The few days after the wedding was a mad rush trying to show my family around as many places in Amritsar as we could as well as relatives constantly calling wanting my family to eat at their houses! I had promised Jaskaran we would come to his farm so we did that one day and went on a tractor ride, ate pakoras & drank tea, I was happy we managed to fit in visiting their house as I have spent a lot of time there in the last year and it’s like my second home, and they had been looking forward to my family arriving all year (nothing much else happens there!) !
After my family went back to Perth we had 5 days until our honeymoon, I thought this will be good I can have a few days to relax and pack my things and then we are off.
Well once again I was wrong!
After we dropped my family at the airport it began, his mum was calling constantly asking us to come to their house in Jhanjoti . After the wedding things changed, mummy realised this now meant I am probably going home soon to Australia and became VERY CLINGY. Also traditionally after marriage the bride is supposed to move into the grooms house on the wedding night, and so mummy wanted me at Jhanjoti at all times, I slept there one night and the next day said to happy ok I’m ready to go home now… His response was “ok we will just have tea first, hours later I gave him a look and he said ….”mum wants us to stay for dinner” …. Then “it’s late now we will go home tomorrow”………RAGE
My response “no no no I am going home NOW I didn’t even bring any clothes with me!” We went home and the next morning at 9am the phone was ringing “are you coming back now I have made her breakfast jam toast we made her western food!!” Oh my god! His mum also wanted us to go around with them visiting all relatives that attended the wedding and taking them a box of sweets, it’s traditional to visit as “the newlyweds”, but I was thinking hello we only just gave them a box of sweets with the invite 2 weeks before!!!! It took so much time there’s no quickly drop in and leave, each house we spent HOURS drinking endless cups of tea & eating pakoras & sweets and them chatting away and me staring into space not understanding what was being said.
I just wanted one day of rest alone after such a stressful wedding week, I felt like watching movies on my laptop and drinking a milo at home! but no this time we spent 2 nights there, at night I was fine hanging out with everyone my age and sitting on the roof chatting, going for walks etc, but during the day I was climbing the walls with boredom, the girls my age were at college, the boys all working on the farm and Happy helping them, and I was sat in the house with Pinky & Mummy who both nap several times a day as they get up at 4am!! I ended up just reading books on my phone and that helped pass the time and spent a lot of time in the kitchen watching them cook which they loved!
Jannat milking the buffalos
Pinky chopping up the veggies daily for the dinner! They always sit outside amongst everyone cutting up the onions, garlic, ginger & veggies so they don’t miss out on any action!
Mummy, Saaba (with his hair loose from his turban) and Shehnoor napping !!!!!! Naps are very popular !! “Lets have rest” …….. my response “lets not”
One day I decided to also have a nap to pass some time, I heard voices “is she awake yet” it was some aunties from next door sat on the couch opposite the bed just watching me, waiting for me to wake up, and I was clearly asleep my eyes were closed!!!! I was obviously the new entertainment in the houses! When I opened my eyes they clapped!! I thought is this for real!!!! we all burst out laughing, his mum laughing knowing that I was in shock, and the aunties laughing with excitement that I was finally awake, the aunties always asked mummy “why no Punjabi suit, everyday jeans??” and his mum always backed me up and said to them in Punjabi LEAVE IT!!! with a big frown, it was never mentioned again!
We also had a ceremony where we had to take the cotton bracelets off each other from the vatna ceremony on the wedding day, I couldn’t untie it and happy said to me bite it with your teeth when they are not looking!!! Finally we got them off, then we had to put them in a big bowl of milky water and took 5 turns finding a coin in the bowl, whoever found it the most times had to pay money to the other person, I became very competitive and won !! Pay up Happy!!
