Sunday, 20 February 2011

Fickle little me

Over the last few months, I have had so many people tell me that they cannot believe I am getting married. I am sure many of them are saying this because I am still quite young; there are a few, however - those that know me very well - that are saying this based on a deeper understanding of who I am. 

As a passionate and slightly-OCD kind of person, I do tend to be quite fickle. I spend most of my life obsessing over all kinds of things - songs, colours, types of food, films, and even people - only to wake up one morning with the very real realisation that their novelty has suddenly worn off (people included - terrible, I know). I spent my childhood being fickle about friendships, and my adolescence being fickle about boys - not that you can blame me; spotty teenage boys aren't exactly worth a lifetime-commitment. 

According to my mother, then, "fickle" is my middle name. And she should know - she named me. So how can somebody so easily-excitable and, at the same time, so easily-bored settle down and get married? Good question. 

I think it boils down to the difference between being in love and love itself. The character Dr. Iannis (played by John Hurt) in the movie "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" summed it up perfectly:
When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No... don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!

The madness of the earthquake has not yet subsided. The thrill of being in love is stronger than ever. But I know - in my heart - that as we get old and the sparks start to diminish, our love will not falter. I will love my Groom-to-be until the very end... when we get old, and being middle-aged starts to steal the hair from his head - I will still love him. When conversation runs dry and the television becomes our number one companion - I will still love him. And when we are wrinkled, toothless and senile - I will still love him

Unless by then I have alzheimer's. In which case, being fickle will be the least of our problems.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Having spent the past week in Tenerife - soaking up the sun, sea and sand - I feel very far removed from the domestic world. However, given that it is Valentines Day (and that too, my last unmarried Valentines Day), I feel that as a Bride-to-be I should be making some effort to celebrate our love (as if saying "I do" isn't enough). Despite being seriously tired - and my head is still spinning from last night's turbulence (you dirty bugger, I was talking about the flight back to England) - I am going to spend the day cooking what I hope will be a delicious feast (I use the word "feast" loosely; I pretty much mean a big pile of whatever-I-manage-to-throw-together) for the Groom-to-be.

Despite this loving effort that I will be making for my lucky man, I refuse to fall in to the consumer-trap of Valentines Day... For example, I don't intend to buy a £3 card for him, expressing my love in Hallmark's words. I have my own words, thank you very much, and as Jennifer Lopez (sorry, I mean J-Lo) once said, "my love don't cost a thing". I love the way you can always count on a big-bottomed Latino pop-star to share some profound words of wisdom. 

I also have no wish to splash out on indulgent chocolates. Encouraging over-eating of fatty foods less than six months before the big day is a serious no go. (Plus, we just spent the last eight days eating like absolute beasts on holiday). No fatties in the photos, that's my motto. Anyway, Sainsbury's have released heart-shaped cucumbers, which I'm hoping to get my hands on later today. Surely nothing says "I love you" like romantic veggies? 

As a Bride-to-be, I am clearly not an angry, cynical, anti-Valentines, evil hater-of-the-world. According to American writer Nicholas Sparks, "Love is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day" - I couldn't agree more. Today is like any other day: it is another 24-hours in which I have the extraordinary opportunity to tell those important people in my life - not just my Groom-to-be, but family and friends alike - how much I love them. 

Eugh. Okay. Enough. There's only so much sugar I can take in my daily cup of love. 

Friday, 4 February 2011

A not-so-fussy bride-to-be

Despite what I said in one of my previous posts on the danger of becoming a Bridezilla, I have to admit, I am actually quite a relaxed bride. The (first) wedding is in exactly six months, and yet, I don't feel particularly pressured or in a constant state of panic, nor am I too uptight to relinquish control to my parents (official wedding planners). Here are some of the un-fussy things that I am - if I do say so myself - quite proud of...

  • Wedding invitations - why should I care what they look like? I'm not going to be getting one. In fact, if it was up to me, I would email everyone the details (saves money and time); for those who are technologically retarded not so comfortable with computers and can't cope with e-invites, well, you can imagine how I feel about them. 
  • Beauty stuff - facials, face masks, manicures/pedicures, fake nails/eyelashes/etc... and anything else that brides like to do in the lead-up to the big day. No thank you. I cannot think of anything worse. My hands might not be super steady when I paint my nails - in fact, sometimes I shake like an electrocuted animal - but still, I think I'll manage. 
  • Guests - despite what I said in a previous post about struggling to agree on numbers, I have given in. So long as my nearest and dearest (you know who you are) are with me to celebrate, it's okay if my mum and dad are just dying to invite some randoms. And - silver lining and all - it does mean more presents (unless I get a toaster - what a rubbish present).

There are, however, a couple of things that I am still slightly less relaxed about... 

