Yes, I am still very much alive despite the weeks of hiatus. In the 3 odd weeks that has passed, I had been taken away by the chaos that is life. I spent one weekend teaching yoga classes in a rented community hall just at the lobby of my apartment and saw the biggest turn out in my teaching career so far – 14 people in one session. That, to me was by far the most fun I had teaching yoga so far.
Another weekend was spent running around town, picking up my tailored sarees just in time for the wedding of two dear friends whom I hold close to my heart. It was my first Indian wedding, and possibly the first wedding that I had been genuinely excited to attend and be part of. I got to be part of the family and walk the bride down the ‘aisle’ at her temple wedding and watch the priest that married off her parents, did the same to her and the groom. Way earlier before the whole procession started, I got to shop for my first saree, and had it tailor made to fit. When I realised I had more than one occasion to attend, I made another. I love these two piece of clothing with such novelty, that if I could frame them and hang it for all to see, I would.
I sat in the car with Nan, the bride, minutes before she will walk out of the bridal car, into the temple and officially tie the knot in a Ceylonese tradition. And I can tell you, she is the most chilled-out, relaxed, unfazed and unperturbed bride I have ever seen. Not that I have seen many in my lifetime, but I think there are not many out there who will be able to sing along to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” out loud and still make jokes just before she goes down the aisle.
During their reception, one of her favourite aunt described her as “chillax”, a word that Nan had coined and now has become very much part of her vocabulary.
I got to put my Olympus micro lens to good use as well, and was extremely happy with the result I got. Putting humility aside for a little while, I think I did about as good as a job as their hired photographer 🙂 Nan thinks I should pursue this photography thing seriously, and Z told me “fuck consulting, just go take photographs and teach yoga”.
Earlier in the year, while the both of them were down in town to kick start the wedding planning they had asked if I would give a speech at their reception. To which of course I said, yes! Can I read out loud a poem too? That was in March. On December 1, and 14 days before the reception, I decided that it’s about time I sit down and write out what I plan to say and maybe work on memorizing it too. And memorized it I did, reading it over out loud while alone in my apartment, and over and over again while driving in the car. Practice, in this case, makes perfect sense indeed. After the 5 minute speech, I had random guests coming up to me telling me I did a great job with the speech (phew!) and I especially recalled an old man that I saw from the temple wedding who came up to me and said
“What a wonderful speech you gave tonight. I can tell you, I have been to many many weddings, and your speech takes the prize”
Wow. I have no doubt that he has been to many, many, many weddings before. From this experience I learned, writing a speech straight from the heart is always the best way to go about it because when you eventually say those things out loud, the emotions that go behind each word is effortless and genuine.
I took an excerpt from one of my favorite poets, Kahlil Gibran from a poem he wrote as part of his written work called The Prophet. I decided to do this without having to Google ‘wedding poems’ despite it being (as I had found out much later) a very popular poem to be read at weddings. This was the portion which I read out loud for the beautiful bride and groom –
“…let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you (…)
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”
-Kahlil Gibran On Marriage