It read like a regular engagement invite. Time, venue, directions, et al. And I had vaguely heard about their relationship. They had been introduced to each other on Twitter by a well-meaning friend. And it had been a long-distance relationship for the last few months. She and I bonded over words. He and I were acquaintances at best.
The sun and the clouds played hide and seek that afternoon. Alternating between powerful bouts of sunshine and a gentle soothing breeze. It was a small, intimate gathering (later I remarked to the husband that I was overwhelmed that they counted us among their closest set of friends). But both sets of parents were conspicuous by their absence. A fact that nagged me the entire time.
When the couple took centre stage, after a flurry of photographs, both candid and posed, it was refreshing to see just the two of them. Standing next to each other. Alone, but together. Just like their days to come would be. One for the other. There were some awkward pauses with the microphone in hand. But they led each other by instinct. Conviction. And hope.
They exchanged rings with wide smiles on their faces. They showed off the rings like they had been rehearsing for that very moment all their lives. And they let the emotions flow. She spoke of how “normal” her fiancé is, perhaps his most endearing trait. And he acknowledged her planning skills. They sang for each other, full-throated. Oblivious that they had an audience. And both reiterated that the simplicity, intimacy and informality was a conscious decision.
It was a brave, bold thing to do. I had dreamt of an engagement ceremony just like this. But I had lacked the conviction and strength to push for it. And that Saturday afternoon showed me what I had missed. It was a subtle reminder of what I should have stood up for.
I left the venue feeling bittersweet. In awe of their courage. And a little disappointed by the lack of my own. But I knew that change was on its way. In the tiny leaps of faith, I saw that afternoon.
About 10 days ago, the mother requested me to send her an old phone of mine via courier. Hers was about to conk off and she needed a replacement urgently. She uttered the word, “courier” and then corrected herself in an instant. “How about we try to find someone travelling from Bangalore to Bombay, via Twitter?” she asked. I offered to ask around and let her know.
Ten minutes later, I sent out a tweet to the universe requesting help. And the RTs came pouring in (64, at last count)! Soon I was flooded with DMs offering help, replete with travel dates, details of where I need to drop it off and the location the folks would need to collect it from. I just had to make a choice. Mostly the location in Bombay was being a bit of a bother. But not one person declined.
One kind soul asked me, “How will you assess if the person is trustworthy? Conduct an online background check?” I replied, “Faith! It’s either that or having to rely on a courier agency. He agreed with me.
We did the round of some courier agencies as well. But were a little reluctant to use their services. So we decided to wait it out. For someone who was travelling to Bombay, and in an area close to home, to make it easier for the parents to collect the phone.
I sent out a prayer to the universe and forgot all about it. At least pretended to. And then landed a DM in the inbox, referencing a location just a 10 minute walk away from home. That sealed it! I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
He offered to play courier and a little over 24 hours later, the phone was home.
That night, I went to bed extremely grateful and content with the world. My hostility with the world could rest a bit!
Speaketh a father’s wisdom.
Until a few years ago, on most weekdays after we’ve dined and shut the kitchen for the day, we made a dash for the telly in the bedroom. There would be the customary fight for the cushions and pillows but with a prior unspoken arrangement between us, we always settled down in our pre-designated spots.
Over the years, the telly got relegated into the background and gadgets ensconced themselves in our lives. We now plonk ourselves in the armchairs in the living room, each with a separate gadget, catching up on the happenings of the day and the latest tweets. We only look up from our screens to share some humor from our timelines or relate funny anecdotes or stories. Everything else hampers reading and is, therefore, an intrusion. And the mother threatens to wear ear plugs or leave the room.
Last week, on one such cozy evening, I learnt via my Twitter timeline that three of the five suspects accused in the horrific Delhi gang rape case would plead “not guilty” to all the charges. I felt disgusted, betrayed and let down. I yelled out the contents of the tweet to the folks. The mother was taken aback too but she kept quiet; the father remained unfazed….Continue reading
*First published on Parentous.
She shielded herself from the newspapers, the television and Twitter. She was seething but felt highly inadequate. Mere rage was not enough. She itched to be brave, to shirk off her cozy existence and take to the streets like her counterparts in the capital had done. But she also knew that courage counted for nothing.
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