  • Cake - no, not the kind you eat. I mean the cake that is your face once a "professional make-up artist" has finished with you. I do not want my face to look a different colour to the rest of my body, nor do I want a whole load of junk on my face claiming to make me look "natural" (surely that comes naturally?)
  • Cake - yes, this time, I mean the kind that you eat. In particular, I want the little couple on top of the cake to be a true reflection of me and the Groom-to-be. That's right: I want a little brown lady and a little white man. They must make mixed-race wedding-cake-couples, right?!

Perhaps it's because I will very soon be lying on a beach, in the sun, sipping on a cocktail (virgin, of course) that I am so relaxed. 

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but let's see what complacency can do to a bride-to-be. 

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Henna horror

I remember my first experience of henna as a child. I remember looking down at my hands and feeling pretty damn special with my strange patterned hands. That is, however, until I tried to eat some biscuits the next morning (chocolate Bourbons, no less) and discovered that they (my hands, not the Bourbons) absolutely stank. It was a slightly disturbing realisation, since I couldn't get away from my hands - and, as an Indian, I eat everything with my hands (even, from time-to-time, things that really do require cutlery - I know, shame on me). 

Anyway, despite the distinct smell of henna, my appreciation of it continued to grow, and up until recently I was a pretty big fan of the stuff. Henna is a really important part of Indian weddings, and the bride is usually covered in the stuff (her hands and feet are anyway). It was always my favourite part of weddings, and at my sister's wedding I think I actually had more on than she did!

Last year, my henna-appreciation took a turn for the worse. I went to Morocco for a week and was enticed by the henna ladies in the big touristy square in Marrakech. Without realising what I was getting myself in to, I got my right hand and arm (almost all the way up until my elbow) covered in black henna. At the time, I didn't realise that there is no such thing as black henna (normal brown-red henna is natural, and black henna is just a harsh mix of toxins and poison). I was chuffed with my unusual body-art and couldn't wait to come back to England and show it off. On my return, however, I was met with nothing but terrified looks and words of concern from those who weren't as naive as me and knew what the coming days would bring. 

12 days later my arm erupted in to an angry red reaction. I felt like a mutant (and seriously, my arm did look totally disgusting and scary). It turns out that the key ingredient of black henna is a chemical called PPD, and this is what is used to dye hair, leather, etc. Under no circumstances should it be applied directly to the skin and left there for a few hours. It took a series of scary steroid creams and even scarier steroid tablets to calm the reaction down, and - a year on - I am left with a pretty permanent scar. I was, in some ways, quite lucky, as it can lead to liver failure. But I didn't feel it at the time. 

In addition to the physical scars, I also have some psychological ones. I am now a complete henna-phobe, and am dreading the day before the wedding when I have to let someone cover me in the stuff. Of course, I know that it will be natural henna and so, of course, there is no reason why I will react to it. But that's the point about phobias, right? They're irrational. 

In six months time, I will be sitting with my henna lady letting her paint those pretty patterns on my hands and feet. I truly hope that I don't lash out at her in fear (because then we'll probably have to pay her double). 

PS. If you were wondering about those Bourbons, worry not, I still managed to eat them. With a spoon. I know, this whole cutlery business is confusing. What can I say? I'm Indian. 

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Who said romance is dead?

DISCLAIMER: if you are romantically challenged/emotionally diabetic and unable to handle sweeter-than-sugar romance, beware...

I realise that in all this self-obsessed wedding talk, there is one crucial topic that I haven’t discussed: the proposal. Imagine being in Brittany, surrounded by beautiful landscapes, clear green-blue water and illuminating sunsets. Then imagine being guided through all of this natural beauty, to a small hill overlooking the sea, separated only by a cluster of rocks. Can you imagine this? Okay, good. Now imagine two hundred and fifty candles carefully placed on these rocks, arranged in the shape of a heart and forming the words “Meera will you marry me?”

Best. Proposal. Ever. (Not that I have any others to compare it to – this was, of course, my first). But seriously, this was like something out of the movies.

Unlike a movie, however, I was not following a script; so I didn’t know when I was being forced out of the house “to go for a walk” that I would be getting engaged within the next hour. I didn’t know, when I was walking up the hill, that it was completely inappropriate to continuously complain about the increasing accumulation of mud on my shiny white trainers – after all, I didn’t know what was there, waiting for me, at the bottom of the hill. I also didn’t know that when I woke up that morning I should have washed my hair and worn something at least vaguely attractive (we were on a surfing holiday; we were damp, sandy and smelly pretty much the whole time); how was I to know this would be the day that would change my life forever?

Nevertheless, it was perfect. The Groom-to-be successfully rendered me speechless (for those of you who know me, you will know that this isn’t easily done) by giving me the most beautiful diamond engagement ring and the promise of a lifetime of love, adventure and happiness.

And there we sat, on the hill, watching the waves crash against the shore.

(Until my mum called five minutes later to discuss the details of a family trip to Blackpool. Talk about killing the moment.)