eat a lot), we ventured out to some of the shops. Every shop we went into had the same atmosphere as the other. As soon as you walk in, we’d have 2-3 people come up to us and say, Aaiye, kya dikhau aapko aaj?” (“Please come in, what do you want to see today?”). And we’d say the same thing in every shop, “Bridal wear.”

Soon, we’d all be ushered into chairs at the counters, even offered tea/coffee. We’d tell them what kind of stuff we were looking for, and we’d have a salesman or two showing us various lehengas, saris, and gowns fit for a bride – your usual shopping routine. Some of them were absolutely lovely, and some of them were absolutely ugly. Ektaa and I had fun subtly whispering sarcastic remarks about the ugly ones to each other.

There was SO much variety! Ektaa tried on a myriad of clothes. We tried covertly taking photos of them, covertly because most shops don’t allow photography. 😛

saree_shops_jersey_city

There were so many dresses where we liked the skirt, but not the blouse, or vice versa, or where we liked the style, but not the colour. It was so, so hard to decide. So every time someone from our little shopping party told Ektaa to hurry up and decide, I’d say, “But no pressure!” It soon became a little joke.

“Ektaa, it’s your turn to shower.” “But no pressure!”

“Ektaa, do you have an extra hair tie?” “But no pressure!”

“Ektaa, there are jalebis for breakfast, come eat!” “But no pressure!”

If you ever come across an Indian salesman, you would know his power of selling. Sometimes, they say the quirkiest things to get you to buy something from their shop!

“Madam, this has pure hand made embroidery. You won’t get it anywhere else.”

“Madam, aap try toh karke dekho.” (“Madam, at least try it on and then see.”)

“Madam, this style is in fashion right now, but it will stay in fashion till December also.”

“Madam, this is actually more expensive, but I will give it to you at a discounted rate.”

“Madam, this colour is perfect for you.”

“Madam,” this time to me, “aap bhi try karke dekho.”

However, we found one salesman that topped the list. He said, “Madam, yeh advance trend hai 2017 ka. Abhi just aaya hai, aur sirf humare dukaan mein milega.” (“Madam, this is an advance trend from 2017. We just received it and you will only find it in our shop.”)

We had to try SO hard to hide our sniggering at that one! 😀

Finally, two and a half days, a lot of yummy, heavy Gujju meals, multiple shops and millions of trips to the trial room later, we had two outfits for The Bride! Were they exactly as we’d planned them to be in The Notebook? About 50-ish%, I’d say.

Although, it wasn’t solely a crazy shopping spree trip. Every trip we make to Surat is incomplete without a dinner party, at home, with amazing Gujarati snacks and food, and lots of laughter. We chit chatted and gossiped and took selfies and played games. My youngest nephew and niece put up a dance performance for us, and we even purchased Hot Wheels cars from them by paying money from the Game of Life. It was super fun!

All in all, it was a successful trip, and soon enough, we were making our way back to Bombay, exhausted from all that walking around and shopping.

In the week that followed, Ektaa picked out her bridal lehenga for the reception from Bombay itself, and that one was EXACTLY as we’d written in The Notebook! Yay! 😀

As the wedding date gets nearer and nearer, we’re getting equal parts excited and stressed. You never really know how much there is to do for a wedding, until there’s one happening that you’re actually a part of.

But it’s pretty darn cool that there’s so many people putting in so much effort to bring two souls together and celebrate love. ❤


Next part in the series here: Pyaar Dosti Hai

Inktober x Navratri 2016

I love to doodle. It’s the one activity that is a fool proof stress buster for me. So, this year, I decided to follow Inktober.

For those of you who don’t know, Inktober is an initiative started by Jake Parker. The idea is to make an ink drawing every day during the month of October. All Inktober posts are found online under “#inktober”.

Navratri, literally translating to “nine nights”, is a Hindu festival spanning over nine days celebrating the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India, but essentially involves the worship of Goddess Durga. The day after Navratri is called Vijayadashami or Dusshera. It’s generally a 10-11 day period, depending on the Hindu calendar (which is based on the cycles of the moon).

There’s a fun tradition that is followed during Navratri – each day is assigned a colour. Mostly, you wear that colour on that day. It’s pretty cool to see hordes of people dressed in a single colour when you step out of the house!

This year, Navratri began on 1st October, same as the first day of Inktober.

And that’s how Inktober x Navratri 2016 was born!

