Travel

Smile

“If you haven’t seen your wife smile at a traffic cop, you haven’t seen her smile her prettiest,” said an American journalist called Kin Hubbard once. He has been gone a long while now but this man was funny. Look at another example of his wit, “Don’t knock th’ weather. Nine-tenths o’ th’ people couldn’ start a conversation if it didn’ change once in a while.”

See what I just did. Rambled at the beginning of a tag. Sigh.

I was tagged by the beauteous Kristyn who makes me roar with laughter. Lion roars. Thank you, Kristyn, I truly had a wonderful time taking part in this tag.

This is The SMILE TAG and I am going to tell you how it works before I get going.

Ciarralorren, creator of The SMILE Tag, wants to see your smiles! If you are nominated for this tag (which I hope all of you are), then simply post a photo of yourself smiling! There really are no rules for this tag. You can post as many pictures with as many people as you’d like solely under the condition that you are smiling in the photo or looking back at the photo makes you smile. It’s really quite simple. If you’d like, also share the story or stories behind the photos you post to let your followers gain more of an insight of who you are and what makes you happy. Or don’t. It’s really up to you. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter how you interpret this tag, so long as you spread joy and happiness around the Internet and in doing so within your own life. Let’s all be happy and share our smiles!

Just keep the tagging along and TOGETHER, let’s create a mass movement of happiness! So start posting and tagging people now! Go, go, go!!

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The Telegraph India, Delhi. September 2009. With one of my closest friends in office. It seems a lifetime ago that we used to spend all our time eating, giggling, shopping and being silly apart from stressing about coming up with story ideas for ghastly idea meetings.  
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Delhi, May, 2013. A goofy moment of cupcakes and coffee in Khan Market which is one of the best hangouts in the city. This was in a cafe called Choko La where the cupcakes were a dream and therefore it was my choice of coffee and conversations with one of my dearest friends.
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Gower Peninsula, Wales. June 2011. This was the first time we had reached the Rhossili Bay of the gales and gusts, where to stand still on the cliffs and not to be blown away is an achievement.
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Delhi, December 2011. On a cold December’s night, we had our first cocktail party for the wedding, thrown by my generous in-laws for us at a beautiful garden restaurant called Magique. The food was delectable and the drinks flowed. How they flowed. Adi had to be carted back home at the end of the party because his friends poured shots down his throat. 
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Floatel, Calcutta, December 2011. A photo marked by relief. That my groom had reached Calcutta at all with his entire party of friends and family. The train from Delhi to Calcutta had been delayed for hours because of foggy conditions. So the night before Adi had to book a flight for everyone to make it in time for the cocktail party and the wedding. This shot is from the cocktail party which was thrown by my parents at a floating venue on the Hooghly river. The best thing was that it was night and you did not have to admire the incredibly muddy waters of the Hooghly. Oh, but it was pure magic. It was about dancing the night away.
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A shot from the cocktail party with my brother and his wife. And no, I do not look like him.
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With my four closest friends. The one on the extreme left was always my cupcake and coffee friend. The other two lovelies on each side of me are my former flatmates. They know me as well as one would know another when they have lived together. 
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Dec 11, 2011. The wedding. It is an urban myth that Indian brides are coy. I for one had no chance to play the part since I was micro-managing the wedding. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. But our family priest wed us by chanting away mantras and interspersing them with his funny asides. We had such fun getting married. We had not expected it.
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There were many tears and fears. Firstly, the photographer had forgotten the simple fact that he had to turn up. This was my newspaper’s photographer and I had great faith in him. “The wedding is today, is it?” he asked in an incredulous tone. Now this happened as I sat to get married. “Yes you cutlet! Get your behind here, NOW,” was what I wanted to scream. However to unleash bridezilla in public is not convenient. I bit out words into the phone, “If you can please just get here.” Secondly, there was the videographer. Another talented man. He found his way to some other wedding and started shooting it because he was convinced it was ours. Both these tools turned up midway through the wedding rituals. Most of my wedding photos, as a result, were taken by my journalist friend who is an excellent photographer-documentary maker. Thirdly, I had arranged a phuchka (water balls – street food) stall. No surprises. It did not turn up. Therein lay the three reasons I could not be a coy bride.
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The Isle of Wight. October 2012. We went camping by the sea at a time when most sane people would avoid pitching tents on the edge of a cliff. The other tents were occupied by our friends and I was never happier than when the sun rose. Evenings saw me almost weeping with misery when I could spare tears from shivering.
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Durga Puja, Calcutta. October 2016. The puja was held at my home this year. It is a 250-year-old family affair that is rotated amongst our uncles and us. It is that one time of the year when my whole heart belongs to Calcutta. The sun mellows, the breeze picks up and the kaash phool (wild sugarcane grass) sways its white feathery heads in the breeze when Goddess Durga comes visiting Calcutta with great pomp. I am not religious in the least but this festival does it for me. It is about dressing up in new clothes, gorging on delicious food all through the day, meeting friends and spending time with family. Those are my cousin sisters-in-law, who look sane but are quite not all there. So, it is easy to love them.
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Santa Teresa Gallura, Sardinia. March 2015. Windblown in Santa Teresa Gallura, a beautiful beach town in Sardinia, with friends. I miss my overgrown pixie cut.
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Hatching plans to steal Vespas in the alleys of Alghero, Sardinia.
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December 2013. The last time Adi put his arms around Tuktuk. I will never forget that like an oaf I did not travel with him to meet our beloved boy. He passed away early in 2014. We were sleeping in Mechelen, Belgium, when we got the call in the wee hours of the morning.
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Pulpit Rock, Norway. August 2015. The best hike we have ever done. We had almost given up on  taking the flight to Stavanger the night before because the weather forecast was doleful. Then the woman at the other end uttered her magical Norwegian belief, “There’s nothing like bad weather, only bad clothes.” We gave in. The result was that I got to dangle my legs off Pulpit Rock for a brief while before a nervous Adi barked at me that he was not ready yet to lose his wife. You see, it is easy to fall in love with Norway.
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Holyhead, Wales. April 2013. My sister-in-law was visiting us and we had driven down to Wales to one of our favourite lighthouses which is supposed to be haunted. It is there that I met this big boy. Now, I have long conversations with horses. When they perk up their ears and seem interested, it is rude not to talk, don’t you think? Plus it is not easy to find patient ears. My niece now sees horses and thinks of me. I have a reputation to maintain.

Happiness nestles right under your nose when you smile. Have you noticed that? Now if you feel like dredging up some memories to share them and smile, why just fire away.

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