Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New and interesting chapter

Last month or so has been the most interesting phase of my life. I have graduated beyond the bachelor stage to the uncle stage. I got married to Ruqaiya on 10th Dec at Hyderabad. This has opened a new chapter in my life. One of more responsibility and full of thrill. The journey so far has been interesting and I believe it will be even more interesting in the future.

The journey began with the ceremonies in Hyderabad. The Sanchak and Nikah in Hyderabad were both a fun experience. Everybody stayed in Taramati Baradari resort. Same place where we stayed during the engagement trip.

Sanchak was a family function on 9th Dec where the entire contingent from Bangalore was welcomed by the bride's family. It was a dress rehearsal for the big day on 10th. That day was in fact more interesting than the function in the evening. Earlier that day, the entire contingent from Bangalore reached Hyderabad. On reaching I caught cold and started sneezing and it was a big thig that the groom started sneezing. As if that was not enough, I had scheduled a bit of my shopping for that day in Hyderabad. I went out with Naseem to get my turban. The turban shopping was very interesting yet stressful as everybody back in the resort was worried.

Hyderabad was in a mess that day because of the Telangana issue. Anyway, I was back later that evening in time and the function went as per schedule. One lesson I learnt out of that experience is, not to leave anything for the last minute. Things might fall in place but the stress is just not worth it.

Nikah on 10th was the main event. The entire day was spent at the resort relaxing. Many relatives went out for shopping to the old city. It was strange that I din't feel nervous. Most of my married friends had warned me about the pre wedding jitters. The whole day went fine and the evening was a memorable one where Sakhib and Naseem helped me handle the attention and hype. It seamed as if the nature conspired towards making the day special. The Telangana issue also was mellowed down just the previous day, thanks to the home ministry temporarily aggreeing to their demands. All my friends in Hyderabad and those who came to Hyderabad to attend my big day came comfortably. The best part of the evening was seeing some of the close friends present at the wedding and going through the ritual in presense of family and friends. The wedding was the first Hyderabadi wedding for me and most of my family. It was an ocean of sherwani's, a rare sight in Bangalore. How can you talk of hyderabad and miss out on the biriyani. The biriyani was special.Not just the biriyani but the entire menu. My friend Afroze had told me about the "khatarnak" Hyderabadi craze for food. But one thing was different about my wedding, The entire function wound up by midnight. My Hyderabadi friends say it is one of a kind wedding. I guess this is Hyderabad meets Bangalore in the true sense.

I spent the next two days at Hyderabad with Ruqaiya and it was a new experience to share my personal space with someone. Marriage is an interesting experience, I would recomend every single person. Marriage has already taught me a thing or two about collective thinking. Hitherto it was missing in me.

I reached Bangalore on 12th night and the reception was scheduled on 13th. Dad picked me from the airport. Ruqaiya found her new hometown much greener. I always felt that Bangalore has lost its true greenery in the last ten years. But still is remains green for an outsider. She had her first taste of living away from her immediate family and everyday has been a new experience for her. It has been interesting to see her come out of her shell and connect pretty well with my side of the family.

The reception day on 13th was full of confusion to begin with. Everybody was back from a long journey and in my mind the wedding was over. But in reality this was the day my dad had spent so much time organizing while I had been busy with work. After all the confusion throughout the day it turned out to be a pretty good event. I felt really happy to meet my old coleagues and some friends whom I had not met for ages. Though it was great to see them I did not really have a chance to catch up. The food that night was really good for most. However the Hyderabad contingent felt it gave the Hyderabadi cuisine a good fight(but came a close second). It is nearly impossible to impress the Hyderabadi in terms of food. That is one lesson I learnt. The function unfolded with some really good singing by Omer bhaiya. He truly has a great voice to go with his awesome attitude. He kept us entertained through the night.

Overall the wedding experience was fun. The best part is that everybody was happy with the events and the new relationships that came along with it. For me the real life began at this point. Life seams much simpler as a singleton. Next phase of the journey began with our first holiday together in Malaysia.

Both of us flew to Malaysia on 16th Dec and reachec KL in the early hours of 17th Dec. Post fajr prayers in the surau in the airport we were off to Batu caves in the taxi provided by the travel agent. The drive was a beautiful one. It reminded me of of my Japan experience(only other overseas trip so far). Batu caves are a spot where there are some hindu temples built by the Tamil imigrants. It felt like going to Chennai from Bangalore via Kuala lumpur. We had our south Indian vegetarian breakfast in that complex in one of the restaurants and left to Genting Highlands. The cable car that took us on top of the Genting Highlands was fun. Especially since I left my cell phone inside the cablecar. Luckily, my handicam spotted the cablecar number and I could trace back my cell phone. The journey began with a mishap but luckily the situation came under control. Ruqaiya had the first taste of my lost and found habits.