As it got closer to us going on our honeymoon I realised that maybe his family didn’t even know about the honeymoon, as it had not been mentioned, and they are not keen on “wasting money on holidays” and also not keen on “travelling alone” even though it was 2 of us, I broke the news to a few cousins one day that we were “going to Goa for a few days” and I let them spread the news around, the cousins thought it was brilliant and hilarious that I hadn’t yet told anyone – I got a reputation for always being up to something or planning on going somewhere other than the village! Happy’s mum kept asking Happy how long for how long!! and he said a few days don’t worry!! Little did they know it would be 2 1/2 weeks and we were going to Delhi, Varanasi, Goa & Mumbai!
The night before our honeymoon we were STILL at their house and I lost it saying to them I want to go home to pack our flight is at 9am!!!!! “No no no stephie stay here tonight its late now, have some tea and go early in the morning” I went to bed furious and feeling smothered beyond belief. Sonu was sleeping on a bed next to mine and tapped my arm and said “stephie you are my sister now, don’t worry it’s going to be ok I promise” I think he’s a mind reader ! and I said to him “no like sleeping Jhanjoti I like sleeping my house!!!” And he said “ok after honeymoon you are free I promise I will help you to stop them calling and you sleep where you wish I am also bored here but I have been here my whole life!”
The next morning at 5am I got up, woke up the entire family TIME TO GO TIME TO DROP US HOME THANKS!!! “ok stephie sit we will have tea” No no time for tea!!!!!! No one would do anything until we had tea!!!!!! as usual I bit my tongue, drank the tea and then we were off…
Happy’s Dad drove us home and I literally had 40 minutes to shower change and pack our suitcase, and Happy had a hangover from the night before and was no help at all!!! On the plane I said to him I’m not coming back to this smothering and sleeping there for endless nights I was so bored I will go insane I need space!!!! He apologised and said he’s stuck in the middle because they put a lot of pressure on him and he’s being pulled in two directions. We left it behind us and I felt so relieved to be having a break from it all and spending some time together without any interferences!!! We both felt so happy & free!
First stop was Delhi, we did some site seeing and met up with Katherine & Yvonne for dinner two nights before they headed back to the UK which was great fun, after dinner both nights Happy, Katherine & I took off in a rickshaw and went round Delhi going to markets & a bar it was so much fun and we had many many laughs, in every shop Happy would pick up the strangest items he wanted to buy and we were in fits of giggles telling him not to buy it, he would always say to me “well you need to stop buying random elephant ornaments!!”. At dinner one night I ordered a drink and tried to take a sip from what I thought was the straw, everyone burst out laughing, no it was a plastic stick to stir the drink! Embarrassing!!!! We absolutely lost it laughing, it was sad saying goodbye but I was so glad we had such a fun time in India together
The rickshaw driver took us to this jewellery shop which was a tiny alleyway, we both walked in and EVERY item was disgusting and covered in thick dust, we got to the end of the shop and we both thought, well this is awkward we are going to have to walk straight back out without even looking at anything!!! We both just giggled and walked back out!!! The man was saying WAIT WAIT I HAVE EARINGS I HAVE THIS I HAVE THAT, I said you have a LOT OF DUST that’s what you have!! and he said this is India mam!!!!!!!!
We visited the Sis Ganj Gurdwara in Chandi Chowk where the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded in 1675 for refusing to convert to Islam. It is a very sacred place for Sikh people and one of Happy’s cousins lives there and has devoted his life to community service in the temple.
Happy was excited that there was a McDonalds near our hotel and had been craving a McSpicy chicken burger!! He bought one daily!!! We both loved having so much choice with food after so long eating vegetarian daily in the village!
Mummy rang on day 2 and asked how Goa is … Happy said “we are in Delhi”… “WHATTTTTTTT ??” was her response hahahaha I spoke to Sonu on the phone that night and he said to me don’t worry about mummy!! have fun you need a break from village !
After Delhi we headed to Varanasi, on the way from the airport to the hotel the taxi drivers tyre burst and we were sat in the car on the side of the road for an hour while he fumbled around with it ! Lucky we had the iPad and we watched an episode of Offspring while we were waiting, the taxi driver told Happy we looked very hi-tec! We both felt Varanasi didn’t feel like a very safe place and it was very dirty, Happy kept commenting how all the men we saw in the streets had such bad hair styles & clothes haha, they weren’t up to scratch compared to the Punjabi boys trendy do’s!
