It was mid-afternoon in June. Schools were out for summer. My mom was diligently working on her sewing machine making Kurta paijama (Indian wedding suit) for the groom and my dad was in the garage decorating a white Fiat with red roses for the Baraat (wedding procession). A few neighbors were counting plates, cups and napkins, while others were serving tea and sweets to the guests. In midst of all this preparation, I was on cloud nine. Wearing a newly bought saree adorned with red and golden sequins and getting make up applied to my face, I felt like a queen.
I was 8 years old and the occasion was my son’s wedding.
Alright, a slight correction, it was my doll’s wedding. He was getting married to my best friend’s doll. I am not sure how a casual play date metamorphosed into a marriage proposal. Whether we were two bored out-of-our-mind, 8 year olds, trying to brighten up a summer afternoon or whether we were nudged by our dolls, Toy Story’s story-line style; all I remember was running home to share the brilliant idea with my parents.
Well, they decided to indulge in their daughter’s fantasy. So, after many drafts, the guest list was finalized and handwritten invites were sent out. Details of the dinner menu and ceremony were elaborately crafted. Also, my 13 year old brother, was bribed to partake in, what he sarcastically referred to as, a silly doll wedding.
The baraat left my house right after the daunting sun had set. The guests dancing to their heart’s content on the road, in front and along the beautifully decorated car. And there I was, sitting inside and alongside my son, who looked dapper in his white suit.
Our destination, my friend’s house, was too decorated with lights and flowers. All the wedding paraphernalia, from jaimal to vidai, teetering on the edge of craziness, were performed to perfection.
I remember feeling so grown up, so much in charge, and so out of the world ecstatic. It was pure magic.
It has been almost 25 some years since then.
A couple of years back, when visiting my parents’, I saw both the dolls nicely lined up at the top of the toy shelf, still holding the son and daughter-in-law status. Seeing that, I casually asked my parents to donate all the “old stuff”.
I had grown up. My memories had faded. The events of that day seemed rather juvenile and borderline embarrassing.
But not for my parents.
They continued to live the memories. Very recently, I heard them once again narrate the story. This time to a new generation of audience, my 6 year old daughter. That’s when I realized something which had completely escaped me – When my parents threw that lavish party, they didn’t care about it being embarrassing or appropriate. They didn’t care about the cost of arrangements or even the sultry summertime weather; all they cared about was to make their little girl’s imaginations come to life.
So while I grew up and the magic of the day somewhat faded, they held on to it, for it was a winning moment. Their reward – their daughter’s IMMENSELY LOVED childhood.
To that I say, thanks, mom dad. I will count myself lucky, if by your age, I too, am holding on to such wins; even if, they seem embarrassing to my kids!