Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Marriages are fun! But when it is yours...It is all the more fun mixed with some confusion and tension. Mine was similar...After almost knowing the guy for five and half years we finally decided to tie the knot in the auspicious month of December. Since my whole family lived in the US of A all our friends took over to help us with all the wedding preparations in Chennai, India. Thameem and Kumar Uncle along with others totally finished most of the work before I landed in Chennai on Nov. 25th morning.

I want to write a concise journal of my trip to Chennai, Bombay and back which also includes my Wedding and Receptions and I hope to provide some helpful information to future brides.

November 25th, 12.00am at Mumbai Airport:
Girish and I land in Mumbai and clear through immigration and wait for our baggage while a Northwest Rep comes to us with our names written on a board. I pray that they have not lost any of our bags and he assures me of the same. The handsome rep informs us that Northwest Airlines has arranged for lounge stay and dinner privileges at a five star hotel for the night till my connecting flight to Chennai and they were also extending it to Girish as he was with me. Happy, we walk through the customs and get stopped to have our bags checked. Nothing found we continue to proceed and check-in my luggage in Jet Airways before we get our cab ride to the hotel.

The lady at the Jet Airways counter confuses me. She is not sure where the cab will pick me and she tells me that Northwest does not provide any such privileges and I should go to the domestic terminal alone. Panicking I run to Girish and ask him to leave and that I will leave to the domestic terminal alone in the airport bus. Girish leaves and I now walk back to alight the bus and I realize after talking to another representative that there was some confusion and that a cab was waiting for me outside, the same place where I said bye to Girish. I walk out and see a whole bunch of people staring at me...First time after five and half years I see so many Indians at one time (I saw almost 10,000 at Dandia night but they were mostly ABCD's). I was scared and I was not sure if I should just take the airport bus to the domestic terminal and forget my five star privileges. Thankfully I get dropped at the hotel where I make a friend who is also on her way to Chennai and spend the rest of the night trying to fight sleep at the hotel.

I get on my Jet Airways flight to Chennai which gets delayed for over an hour due to a sick patient on board. I am tired but unable to sleep as a result of excitement. I have to mention here that the hospitality in Jet Airways is probably the best I have been meted with so far.
Well mannered and extremely friendly Airhostess, clean interiors, and great food make the journey a very pleasant one.

The flight takes off from Mumbai airport and I am in for shock...As I see not the Arabian Sea but a Sea of slums in front of me which then get lost between the low lying dense smog! Finally the plane goes over the sea and off towards Chennai.

As the airplane began its descent all I could see was not the farm lands but only giant puddles everywhere...For a second I thought I was in Minneapolis. The outer low lying areas all seemed to have been flooded by the incessant monsoon rains that thrashed the south over the past couple of months. But I felt good, I was home.

Thameem came to pick me up at the airport and I decided that I will not sleep for the rest of the day to avoid jet lag and get used to the IST. We stopped by at the hotel where I was going to spend the night with my parents (which was also the hotel where I eventually got married at) before leaving for Velachery where Thameem stayed. We picked up Priya dropped her off at Central Station and en-route I slept like a baby in the car.

I wore my seat belt and shrieked every time someone came 2 inches away from the car. I found fault with so many things that by the end of the day I could have written a 10 page essay on how things should be changed to compare to the US of A. All the while Thameem just smiled and said, "you will get used to it and start ignoring them in a couple of days." Which is what happened eventually.

And so the day ended with me sleeping like a baby till 12.30am on Nov. 26th...

Continued in my next posting...

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