It was the November last year when Varun* proposed to me. We’d been together for almost two years by then and we’d had a few discussions about marriage too. He was always a step ahead of me in everything - from organising crazy surprises to buying me presents that I had been eyeing to planning trips to places I really loved. Through it all, I had decided that I was going to beat him in proposing marriage at least. I thought I would do it around my birthday in April, but this guy beat me to that too! He asked me and obviously I couldn’t refuse. We decided to get engaged within a month.
I wasn’t too fussy about what I was going to wear. It was always going to be a kanjivaram saree along with mom’s gold jewellery that I had my eyes on since I was a child. I didn’t want a lavish setup for the ceremony - I just wanted the company of some close friends and family when we made this joyous announcement.
This is where the drama started. Varun comes from a wealthy trading family who pay far too much attention to opulence. Any type of shine. From the decor to jewellery to clothes - everything needed to have an extra bit of sparkle. The guest list went from fifty to 150. The venue was changed multiple times. We had far too many arguments about it but I let it go thinking it was all going to be worth it in the end.
One day, his mom called me to just have a ‘chat’. I had met her a number of times earlier and we got along well. But now that we were going to become family, things were going to change. She asked me what I was going to wear to the engagement. And when I told her about my kanjivaram plan, she shrugged it off by saying, “Let’s go shopping. We would like to buy you something more elaborate to wear.” The standard dialogues followed: “Hamare mehmaan bahut dur dur se aa rahe hain. Hamare ghar ki bahu toh A1 lagni chahiye!” I mind just blanked out on the phone. What did she mean? It took me a while to calm down and after a long conversation with my Mum, she convinced me to go along and see. Maybe I will find something that I like after all. I didn’t want to fight so I went shopping with my going-to-be MIL.
At the shop, she kept picking up outfits that had way too much shiny embroidery and sequins, and I was not enjoying this, at all. I had a brainwave and told her that I have a great idea. A friend of mine could design something for me keeping all this in mind.
Once I convinced her, I got out of that sticky situation and went to my friendly, neighbourhood boutique and told the lady there to make something that was in sync with what both of us wanted. It turned out well. She made me a pretty, pastel pink lehenga with gotapatti motifs all over and a light dupatta and blouse. It was elegant and not OTT, yet made my MIL smile. She did appreciate that I wore something she wanted and the whole shaadi planning was a much smoother ride after that.
When the day arrived, I thought to myself, it’s always better to meet people midway. Everyone is different and their expectations are different. You need to figure out a way to honour those without losing out on your own beliefs! :)
PS: Provided the other person is meeting you midway too!
*Names changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Jun 21, 2016