I had booked a 3 day tour and the man picked us up the first morning on a cycle rickshaw, Happy’s face dropped “are we on that for 3 days!?!?” the man didn’t have great English but insured us the cycle was just for fun for a tour around the city, we both had trouble understanding him and kept getting fits of giggles and to make it worse he never stopped talking and I kept nodding off to sleep!!!
Happy wasn’t keen on the 12 temples he took us too, we were over it by the 3rd one but the river cruise along the Ganges River was amazing we couldn’t believe the amount of people watching the daily flower ceremony the loud music played and the performance done on the steps by the river every night at sunset, it was so entertaining.
Further down the river at the next Ghat we saw where the cremation’s take place, on the day we passed by boat we witnessed over 12 bodies currently being cremated and we saw some being washed in the Ganges river and then the wooden stack being created, we were both speechless and couldn’t believe our eyes. There were big groups of men sat together watching the fires, our guide told us women are not allowed to attend the cremation’s as they are too emotional. Happy smiled and said to me “this is nice & romantic for our honeymoon watching a cremation!!! you have been reading up on something and that is why we are here isn’t it!!!” I just laughed ha ha
The next day we went to Sarnath where Buddha did his first sermon and went to a temple that showed his whole life history and how he became Buddha it was so interesting and we walked around the ruins of where he used to live. We both practiced his hand signal and Happy kept doing it to me from a distance and we both laughed, the guide thought we had strange humour! I also kept trying to snap photos of monks that passed by and Happy kept catching me and smacking my hand telling me to stop in case one of them saw me doing it ha haha
We also went to a silk factory where they made silk by hand on machines and we got sucked into buying an overpriced wall hanging!! I also tried on a silk saree and Happy tried a silk mens scarf!
On our last morning we were meant to go on a 5am sunrise boat cruise, the night before I was thinking how on EARTH am I going to get Happy up at that time as everyone knows he loves his sleep!! And as predicted at 5am he was saying “please I can’t I can’t open my eyes no I can’t do it” he rolled himself into a cocoon in the doona
My response was GROW UP GET UP
He refused and I thought stuff it I will go on my own I’m not missing out it’s only for 2 hours ! The tour guide was waiting outside and asked where is happy? And I told him “sleeping problem” and he laughed. We headed by taxi to the river and went on a cruise down the river watching the sun rise it was amazing!! And I found our tour guide was a lot more confident and easy going without Happy around, maybe Happy made him feel shy!!! We got off the boat near the cremation location and walked all around the back alleyways behind the cremations place, we went to a few small shops and a temple and then he dropped me back to the hotel. Happy was sat upright and said after I left he couldn’t sleep anyway because he was worried about me having gone alone! Well that was a waste of time then sat in bed!!! Hahaha
We went and had a late breakfast then checked out headed to the airport and flew to Goa …
When we arrived at our hotel quite late at night we walked in and were in shock at how nice the hotel was, happy said “it’s a freaking palace”, it was extremely different to the village life we has become used to living!!!!!
Goa was beautiful we wandered around the markets each day, swam in the pool, and every afternoon we would sit at the beach and have drinks & eat tandoori prawns at the many bars & sun lounge restaurants lining Baga Beach and watch the sun go down listening to music, BLISS.
One day I suggested we go to the waterfalls, a taxi took us there and then told us we then had to go the rest of the way by motorbike. We were both a bit confused but got on the two bikes and off we went. YOLO
It was basically four wheel driving on bikes!!!!!! I have never been so scared in my life, happy said my face was as white as a ghost, the bikes road over railway lines, over bumpy pebble narrow pathways, though thick mud, rivers you name it we flew through it, after about 40 mins we arrived at the waterfall and got off the bikes, my legs were shaking!!! I said to Happy I have no idea how we made it here and we still have to get back again OH MY GOD!! He just did a nervous laugh, he was scared too!!
