"Walk like a girl, my child, how will you ever find a husband?" my sweet grandmother often asked me this question when I was a teenager.
Whenever I was asked to fetch a glass of water, or run any errands around the house, I did just that. I ran. I thought I was walking; apparently not!
Luckily, Beji, my grandmother, lived to see me wed my husband! Phew!
On my wedding day, the photographer kept hissing under his breath, 'Don't smile so much, look shy, like a bride.'
I wasn't planning to listen to him. I was bursting with joy and I was going to show it.
At the time of 'Vidaai' (this is when the bride leaves her father's house), tradition dictates that the bride should holler and sob. The minimum requirement to qualify as a demure Indian bride is to shed a few tears, at least, and look like you mean it. It didn't happen to me. Not a tear was in sight. I was just so thrilled to be his wife, I couldn't stop grinning. The photographer must have blamed his karma for getting this assignment. He had to resort to videoing my back while I was hugging my grandmother, who was crying, of course. Job done! Tears at vidaai- tick.
Thanks to the heavy saree I was wearing, I was forced to take tiny steps, so at least I walked like a bride. If I had my way, I would've loved to skip to the mandap.
My friends from work are familiar with my gait. It's fast, purposeful, open-chested and similar to the mawaalis' (goons') you see in films. I'd describe it as Bindaas Badshah Chaal (BBC for short). In other words, it's carefree with a hint of cocky, and not at all ladylike. The tea boys at work had a nickname for me; some villainous female character from a popular TV show. I had no idea who she was because my Indian TV viewing is rather limited, but they told me I reminded them of her. I tried not to take offence in the spirit of keeping them entertained while they made awesome cups of karak (tea) to keep us all energized.
The long and the short of it is that I always scrunched up a generous portion of my abaya fabric (the long black garment I had to wear to work) in my left hand so that I could hoist it about six inches above ground, to march down corridors, right hand swinging to the beat of my gait. This is NOT what abayas are designed for. They are designed to make the wearer glide, take dreamlike steps gracefully, like a lady.
Baadhh kahaan aayee hai aaj?
"Where is it flooding today?" A cheeky colleague of mine often asked me whenever he spotted me whizzing past in my black abaya.
I like walking fast. Strangely, slowing down tires me. Brisker the better. I feel reborn after a long walk at a good pace. A lot of my writing ideas take shape while I'm walking. Walks are my go to therapy when I'm feeling out of sorts. Walks clear my head and soothe my heart when I'm feeling ruffled.
However, my walking style changes dramatically when I'm with my camera, especially when I'm exploring a new place. Then it goes like this: Stop. Click. Stop. Click. Ponder. Click. Drive the family NUTS! Click. Ignore their huffing and puffing. Click.
My recent trip to Budapest was no exception. We walked and we walked. It was delightful--for all of us--really:) Are you ready for a tour?
Hop on and enjoy the walls of Budapest with me:
An eclectic mix of posters and signs,
a few murals
anything else that caught my eye...
I think this says A to Z:
Please correct me if I'm wrong.