Sunday, July 19, 2015

Confessions of a Newly Wed: The Love Charm

My obsession with charm bracelets began as a child when I pleaded grandma to let me have her ancient silver bracelet. It had little boats, keys, bags, the works - and once she let me have it, I wore it everyday. 
Being rather old and brittle, it broke way too often, and I fixed it each time with my own hands. Until one day mum decided it had run its time - and I never saw it again.

Cut to adulthood when my manager for a project I was a part of for LSE turned up with a silver bracelet that had some gorgeous movable charms. The turquoise bead really stood out of the lot, but I never mustered the courage to ask her where it was from. Now I know, I was in love with Pandora bracelets, even before I even knew it.

4 years later I married and moved to Dubai, where the HR manager turned up one day wearing one. She said it was from Pandora and that I could find it at any shopping mall. Heck, even my sister in law has one -they're just everywhere!

But you know what, they're way too expensive, so the thought was duly put aside.

Recently, when we were at Mirdif City Center for an event, we passed by Pandora giving it a side glance as usual. Suddenly the husband said it was high time I had one. 

"No kidding! C'mon in, lets buy one of those." I explained the expense and the huge dent on the budget, and he said we would amortize it in the months to come. 

Well, that day I learnt one thing -you can't argue with a Finance guy.

The girl behind the counter asked me enthusiastically, while I still stared in disbelief - "So, what's the occasion?"
"There is no occasion" I said. "It's just my lucky day!" So that's the greatest thing about tim. He doesn't wait for an occasion to make things special. 

Love you Husain, and look forward to adding many, many more charms with you! ❤

Monday, February 2, 2015

Confessions of a Newly Wed - Anniversary Gifting Woes

It has been a year! Can you believe it? Well, neither can we.

A whole year of love, laughter, and learning has been completed, and we are having this reminiscing phase where we think about what we were doing at this time, one year ago! *no naughty thoughts please*

And with these beautiful memories of the smashing sangeet night and the dazzling reception, sits another dreaded thought in the center of my brain - THE ANNIVERSARY GIFT.
Tension levels have begun to go up as the date of the anniversary draws closer, and I slowly realize why so many couples give up on gifting each other, a few years into the marriage. 
Reason – Knowing each other too well.

So, when I finally decided its high time I zeroed-in on an anniversary gift for my sweetheart, a part of my brain ruefully kept thinking about how gifts were so simple back then during the engagement phase.
It was a long distance relationship and we got to know each other solely via social media and instant messaging. I knew his shirt size, and after a little stalking on Facebook I determined the colors and cuts he preferred. So, sending a shirt and cake would usually do the trick. Next occasion – T-shirt. Next occasion – wallet. Next occasion – perfume.
Shirt-Tshirt-wallet-perfume – repeat!
Sorry for my lack of imagination, but there really is not much you can gift your man when you have random family members delivering the gifts on your behalf. 

Cut to the present, when a simple act of gifting my man slowly manifests itself as rocket science. A dilemma between what I want to give v/s what he actually needs. I know he has too many shirts at the moment, he hates pink, his wallet is in perfect condition, he has enough perfumes to last him another year, and his count of watches can put anyone to shame after you incorporate all the wedding gifts. And fortunately or unfortunately, by the grace of God, there's no such wish that he always had, that hasn't still been fulfilled [that includes me as well]. 

So, what is it that I can gift him without burning a hole in our pockets?
OUR pockets, because we are now one unit - and every time we spend any humungous amount of money, we imagine ourselves snatching clothes from our crying unborn children! 

I'm not a big fan of extravagance for the sake of society, when I present him with something I'm sure he wont appreciate. So I'm going to settle for little everyday things that he would. Personalized handwritten notes, stick-its by the pillow telling him what I love about him, letting him sleep those extra 15 minutes he's always asked of me, getting the tea right for once, taking him to a place of calm and quiet where I can listen to his thoughts, instead of the 5 star hotel where the world expects me to be.

On this anniversary, I will correct wherever complacency has set in, and that also means sporting squeaky clean pubes and glowing face. Clean clothes, if not necessarily new - smelling just as fresh as I did when we first lay our eyes on each other.

- And when somebody asks me the cliched question, "What did you gift him on your anniversary?", instead of trying to explain the importance of little things, I'll simply say "Guess!".
And then, to nod over whatever they come up with - that way, every body is happy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Confessions Of A Newly-Wed: On Representing Another Brand

FINALLY the time has arrived. After almost a year, it is time to go back home at last!
[Insert: confusion as to whether it is Mumbai or Dubai should I now call 'home'. The husband once cutely pointed out how my 'home' should be with him -wherever he is, and not anywhere else and I'm pretty much still aww-ing over that.]

Without divulging too many details (its a planned surprise), let me just tell you, that the time is very soon, and I can't contain the excitement over meeting and greeting all those I left behind.

As much as I have missed them in the gone months - everytime I saw a new hypermarket and wished dad was here to see the sheer variety of just apples, or bought myself new clothes and thought of my little sister, or visited IKEA and wondered what mom would like for the house, or of my best friend whenever I saw make-up - I am equally thrilled about the idea of taking with me little tokens of Dubai for them, to give them a peek into my new world and lifestyle.

So, armed with a meticulously penned down list of who will like what, I have been allocating my weekends to fill my bags with big and small souvenirs. And among all this fun and hullaballoo, I learnt another lesson as a newly-wed.

Let me share that with you.

