Excerpts from my life

When Old is Truly Gold- Part II

My happiness has no bounds today. I just had a hearty meal in….in…in…. My Favorite Airlines! All those who have read my post When Old is truly Gold must have got it instantly. Yes. I am back into Air India. Woohoooo

I can not explain how excited I have been since the past few days awaiting this trip. The huge flights, the amazing staff, smooth landing on and flight off the runway… The thing about Indian Airlines. It is here. Never have I felt the same whilst traveling with another airlines. 
My vis-à-vis with Indian Airlines this time started last night. I wanted to do web-checkin. Normally when I do web checkin with other airlines, they charge a bomb for window seats and some more Shellings for other seats. But that’s not the case here. Mommy knows best what to give you and for free! There was no option for me to select a seat. The moment I entered my details, I was given a window seat within a few clicks. Just like that! Conclusion: Good baby gets a good seat from momma


Pleased and eased, I was greeted by a very warm and casual staff at the airport. This is exactly what I love about them. A sense of ease. Just like home. They are like the bosses! They won’t bother to flatter you with plastic smiles and flamboyant English. I don’t know why, there is this air of depicting yourself uptown in the airport. But Air India has place for everyone. Even a shabby kid like me is welcomed with open arms. Every staff member I spoke to had a distinct accent. Thus, depicting a group carefully chosen from various parts of India. 
As was destined, the beauty at the check in counter was so glad that we belong to the same native place. The young passenger checking in before me was carrying luggage 1.5kg more than the permissible limit. The moment she kept her bag on the scale, everything stood still. She stared aghast. Was she going to be fined for every extra kilo? Will she try to reduce the luggage weight on the spot?
The beauty maintained the most calm and poised look, “Madam?” ..
-“madam!” , she startled the passenger out of her stillness, “ticket please??” 
Phew! What a relief. Nobody blinked a lid on a the extra luggage.

 I started conversing with the woman in my local language and it was as if we were sisters meeting after ages.
– What are you doing here (in this alien land)? 

– I am studying. (I never say I am married and am making a home. Because that is not what I am “doing”. I am and will always remain a student in-sha-allah)

where do you live here. Where exactly is your home. Blah blah blah blah ..lot of  gupshup and chitchat. 

It was a heart warming conversation. So much that she forgot to hand me the hand baggage tags. No problem! The madam at the security check-in passed my bag anyway. It was I who went back and told the madam to please tie and stamp a tag so that I do not face issues whilst boarding. 
She gave the “huh. You know nothing” look and casually punched the stamp not giving a damn thereafter. 
She was right. Her eyes told me back then. Nobody actually checked the cabin bag tags whilst boarding. So not having them wouldn’t be a deal I guess. Silly me. I was carrying the pressures of other baby-trying-to-be-boss airlines. Where I would’ve had to run back to the check-in counter and got the tags and go through the entire security check process again if my handbag wasn’t stamped. But, as I said, boss can be only one. .
I asked a bro the way to my allotted gate. My flight departs from the international terminal. It is a hugeeeeee airport. The number of times I got lost, any person observing me would probably view me as a black pug wandering to and fro all around the airport. I think this bro figured out that I was entering the wrong gate the hundredth time. He came running from behind Bhag Milkha Bhag style screaming “Maaaaa’am..maaa’aaaam…this wayyyyyy…. “. Phew. May Allah Bless him and guide him for being so kind. I was exhausted of walking into the wrong places. 
Things went perfect so far Alhamdulillah. The bright red flight. The homely staff. Spacious and big seats. Superb free meals.
But wait. Something was missing. Something had changed since my last visit. Where are the oldies? My eyes carefully scan through the staff members. The average age group seemed to be 30s. That is a good herd no doubt. But that grace of oldies was missing. 
They are polite, courteous, beautiful and gorgeous in every sense. But then poise, confidence and X-factor.
 I’ll give you an example. The gentleman beside me was having a hard time managing the western breakfast. He left the bread and tea. You remember that AI aunty asking me pack the bread and keep it with me last time? How she came to check I was not eating. This time, the youngy just picked up his platter and took it away. So much food wasted. Sigh.

 I miss you aunty. There was no second serving of tea. There was tea bags. Sigh. 
Just as I am typing this, I see an aged air hostess. Oh my God. Made my day. Some of them are still there. Yayyyyy… Oh that gracful dressing and that demeanor. That dignity and command. I am totally a fan. Bowled!  I wonder how Air India hires its staff. Does it have a device to measure kind heartedness? 

