I think this was around 5 years back. She quite nonchalantly mentioned him in a conversation and subsequently dragged me into her room when she was skyping and pointed at the screen and said ‘Say hi to Max. Max, this is my little cousin sister’.
When I grew up, she was this mysterious cousin in far away Bombay who occasionally came to Madras, ate nothing but boiled vegetables and was a singer. When I moved to Pune 5 years (almost!) ago, I made my way to Bombay for my first long weekend, she welcomed me home with the giant-est hug, and I haven’t left since.
She’s moved from Bombay since but she’s managed to make me feel like home everywhere she is. Be it in Bombay where I always sleep in her room, or the time in NYC where she took us out for dinner and then insisted I HAD to see her place. We walked in, she pointed out the guest room saying “that’s your room for when you come next time”, and she gave me two pairs of earrings when I left.
And that was that.
To a 22 year old trying to find her way around the north of the Vindhyas and trying to figure if advertising was her career, she counselled, guided and reminded me so many times that I didn’t need to change who I was to fit into an industry or a job. That I needed to do things so long as they worked for me, made sense to me, appealed to my principles and that if I ever felt faith slipping away, all I had to do was reach out to her.
And that I did. Multiple times.
There’s something about positive people. They have this incredible energy around them, they give you faith and hope in humanity, they reinstate it when it feels lost.
She’s inspired me in so many different ways. To love myself, to respect my brain, follow my heart and take care of my body by exercising and eating healthy. To be a kind person, to be calm and sensitive. To outrage for the things that mattered. To not be afraid to voice my opinions. To embrace storms that Bombay threw at me and get past them like a boss. To be confident, to be powerful, to see the beauty and art in all the little things around me.
Around 10 days ago, this beautiful person married her love, her best friend.
I’ve been to my share of weddings, and this easily tops as one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve attended. Yes, because of the gorgeous location, yes because of all the fun we had, yes, because of many things.
More than anything it was a wedding that celebrated Marriage. Friendship. Trust. Faith. Love. Family. Togetherness. Art.
It brought together people from across the globe. It brought together two paths of faith- not to pick one, but to blend both. Be it the kanyadaanam or the Hebrew prayers under a canopy that had pictures of their ancestors, the best of both brought together two of the best people I’ve known. Be it the honest vows that brought tears to everyone watching, the absolutely sparkling smiles, the loud guffaws through the ceremonies or quite simply a bride and groom who danced their way through their wedding, this was a celebration of all things beautiful.
And it was inclusive. It didn’t just bring the two of them together, it brought families, countries, faiths, hearts together.
And all of a sudden, the world became a gloriously small place.
As I watched my big sister and brother-in-law get married, I saw the many, many things she’s brought to my life in the last few years. The way she’s opened my mind up to so many incredible perspectives, merely by the stories she’s told me and the people I’ve met through her. The warmth and love they share, that brought together 150 people from across the world for one celebration here, in Bombay. The fighter spirit in her to stick to what she believes in, and to make it happen for everybody, happily. The ability to look beyond the ‘said and set’ mandates.
And quite simply, the happiness in just being.
Dachu and Max, thank you for reminding us of wonder and magic, love and hope.