Being brought up in Mumbai and ingrained with the so-called 'Indian-ness', when I first came to Dubai, visits to the supermarket were horror stories. I felt tempted but never ended up buying anything because I'd have my calculator in hand and multiply each Dirham by 17, my eyes expanding with  shock to see how expensive everything was. I still have those lists I made of stuff to buy when I visit India, that include everything from face wash to jeans. I now laugh at them thinking how silly I was to think I could actually put off those purchases until the next time I flew down, simply because they were available in Mumbai at less than half the price.

Anyway, that's a different story, fodder for another post. Coming back to the souvenir shopping and lessons learnt.

Close to 11 months in Dubai, I am now fairly familiar with what to buy from where. [Did you know there is no concept of Maximum Retail Price here? This means that the same bag of chips can cost you different amounts of money - depending upon which supermarket you visit. Trust me, it's a lot of math. Especially when you're a bargain hunter like me - you usually end up visiting different marts for different things!]

I recently discovered a discount store in the heart of Dubai, where you can buy nearly all the items under the sun at India prices or less!
It was as though I was in paradise. You know that feeling, when you float between the aisles, throwing whatever you like into the cart without worrying about burning a hole in your pocket? Dolls, hair clips, make-up, clothes, knick-knacks for the home... it was a great mix and I was sure I hadn't missed out anything for anyone on my shopping list.

But there was a catch. Quality.

Anyway. I returned gleaming with the bags in my hand, and proudly tumbled them over for the husband to see. He simply smiled saying 'whatever makes you happy', without further comment.

Later during one of my good moods, in the midst of a jolly conversation, he decided to bring it up.
It was great that I had been thoughtful in picking something for everybody - items that they were likely to appreciate. Also, that I made a good deal of savings.

However, with the question mark on the quality - many of those purchases were not fit to be gifted, especially on my first visit back home. I had the reputation of Dubai to protect, and most of all - the family name to live up to.

And suddenly, no longer was I the daughter or friend, gone a galavanting on a shopping spree, and brought back sweet somethings for her folks. I was now a wife, a daughter in law and a representative of the Doriwala brand!

For the record, the Doriwalas are connoisseurs of quality and even on their worst days, you won't find them presenting another with something they themselves weren't convinced about.

So, here I am ready with a renewed shopping list (and a replenished bank account), back to square one with a renewed approach. When I go out this time, I will not just be Arwa, but Arwa Doriwala, and representing this new brand is a beautiful experience I hope each of you have!

Have any of you newly weds, or once newly weds had a 'representing another brand' experience? I'd love to read them in the comments below! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Confessions of a Newly Wed : On Being the Baby of the House

Hello dear readers, I'm back on the blog today after a long hiatus, with a determination to hit the publish button before I log off again.
So many posts lie incomplete as drafts, that it saddens me how many wonderful experiences I still have to share, just not enough time and patience to shape a post.

Soon after the last update, I landed a job in the new land - that of a content writer, and that partly explains why I'm vary of writing and updating my blog in my spare time. Nevertheless, here I am back to blogging, and I will share this sweet little experience with you today.

After having moved to Dubai from Mumbai, I now live with the husband and new family consisting of adorably supportive parents, and a shy but sweet brother-in-law.

During a recent conversation with the grandmother back home, she mentioned how she prays that the brother-in-law gets married soon. At least I'll have a 'companion' she said.

The grandmother probably had concerns over me being the only girl my age in the house, and with no real girl friends yet to speak of, it would be nice to have a peer - to share the work and naughty secrets.
To this wish, I laughed off saying, "Hell no! I'm happy to be the only pampered one!"

The conversation ended after a few minutes of face-palming and eye rolling by the granny, but I didn't regret what I said one bit. Let me explain.

A newly wed lady, in my opinion is pretty much like a new born.
In many Indian subcultures I know, women not only move over to their husband's home to start a new life, but also go to the extent of changing not just their surnames, but also their first names! They believe that, with marriage, a woman is reborn.

However, in my case, I have thankfully assumed the role of a daughter and sister they never had, and being a new addition to the family - I'm pretty much treated like a pampered new-born.

Of course, the role of a wife and daughter-in-law comes with expectations and responsibilities. But the advantage of being a newly-wed is that your mistakes are forgiven because, well,
1. You're new, and they're awkward.
2. You are probably still missing your home, and doing things the way you did them back there. And most importantly,
3. You're the baby of the house, and they still need to mould you into their lifestyle, and their way of doing things.

So, as a newly wed, you learn from scratch the new family, and are introduced to friends one by one. And just like a baby is at first reluctant with new acquaintances, you, too take your time and choose who to open up to.

You learn each persons tastes, their likes and dislikes, and how to talk. Some people will behave like old friends, even if they're your father's age, and there will be some who you simply cannot bullshit - although they're the same age as you are.

You learn how to walk (sometimes the hard way). Yes, I said walk.
Coming from a basic home with regular furniture, into a house with expensive showcases, it becomes important to mind your clumsy feet and careless hands. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that initially I would walk slowly around the house, avoiding corners and furniture for the fear of dropping something. I'm still obsessive about checking if I have turned off the light in the bathroom. I sometimes get nightmares about it, tip-toe while everyone's asleep, just to check if I made no mistake!

Yes, the baby learns how to take care of things, of feelings, of relationships.

In the last 9 months since marriage and the new home, I do realize that I have changed a lot from what I used to be. More responsible, more polite, more mindful.

Though there are still some rough edges that I aim to smooth -  but until the sister-in-law comes along, I'm loving every bit of being the baby of the house!

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