 I guess change has to come. I will wait for this young batch to grow old in sha Allah. So that they accumulate hoards of experience and x-factor. So that once again I witness the best hosting ever. 

Keeping up with the tradition, the flight started a few minutes late. As I write this, the flight slants 45 degrees and royally glides through the clouds, marking its grandeur. You can feel each time it tilts. 
The take off, then flight and the landing are suggestive of experienced hands in the cockpit. And once again, I shall depart as a happy guest.
Humein vishwas hai ki bhavishya me aap humein first sewa ka avsar denge. Thank you. Jai Hind. (We trust that you’ll allow us to serve you again in future. Thank you. Hail India)
That’s how they conclude the flight. 
If I could afford you every time, I wouldn’t even shed a glance at any of your counterparts. End quote. 

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Excerpts from my life

The Vain Muslim Wedding-3

​Comes the wedding day. Sleep deprived me is in full mood to dodge the wedding party and catch a nap. Sigh! but that was against the decree of Allah. No corner I found could remain away from the mystic touch of chattering crowd. My ears obviously would flap wide open whenever someone commented on matters regarding Islam. The groom was dressed, his hair oiled and perfumed. The amusing part is Muslims here believe in doing everything auspicious facing the Kiblah. Let me give away the happenings now..

1. Great Food: No denying this. Food is superb. It was however sad that I had a hard time eating all the gravy and masala and chat from under my niqab due to the presence of males all around. At the end of the festivities, a lot of it goes wasted. The surprising thing was when some poor relatives expressed interest to take some food back home, they were denied. A day later, it was in news that lots and lots of food was wasted and thrown.
Another amazing thing I witnessed for the first time was food stealing in the wedding party. Hoards of sheermal (delicious Indian bread) were sneaked in and locked by some relatives, creating a shortage whilst serving the guests.  No wonder so many people were astonished seeing one on my plate! 😀 Yeah I managed to get one of those last pieces served. 

2. Nikah Rules Crashed: women gathered into a room for the nikah to be conducted. Phew. Finally that one moment where I could remove my niqab and flash my make up a bit. 

No no no. What I forgot was that it was the best opportunity for the Romeos to catch a view of all beautiful ladies at one go! So we had Romeos peeping in one after another and Juliet’s blushing or acting to ‘not care’ .. Blah blah blah burrrrrrrrrrrr

Soon the bride accepted the groom as her husband. And there was a group crying session. They cried and cried and cried. 

This moment amuses me every time. In the excitement of getting married, I forgot to cry at my wedding. :-/  Till date when I witness the brides weeping, I try hard to grasp the emotion but I am only left gawking 

Then I was waiting for the khutba…but….. There was none that I could hear. Husband says, nikah khutba was merely a formality of few things uttered and nobody paying attention. Nobody bothered about putting up speakers for the audience and women to listen to the khutba. 

The bride is then taken to dress up. Yeah, they get married in one costume. Cry and ruin that make up and costume. Then they change for the final look. So the $1000 (Rs. 65,000 approx) wedding gown is just tossed off after 30minuted of use. And to shop for it, we waste approximately 746373hours. [Warning: serious exaggerations!]

3) Dwaar chikhai– so I was boggled when I was stopped at the door after we went back home. I was clueless. A random me asked what the matter was

-“there is a ritual left. Dwar chikai” , says the groom’s sister

-” what’s that? “, clueless super innocent me

-” you don’t even know what dwar chikai is?” , sharp taunt from irritating aunty. As if not knowing dwar chikai disqualifies me to set my foot on this piece of earth.

-“it’s not even an Islamic ritual :-O”, bang on reply.  

The stupidest thing she went to do after this is to complain to my mom in law. 

-“your daughter in law says dwar chikai is shirk ”

-“it’s not shirk. It’s biddah”, I prompt from behind

*smug* *smug*

-“haan haan she is right “, says my ever supporting mom in law

Haha. We giver her the “loser” look and annoying aunty shies away from yet another failed attempt. 

So the groom is basically stopped at the doorstep and denied entry or privacy with his wife unless he pays some money. 

So what was all the fuss about? Grrrrrrrr

4) Joota churai : Grooms shoes are stolen by bride’s sister and he must pay a price ten times its market price to get it back. Bride’s sister/ bridesmaids laugh and tease the groom. Groom’s brother/groomservants tease them back by refusing to pay. Finally groom obliges and increases the cost price of those shoes by thousands.

5) A beautiful bride: You see none like them. Hearts skip a beat to witness their beauty. Even of the male audience as they come to click pics and view the brides sitting on the stage. Decked up and gorgeous. The bride now adorns sindoor (auspicious religious red powder to signify marital status of women in Hinduism) and bindi (red dot on forehead denoting the same). 