On my birthday we spent the afternoon at a bar on the beach having drinks & a candlelit dinner and then we came home and had a birthday cake, it was such a nice relaxing birthday !
We were both sad to leave when the week passed by and we then headed to Mumbai ..
I had organised a 2 day tour in Mumbai and the man was quite large and the entire tour in the car he was eating at all times – chips, nuts, drinks, chocolate, sweets you name it he always had something and every time he tipped up his packet off chips to empty the final crumbs into his mouth happy would look at me and raise his eyebrows and I had to look away so I wouldn’t lose it laughing!!!!
He took us to Dobi Ghat where most of the city’s washing is done for hotels, hospitals etc, in an open air Laundromat, it is called the world’s largest outdoor laundry, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!!
We had a delicious lunch at Leopold’s café in Colaba – Mustard chicken & Happy had several beers ha ha ha YOLO (I had read about the café in the book Shantaram, another good book is “Henna for the broken hearted” written by an Australian girl living in Mumbai for 10+ years with her Indian husband)
I also bought these amazing earing’s at this HUGE shopping mall we went to called Phoenix, it had several levels and took us HOURS to get all the way around, we even went to a pub inside the mall and had beers & nachos! heaven!!
We did a tour of a Bollywood studio where movies are made and watched a tv show being filmed and also drove past all the Bollywood stars houses which Happy loved !
The last day we did a tour of Dharavi slum which was amazing, our tour guide dropped us off to meet another tour guide and said he will take you from here. He was well dressed with perfect English and so friendly and bubbly, such a nice boy in his 20’s. He told us he also lives in the slum and it’s not what we think it will be! Happy was not keen at all on the slum tour, we were both not really sure what to expect, I had originally told him we were just driving past it. When the man met us and said “so this is a 2 hour walking tour” Happy responded “it’s a what? Steph?? A what?? Are we going inside !?!?” His face dropped!!! I looked away pretending not to hear him and said to the man ok cool let’s go!!! The slum was filled with hundreds of workshops and businesses, right from making chips & snacks to recycling plastic, making suitcases, stitching embroidery, making machines, recycling paint tins, and making leather – oh my god, when we past the truck that had all the leather skins in the back ready to be de-haired – there are no words for the smell!!!! I dry reached and happy just burst into laughter!!! He said to the man “my wife very weak stomach!” He said back to Happy “tell her to watch out for the dead rats then!” Later on I did actually spot a dead rat and tried not to think about it!! We also went through all the alleyways where people where living surrounding the businesses. There were no beggars like I had thought there would be, everyone was busy working and everyone was so friendly waving to us as we passed by their shops and homes. They even had a tiny cinema playing movies (illegally of course).
Making soap, overlook of the slum from the train station, the cinema
The day finally came where it was time to fly back to Amritsar and I didn’t want to go!!!!! I had LOVED it just being the two of us again for a few weeks!!!! Happy said he was glad I force him to go on holidays because he had the best time and saw so many things he never knew existed!
The traxi driver taking us to the airport threw our suitcase on the roof and we took off, the whole time I kept saying to happy watch the back window in case it disappears into the wind!!! He said with the amount of crap trinkets & elephants you have bought it’s not going anywhere!!!!!!!!! Just because I had looked at hundreds of painted elephant ornaments doesn’t mean I bought ALL of them!! haha
When we arrived at Amritsar airport, Happy’s Dad was sat in the waiting area with a huge grin on his face, Happy said “there’s my dad, still the same massive smile” and we both giggled when we saw how excited he was when he saw us appear! Happy said to him is mum ok, and he said your mum has been worried sick, I enjoyed the adventure! then said to me Goa was good?? and I said YES SOOO GOOD and he laughed and patted me on the back. He dropped us home then went back to the village, after a few hours Mummy called “WHY DIDNT YOU COME STRAIGHT HERE FROM THE AIRPORT” Oh my god surely we can just unpack first, I said to Happy AND IT BEGINS!!!!! hahahahaha At least the smothering is with love and not the other way round! 🙂