The past few days passed in a blur. My parents realized that my wedding is barely 2 months away and they haven’t done as many preparations as they would have liked to. They started prepping with a vengeance, and all the chaos inexplicably reached us here in New York. You’d think being 2 oceans apart would be enough, no?
Anyway, my in laws recently got out the first drafts of the wedding invitations. I thought this was the easy part. Boy, was I wrong! I am apparently “Son of” parent 1 and parent 2. And I don’t have a surname. The second part I understand, as in their culture they use the father’s name as their surname. And they know we don’t do that. So I am surname-less. Also, our educational qualifications and even professions (!!) are written along side our names. I have no idea why. I requested to get all that removed, and correct all of the above, along with minor grammar and spelling errors.
Then came the issue of dividing time between staying with my parents and with in laws. This was very tricky as we have 2 new homes, one in Pune and one in Chennai, and need to perform house warming for both. So time spent in Chennai after the wedding is going to be barely 4 days after which we fly back to Mumbai for the reception and Pune house warming. The in laws protested and told us to fly back to Chennai with them after house warming and then back to Mumbai for the flight to New York. Finally a compromise was made after a lot of deliberation. They will be staying in Mumbai a week after the reception with us.
I am sure there are going to be several such problems in the days leading up to the wedding. I just hope we are able to preserve our sanities till its over. On that note, here’s the front page of the wedding invite. Please let me know if you happen to read it and find any glaring mistakes (I already know of 2 :P)
Recently, I read something rather startling on the TIL section of Reddit. A notorious terrorist organization, perhaps the most well known one in the US (for all the wrong reasons) had published their agenda for years 2010-2020. It has the following terse bullet points –
- Provoke the United States and the West into invading a Muslim country by staging a massive attack or string of attacks on U.S. soil that results in massive civilian casualties.
- Incite local resistance to occupying forces.
- Expand the conflict to neighboring countries, and engage the U.S. and its allies in a long war of attrition.
- Convert [the said organization] into an ideology and set of operating principles that can be loosely franchised in other countries without requiring direct command and control, and via these franchises incite attacks against the U.S. and countries allied with the U.S. until they withdraw from the conflict, as happened with the 2004 Madrid train bombings, but which did not have the same effect with the July 7, 2005 London bombings.
- The U.S. economy will finally collapse by the year 2020 under the strain of multiple engagements in numerous places, making the worldwide economic system which is dependent on the U.S. also collapse leading to global political instability, which in turn leads to a global jihad led by [said organization] will then be installed across the world following the collapse of the U.S. and the rest of the Western world countries.
I was positively startled at the matter-of-fact tone the article was written in. Now I work a mile from the WTC site, and pass it everyday on my way to work. I can’t help but think, what are they going to do next? Hit another building? Maybe the empire state bldg? Or send gunmen in subways that transport millions everyday?
I brought this topic up with a colleague, who lost a sister in the attacks. I asked, “Aren’t you scared?” He just shrugged and replied “When my sister was trapped in the building, she had called us to say a goodbye. She sounded surprisingly calm even in the face of inevitable death. That’s when it struck me, we don’t scare easy.”
That’s when I realized, that’s true. Mumbai has also been prone to so many terrorist attacks. I have seen a bomb blow up in a highly populated vegetable marketplace in my childhood. Sure, my first instinct was my own safety, but I was back shopping there after barely a couple of days, as were a thousand others.
So yes, they may have an agenda but we have courage.