I made a doodle each day from 1st to 11th October in the colour assigned to that date as per Navratri traditions.

Have a look!

I’ll be continuing Inktober for the rest of the month! You can check out my Instagram (@rewa2303), where I post all my art.

Edit: Check out the rest of my Inktober 2016 here!

An Innocence Lost

Ma, I can’t sleep. The loud noises have started again. I remember when we’d burst firecrackers, and there would be pretty coloured lights in the night sky. You would tell me not to go too close to the firecrackers so that I don’t burn. These noises are just like those firecrackers, Ma, but they’re so much louder. Are they bursting firecrackers, Ma? Maybe they have ones bigger than those we could afford. Maybe that’s why the lights beyond my curtain are so much brighter. Won’t they burn so much more?

What are those planes in the sky, Ma? It looks like they are dropping balls of fire from there. All the houses are burning and people are running from within them. There is so much noise – loud bangs, and screams. Why is everyone screaming, Ma? Are they hurt? The fire must be so hot. You always told me to stay away from your cooking fire when you would make hot curry for me and Pa to eat. But that was such a little fire. These flames are as big as the houses they are burning.

I am scared, Ma. The noises are getting louder; the screams of people are getting higher. Even when I cover my ears, I can still hear them. There is so much dust and heat – I can barely breathe, Ma. The balls of fire are still dropping to the ground, faster now. The sky is no longer dark – it is outlined by large yellow-orange flames. Did you know that yellow was my favourite colour, Ma? I don’t like it that much anymore. I think I prefer blue, like that dress you had worn on my 5th birthday, last week. You looked so beautiful that day, Ma, with that little white flower in your hair. We played all my favourite games in the park opposite our house, remember? I think that park is on fire right now, Ma.

Where are you, Ma? The walls are shaking in my room and the door is blocked with large blocks of stone. There was a very loud noise and now I feel like I can’t hear anything. Can you hear me, Ma? I keep calling out to you, but you aren’t coming. You always come when I have a nightmare, Ma. I think I’m having a nightmare, but I don’t think I’m sleeping. Can that happen too, Ma? Can I get nightmares even when I’m awake? The stones near my door are too heavy, Ma. I cannot move them. There is a hole in the roof above me, and I can see the sky, and I can see the planes. They are right above us.

I feel so tired, Ma. I think I have been asleep for a while. Maybe it was all a nightmare – all the fire and the planes and the noises and the hole in the roof. It is very bright suddenly; I can barely open my eyes. I can see a lot of people around me, they are saying something. I cannot hear them. But I’m not lying on my mattress. There are only stones here, and pieces of wood. I don’t understand, Ma. Where is my bed? One of the men picks me up and carries me away from all the stones. His arms are warm. He puts me into a chair. It is so much softer than all those stones. But where am I, Ma? Where are you?

A man has come up to me and he is looking at me. I think he is asking me some questions. You told me not to talk to strangers, Ma. But I cannot hear him, and so I don’t know what to say to him. I just continue sitting in the chair quietly. I feel so sore, Ma. My head is hurting. I press my head with my hand and it hurts even more. There is something wet and sticky in my hair. I look at my hand; it is covered with grey dust and the sticky red thing. I had taken a bath after returning from the playground this evening. I know you get mad when I don’t clean up. How did I get dirty again, Ma?

Who are these strange men, Ma? They seem nice, they smile at me too. They even gave me some water. But I don’t see you anywhere, Ma. Where are you? Why am I not in our home? Will Pa be able to fix the hole in the roof? I feel so cold and so tired and so sore all at the same time. I just want to sleep, Ma. But I don’t know where you are.


Hi!

This story was inspired by Omran Daqneesh, the little boy who was pulled out of the rubble after air strikes in Aleppo, Syria. I’ve tried to do justice to the trauma that he, and thousands of others, must have felt during these air strikes, in the best way that I could. I hope from the bottom of my heart that peace reigns again soon. I don’t think we can afford to lose any more innocent lives than we already have.

Image result for omran daqneesh
This haunting image of Omran just after he was pulled out of the rubble after the air strikes in Aleppo was the inspiration behind this story.

I’ve also submitted this story for the TATA Literature Live! MyStory Contest, and if you liked what you just read, please go over to this link (I’m ‘rewa01’) and vote for me. It would mean the world to me!

Cheers,
Rewa. ❤