Finally after being on stage for 2-3hrs, the bride has to be deported to her marital home. Therefore, she wears her seventh dress of the evening. She is covered in an abaya customarily, which is soon taken off when she sits in the car. They cry a lot again and I scratch my head wondering why. 😀 I am being mean I guess. 

The vain wedding is followed by a month of controversies and disputes. Many are still finding out flaws in the much extravagant wedding. Pointing out shortcomings in gradeur or royal treatment of guests. Arguing over how they felt humiliated when XYZ said so and so ..or when the bride’s mother did not do so and so for her. The villains are investigated by the Sherlock Holmes of the family who knew the realty of ABC since ever but found this an appropriate moment to unleash their reality. We also get intimations of who said what about us and how much the informer loves us for having informed us (though said nothing in our defence on the spot)..and the saga goes on and on and on…..

Phew..

Jazakallah khair for being my patient reader. May Allah reward you

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Excerpts from my life

The Vain Muslim Wedding-2

The benefit of observing purdah was that nobody expected any help in the chores from me. The chores required roaming around the place and Therefore, amidst the chaos, I could stick to an isolated corner of the house and write this

My companions kept changing. Each came and left for some work soon after. But I stayed there without being tagged the useless vain bahu (daughter in law). 

Here come more facts and features of the Vain Muslim Wedding:

1) The Deen Discussions- Everyone gets the opportunity to explore the  ulama in them. So we get to hear innumerable fatwas and rulings Like keeping  hing (asafetida) in a paper with the bride and family to keep them safe in journey, reciting all five kalimas before nikah, piercing nose is fardh for married women, drinking water the sunnah way gives you reward of 100 martyrs, congregational duas being sunnah and of course various situation where it is “Okay” to remove niqab . 

2) Cramped spaces: This is all about crowded places and messy floors. The house becomes a mess due to the two person per square feet population density. There is water, paper, wrappers, shoes, dropped food and many stamped crushed somethings on the floor. I have spent hours searching for a clean 5*2 sq feet space inaccessible by males for ten minutes so that I could comfortably offer my Salah. 

3) Sleep deprivation: There is no fun when you’re sleep deprived. Period. The functions went on until 1:30-2:00am. You crawl in the morning to make it for fajr (only to find the entire household sleeping due to hangover after partying hard). Just as you get a little sleep, the commotion starts. People start roaming around the house for morning walks, thereby entering each room and checking out if anyone is available for the day’s talking session start. Sometimes there will also be an old auntys group coming in and hanging out in the room for a chit chat in trembling loud voices to comfortably hear each other. There is no sleeping after that. People people people people people people people people people people people people people people people people people people people people people people

4) The day before wedding– it starts with Qur’an Khawni. People are hired to read Quran in your home within 15minutes and get done with it. You gotta fit Allah somewhere dude. So just squeeze time out for it.Family and guests are here and there “acting busy”

Then we have more important stuff like haldi cum sangeet (Music ceremony). We get a DJ and shake that leg of yours babe! There is mehendi (applying turmeric on the bride) and we have cameramen to record it too. 

Gifts for the bride and groom is exotically spread on display and everyone is informed to come and view. There are heaps of gold & diamond jewelery, shoes, accessories, clothes etc. I dont even remember what that ritual was called. 

Rest of the day was all about being bothered about food and dodging the eyes of men.

5)Food- That is everything women in the household do. I don’t know why managing food takes a caterer as well as 50 men in the marriage venue and 50 women at home. The day would begin with people scrambling for a cup of tea and biscuits. Next, chaos would start for where the breakfast was. People would spend hours to figure out whether to have it in the wedding venue or whether to import it at home. Some would leave while others would choose to be at home because going to venue would mean getting dressed up. 

Thus, for them breakfast would finally arrive at 1pm. Lunch would arrive post 4pm. The food is always royal but until dinner evryome would have lost appetite. 

Third day into the ceremony and everyone had given up. 90% did not have supper. Many piled it on plates out of greed and couldn’t swallow beyond few morsels. 

Result? Overused washrooms and some unpleasant odour in the air. 😀 *chuckles*
I cannot believe the post has gone to be so long and I am still not done with my critical analysis. We will follow up with a third part.
By the way, I feel so cheesy to have written “The Wedding Saga” series. I read that a few days back and couldn’t stop gawking at how mushy I was to write that. I wanted to delete it out of embarrassement or redo the framing. Ones who read it deserve an apology. 

Come back for part 3! 

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