It’s very strange blogging from home when your daily viewership includes two people from your household – they’ve seen your day already. What more can you offer them?
I hate missing days of blogging. But what to do.
Today, I attended a portion of a Punjabi wedding – of someone I am incredibly close to, in a very unique way.
Ever since I have been a child, my trips to Pune have been a source of constant joy and relaxation. If Bangalore was all about meeting relatives and going out in the rain, Pune represented staying at home without internet connection, but a television, my grandparents, and home food. I don’t do too much in the city, and while that is sometimes sad – in terms of how much I like to explore, Pune gives me an opportunity to lie low, to rest myself and refresh.
As a child, I spent the whole day in front of the television, or playing: Chess, Football, Cricket. I learnt how to write Hindi, speak a little bit. I understood a little more about Hinduism, and learnt to recite portions of the Bhagavad Gita – one of my biggest achievements to date.
Pune has been the city of sleep. In a semester where I’ve lacked that, I’ve found myself sleeping during the day, generally lying down, and trying to take time away from work & the Internet. And it’s paid off in great ways.
But what Pune has also been for me, is an opportunity to understand my paternal side a lot better. You see, my dad hails from Pune. Though we’re proper Kannadigas, he spent a large portion of his childhood in his city. By flipping through old photo albums that my grandmother has preserved carefully, listening to old cassettes, interacting with my Chickappa, and speaking to my grandfather, I gain irreplaceable knowledge about my genes and my traits. And that’s very gratifying.
My dad grew up in the NDA, in Khadakwasala, where my grandfather was a Physics lecturer. When he tells me stories about his youth, there is a twinkle in his eyes as he speaks of NDA, it’s small bakery, it’s sense of community, and the general sense of raison d’etre being a part of the place gave you.
It’s also where a strong network was forged, and we have family friends who have passed through three generations of growing up together. I consider two girls as my sisters – spending time with them each summer, and asking questions about life in Pune – how different it was to my life in Dubai, and then to my life in Bengaluru. I have a lot of memories from their house – including the best chole I have eaten till date. A lot of my memories though, are from how we’ve teased each other over the years, and generally how I’ve picked up a lot of what I know about India from them. This despite the fact that there is radio silence (well, almost), when I’m not in Pune.
It’s one of those great things.
Therefore, to see my elder sister getting married was a natural surprise, and a pleasant one. My mother had joked about her wedding a few trips ago, and we had laughed about it, but the day has come. Sooner than I thought it would.
The wedding itself was so nice to see. It’s the first time I’m understanding Punjabi culture. It seems so much more relaxed than the chaos Kannadiga marriages are – though they are equally beautiful traditions. And it also appears to adopt Western practices. Or maybe that’s just this one. With a ring ceremony and everything. Rather romantic, I say.
That, in a country that has some weird form of societal ban on public displays of affection of every kind, is pretty awesome.
I’m looking forward to learning more about it. Mostly because I’m intrigued by culture, but also because it reminds me of the beauty of India and the diversity of living in this nation. You’ll never stop learning – about cities, people, and the stories that arise out of their interrelationship.
One of my favourite poems is “Where I Come From“, by Elizabeth Brewster – and that’s something India teaches me daily. I have chided this country in the past, largely owing to my privileged NRI childhood. But I’m glad I’ve appreciated home a little more. Despite murky waters and challenging times politically, we’ll trudge forward somehow. I have hope.
On that note, I should sleep.