Monsoon, Mahabaleshwar and getting Married to an earthern pot

Dear Juice,

I have been missing in action for both right and wrong reasons in equal measure. But I’d be remiss to not write my usual update from an airport lounge, in this case (again) the very crappy Celebrations lounge in Bombay airport.

The right reasons were work and a week spent in India. The wrong reason was going a bit too crazy post-detox socializing with friends and coworkers and dates with men (ok, man) with potential.  Said man with potential turned out to a rude asshole and said date ought to be chronicled properly. Remind me to do that. Among the coworkers happens to be a particular coworker who I protest is “so not my type capslock plus exclamation point” but has been trying to get under my skin with his kind face and chivalry and attentiveness and did I mention kissing me out of the blue in a bar on tuesday at 3 am in front of 2 coworkers? More on that later. Remind me.
My week in India was mostly pleasant though I am highly displeased at the fact that I am heavily pregnant with a  food baby right now feeling rightfully lethargic on a diet of rice and opposite-of-self-control. I am fatter than ever and not really feeling upto par for the three challenges that lie ahead of me, in chronological order:
1. a date with wantonly kissing coworker
2. my birthday junk on saturday
3. being the maid of honor at casa’s wedding

Honestly, what do I do? Thankfully I have time for #3 and by time I mean two weeks (barring junk) of salads and exercise. I am going to need a new bikini for #2 and well, I am just going to have to quit my job and avoid  #1 completely. (Update: it won’t happen, he hasn’t asked again)

My week in India was mostly pleasant because we drove up to Mahabaleshwar, where I’d never been before, and stayed in  fantabulous suites in a lovely resort overlooking misty hills. I tried all the local specialties – the fenugreek laced bittersweet corn pakoras, the green chilli-spiked corn patties and the way-too-decadent strawberries and mulberries drowning in fresh cream. The resort’s buffet spreads, which I normally detest on principle, were amazing – God bless the chef and his fenugreek salads, fresh naans and best of all, hand-churned natural vanilla ice-cream and puranpolis. It was all too much so I just had to eat it all.

My week in India was mostly pleasant – I say mostly because I celebrated my birthday (my Hindu calendar star birthday) last Sunday by going out with the family on said evening to eat a huge Gujrati thaali at Samrat and by marrying an earthen pot during the day and then drowning said pot in Chowpatty beach (while getting righteously soaked in a crazy, sudden deluge) right before dinner. It was, I am sure you will agree my dear reader, ever so slightly overwhelming. Munch’s Scream comes to mind. I kept waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out of the bathroom and yell “You’ve been PUNK’D!”.

I don’t know who is to be blamed for the fantastically embarrassing situation I was put into – the fucking astrologers who can never seem to agree on what is wrong with my horoscope (answer: nothing ever was but as time goes by, new “defects” seem to be showing up) or my parents who at this point will probably drink pig’s blood or dance naked on an airport runway if someone told them that that is what it would take for my future husband to find me.

I am on the plane writing this while a spanking new sapphire ring adorns my middle finger (wait, is it meant to be the middle finger? fuck, I can’t remember) and that is because apparently sapphires will bring me a husband or my husband to me, whichever way you want to look at it. Even though my birthstone is the peridot (then again, let’s not get into the inherent logical deficiency of birthstones as a concept). I grimaced because I don’t think the ring is really my style nor do I believe in this fucking animal excrement. “Why?”, I whinged and my darling mother’s reply was “because we’re desperate”.

And a few months ago, I was forbidden to wear diamonds on a regular basis which pissed me off to no end because I wear little diamonds in some of my secondary ear-piercings and it is a right pain to find alternatives and I don’t want the holes to close up. Now new astrologer man (who was annoying and kept staring at me funny like he expected some hunchback of notre dame type spinster to show up and instead here I was looking relatively presentable) said I can wear diamonds. Umm make up your fucking minds, astrologer people!

But wait, I really need to go into this whole marrying a pot business. You see, this new defect has cropped up in my horoscope and by defect I mean yet another hypothesis on why this girl just won’t fucking get married already. It is the “two-marriages-defect”; again, not making this up, it is literally called “doh vivaah ka dosh”. Okay, let’s forget for a moment how completely made up that sounds. Why don’t we worry about that when I actually get married the first time? Did I mention that never in the first 27 years of my life, before my “big breakup”, had any astrologers ever mentioned any fucking horoscopic defects? My horoscope is getting worse with age, it is the astrological equivalent of a rotting animal carcass.

