Chapter 2:

They married a day after Valentines Day, 1977.

It was a small wedding, not more than 50 people, hurriedly organised by a handful of family and friends. She was 18 at the time. A delicate and somewhat naive soul, oblivious that on this day of 15th February, her future timeline was being defined, the pages of her destiny were being written. She did not fathom, in her uncomplicated innocent mind, that once the covenant of love was sealed, the pages in her book of destiny could never be unwritten. But a new bride-to-be seldom thinks about such deep philosophies. She was entangled in the bitter sweet ceremonious arrangements.

Jolly was brimming with multitude of emotions – of excitement and nervousness, swimming deep in loves pond, thrilled that her family had accepted him, albeit reluctantly at first. Still, regardless of her family’s assent, there was a dull nervous ache at the pit of her stomach, she couldn’t place a finger on the root of this nervousness and simply disregarded it.

There was also a sliver of guilt gnawing at her heart, for she was defying cultural traditions and getting married ahead of turn, before her elder sister. That guilt was soon dessicated by her sisters blessing and excitement towards the wedding. Perhaps it was the blatant awareness that their time together would be temporary – he had to depart Dhaka in a few short weeks as per visa requirements, but the bigger worry was his impending departure to America for further studies, his MBA. It was an important step towards their collective future, she knew that, but the resounding doubts kept knocking. She kept ignoring. Her priority was him, she wished to devote every single passing second in is strong arms, like any newly-wed bride.

Those few short weeks of glorious bliss came to an abrupt end sooner than she anticipated. During that time, her family had showered them with unending love & blessings, put him on a high pedestal, he was treated like royalty, but it was now time for him to leave and both of them had to deal with reality. They had to discuss and develop their future plans. The sharp stab of reality was beyond her pain threshold – they would have to separate until such times he organised her to join him. Jolly must wait. But waiting for him was the least of her worries.

Their first challenge as a married couple was the customary meeting with his family in Lahore, Pakistan. Little did she know that his family was oblivious of their first-born son’s recent union with the Bengali beauty – they were too busy with ‘Ahmad’s’  upcoming wedding preparations.

Their eldest son was betrothed to their closest friend’s daughter, a blue-eyed beautiful girl called ‘Farheen’.

© as|fa 2016




The concierge advised us not to come back until we had completely destroyed Melbourne. I was amused at his interesting choice of words. We destroyed Melbourne nonetheless – with our infectious laughter. You can imagine the kind of fun instigated when 8 good friends gather together for a weekend of contagious fun & frolic…

Of course the chit chats started as soon as we all boarded the plane. So any passengers that planned on a peaceful 1 hour and 15 minute flight to Melbourne were greatly disappointed. We all copped looks of amusement from the fellow passengers. They didn’t really have any choice – we weren’t in the mood to zip it and no one was going to stop us from talking nonsense..

Coordinating these series of rendezvous was a pretty challenging endeavour. Free guesses to the lucky lady who landed the coordinator job. Yes, yours truly. Though I think I may have self appointment myself due to my OCD planning (slightly controlling, only slightly though) issues.

We literally had to create a project plan, develop a schedule, highlight and socialise the plan with stakeholders, identify dependencies, assign resources, determine financials and plan for risk mitigation. This coordination exercise had uncanny similarities to my day job – which to me was not amusing at all. But the power of divide and conquer worked wonders. We all contributed to turning this trip into reality – it helped when we had a few key skill sets within our collective repertoire – a Mathematician, the Analytical Thinker, a Project Manager, a Social Event Coordinator, a Life Style Expert, the Sarcasm Subject Matter Expert and the Doc. We all took a sigh of relief once all the planning was done & dusted. We were eagerly anticipating the trip..


Image: Copyright as|fa

Once we reached our destination, it was just 3 days of guilt free fun, fabulous shopping plus sight seeing and culinary (over) indulgence. Its amazing how just a weekend trip away with the girls can make you forget the daily grind – it was like we were on another planet. Totally therapeutic.

I loved the colonial rustic architecture meshed with the modern artsy cultured feel of Melbourne. The streets of Melbourne were an absolute delight, from the cute tucked away cafés in little alley ways to the vividly Gothic art adorning the streets – it was such a different feel to Sydney.



Image: Copyright as|fa


Image: Copyright as|fa

Within the tightly planned schedule, I managed to sneak in an early morning walk along the Yarra with my walking buddy – I’m glad we planned that walk in and packed appropriate shoes – the Yarra is beautiful in the morning – the sleeping city looked exceptionally glorious at sun rise.


Image: Copyright as|fa

Lucky we were up early enough. The intent was to walk to the infamous beyond belief cafe, The Hardware Societie @ Hardware Lane, so we could beat the crowd and have a piece of that scrumptious brekkie everyone raves about. We must’ve got there around 8.15 am (after almost waking the entire city with our loaded chit chats and giggles) and the place was already packed !! A colourfully quirky staff member, with painted nails and a big flower brooch attached to his shirt (who by the way could smell Versace on a customer from a mile away) was taking down names for table allocation.  I cant recall how long we waited. It helped when our mathematician friend was glued to the colourfully quirky staff member, making sure he allocated us the next table. The breakfast was just mouthwateringly sensational and the coffee was straight from heaven. Totally worth the wait. Added to the must visit again list.



Image: Copyright as|fa

We visited plenty of places and they all deserve a mention, like the impromptu visit to a rooftop cigar bar, St Kilda markets, a quick shopping pit stop at Melbourne DFO,  a horse ride across the city,  or the jazz inspired, quirky Thai restaurant and of course, Crown casino (which we all unanimously concluded wasn’t for us). This blog would be pretty damn long if I penned down all the experiences that we packed into those 3 days.


Image: Copyright as|fa

One deserving highlight is of ‘our last supper’ at 400 Gradi, Brunswick. The winner of the World Pizza Championships. Although we had reservations, the wait was extra long, or maybe it seemed like eternity as we were famished! The staff were conversing in fluent Italian, and their behaviour was wickedly Italian too – so it was not surprising when our table was getting extra attention. We soaked it all in, who would say no to free entrées and of course the pizzas did not disappoint. Yumm…


Image: Copyright as|fa

It was definitely a memorable trip – one that all 8 of us will reminisce often. All of us have our own favourite moments & highlights, the best thing is that every single one of us was going with the flow, relaxed, chilled and just plainly interested in having a good time. No doubt that we destroyed Melbourne – it was such good therapy. Locked in our memory bank. Forever.

© as|fa 2016