While going to our hotel room Ruqaiya saw a Baskin Robins shop where she saw her favourite strawbery cheesecake flavour but did not buy it then as she felt very sleepy. We were then off to our hotel to catch up for the lost sleep. Next two days were an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city and we had a great time at the amusement park in Genting. However, we did not find the strawbery cheesecake ice cream again in Genting Highlands. Ruqaiya really loves this flavour and she felt angry for having missed it when it was available.

We reached KL on 19th by car provided by the same travel agent. It was a good drive and we stayed in KL at Citrus hotel. We were really lucky to have the best view of the twin towers from our room window. On 19th we took the monorail from Chow kit station to Bikut Bintang where we did some headscarf shopping for my family, followed by dinner at a Moroccan restaurant. It was a good outing where we got a taste of KL but could not find the strawberry cheesecake from Baskin robbins anywhere in KL.

Next day we went for the guided tour of KL city. It was a good tour. We went to the Pewter factory, Batik factory, National mosque, Chinese temple, Little India and ended the guided tour at the twin towers. The twin tower visit is one of a kind. It is so huge. I had seen Roppongi hills in Tokyo but this was really huge. We had a good time at the shopping complex in the twin towers. One thing that stands out of that experience is the mogrib prayers in the surau inside the petrona's. It was led by a yound North African guy who impressed everyone by his qirat. Both his voice and tajweed were exceptional. I would call it the best part of the KL trip. I don't remember having heard such beautiful recitation for a long time. We returned back to our hotel room after dinner at Burger king in the Petronas. That night twin towers looked class apart. Especially later at night when we saw the lights go off one by one.

We were off to Penang next morning by bus. We boarded the bus from old railway station. The country side looked very beautiful and the spot where the bus stopped in the middle for snacks was also so mich better than similar stops I have seen in India. Our country has lots of catching upto do on the infrastructure front.

At Penang we stayed at Grand Continental. The hotel was not that great but the area around the hotel was pretty good. We saw the previous tallest building of Malaysia pretty closely. The Comtar has some good shopping complexes and there is a new up coming mall behind the Penang times square. I bought a baseball cap there for myself. We again tried to look for Baskin Robbins but could not find it. We found out that there is a Baskin Robbins in Platicus mall in Penang but that was pretty far from where we were.

Next day we had a guided city tour when Danny Lee(our driver) took us around Penang to Batik factory, Fort Cornwallis and the botanical garden. The best shopping we did was at the Batik factory where we bought some silk scarves. Best part of the Penang experience was the street food and Desi food over there. I would recomend everyone to eat Nasi kanda at Kassim restaurant near brick kiln road. Overall, the Penang experience was good though the weather was really hot. Still the strawberry cheesecake evaded us and Ruqaiya was sulking about the fact that she missed it at Genting.

We were off to Langkawi next day early morning at 7 am by boat. The boat journey was a fun experience. On reaching Langkawi, I met my driver who would take me to the Aseania resort. I could locate a Baskin Robins right behind the driver at the Jetty station and that made Ruqaiya really happy. Like her purpose for the journey was fulfilled and she had her strawberry cheesecake, The ice cream flavour that she loved so much but never found during her stay in India.

On reaching Aseania resort, we found out that the rooms were still occupied and we have to come back around 3 pm to checkin. Ruqaiya and I went with the guide to watch the underwater world and had our lunch at an Indian restaurant right next to the Cenang beach. It was an expensive but great lunch. I had wanted to swim throughout the journey but for some reason did not find time when there was a pool and did not find a pool when there was time. The first day in Langkawi concluded with a good walk down the beach at Cenang beach and with a plan to return the next day for water sports.

Next day began late but we had planned to go for adventure sports. I had my swim in the pool while Ruqaiya got ready for the day at the beach. At the beach both of us enjoyed jet ski-ing and para gliding. Paragliding especially was a mindblowing experience. The instructor told us that if both of us go together, we will fly like a bird but fall like a coconut. Thats what happened, but in the process I lost my cap and Ruqaiya conquered her fear of hieghts. That day was the best part of the journey where we did something that involved adrenaline rush together.

This adventurous day was followed by a terrible complimentary dinner at the Aseania resort. The dinner was full of half cooked meat dishes. It put off Ruqaiya completely. I did not enjoy the dinner though found it edible. The dinner was followed by a long walk on the beach. It was a beautiful sight for me to walk with my life partner on a beach where there was a group of youngsters playing music. It was like being played for us.

We flew back the next day from Langkawi-KL-Bangalore. The journey was an unforgettable one but began a new chapter in my life. I am happy to start this journey with Ruqaiya as my life partner and looking forward to spend rest of my life with her.

PS: Now I am back at work updating my blog in free time. Have new challenges to conquer. Especially get back to work schedule with full flow. Even need to get back my lost fitness. I had 10 buffet breakfasts and a party almost every night. More on this in the next post.

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