(Yes, the astrologers are vultures in this metaphor because I am bloody brilliant like that).

Now I must also clarify that I initially thought this was the regular Ayush-Omam (plain vanilla long life puja that is usually conducted on one’s birthday) but I should have known better after the avant garde shit my parents pulled on me when they made me fly to Cochin for a day to find our ancestral temple. And by finding ancestral temple, I mean traipse around barefoot around devi temples and indulge in devi pujas that will appease the Goddesses who will in turn bless me with a husband. I also met my father’s uncle and aunt, who were these lovely wise old people. The aunt couldn’t for the life of her understand why my dad would fly all of us to Cochin for a day in what seemed like a very desperate attempt to appease the Gods. She said and I quote “but things are going well for you, what wrong are you trying to right?” and my dad’s fantastic reply, pointing to me, was “well it’s her, she’s like …this… unmarried”. That’s great, dad. Fuck my fucking existence.

Cut to present day: Priest asks dad who our ancestral deity is and surprise fucking surprise, dad can’t remember.

Back to pot-ty matters: The priests asked who would sit through the rites and my dad, in classic clueless form, pointed to my brother. To which the priests retorted “Umm, no the one that needs to be married”. Oh, that would be me. The leper of the family.

And they kept saying Kumbh-Vivaah. Umm..Pot-wedding? Wait, no, it is my birthday! My birthday! Fine it is the fake Hindu Calendar nakshatra birthday that I don’t really believe in but it is also the fake Hindu Calendar nakshatra birthday that you, my dear family, harps on about. Birthday, not exorcise-demons-and-difusse-curses-and-make-your-child-marry-a-pot day! How dare you sully my birthday with this high-caliber bullshit!

Anywho, they got me married to a pot which represented Vishnu (I am down with that, I like Vishnu and Ganesh). I can’t quite find the right adjectives for the wedding ceremony. It was freakishly real? Beautiful in vacuum but disturbing because I was the bride? I almost felt like I left my body and was watched myself go through this ludicrous affair  The priests were Maharashtrians and did the whole thing of holding a curtain between me and err, my groom, then I had to put a garland around him and then make like he put one around me. The priests also wrapped the red/saffron thread around themselves, the pot and me to form a weird triangle. I felt like the old peepal tree in the village that the women wrap threads around (or wait, is that banyan? who cares).

There was even a mangalsutra. Gasp! and I mean that gasp; I literally felt a lump in my throat when I saw it.  This stupid cheap string of beads was mocking me and stripping me of all the romantic notions I had. It was not gold and diamonds and it was not going to be wrapped around my neck by a man I loved. No, it was a bullshit string of plastic beads from my new husband, a fucking pot. It was like low-carb pasta and polyester and cubic zirconia – cheap and cheapening. I did not want it around my neck. And maybe there is a God because the necklace was too small to go through my big head, so they just laid there by the pot.

And so we were wed. And I was glad it was all over. They told me I had to immerse/drown the pot and all the related paraphernalia. Like Ganpati Visarjan but for my new earthern husband (who is a non living thing, and is also Vishnu who usually does not get immersed, but hey the train left the logic station a long time ago).

Oh and flinging it off Vashi creek was not allowed, my mother asked. The irony of my mom pretending to be religious and then glibly asking questions like this is not lost on me. I secretly relished that she got drenched in the flash-deluge on Chowpatty Beach that night. She asked me to hurry up the immersion and I reminded her that I had to be gentle and not fling the pot into the raging ocean like an amateur javelin thrower.

For what it’s worth, the priests were fantastic, they conducted the rites thoroughly and most of the rites were beautiful to watch (except the part where I actually married the pot, no when that bit happened, I kept wishing the ground would open up and swallow me whole.) The priest was very kind and explained to me all the rituals (this we did to chase the ghosts away, that we did to appease Ganesha, this we did to seek pardon from our ancestors). Then he said that now I am ready for my “second” marriage.


P.S. I met lehmunade for dinner and drinks and yesterday and she said to me, “if it makes you feel any better, Aishwarya Rai had a similar dosh and had to marry a tree”. For the record, yes, it does make me feel better.


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