I had agreed to accompany mom to her friend’s 40th Anniversary celebration. It wasn’t a big deal honestly since I had no plans for the weekend. With the extremely well organized and huge area, parking was easy to find.

The mesmeric sound of really old Bollywood songs along with the pleasant breeze of the early spring weather, the evening already felt promising. The elegant decor of the venue took my breath away. It had everything, flowers, candles and white chiffon curtains flowing reminding me of Bollywood movies. But it was the centerpieces that stole the show. Hydrangeas in square glass vases surrounded with candles. The whole ambiance was too beautiful for words. You had to be there to enjoy the warmth in that party. There was glamour, old world charm and yet felt so warm and cozy.

It was all too beautiful until I noticed mom’s dear acquaintances, the very concerned nosy aunties. The mothers of I don’t know who because they never talk about their own children but everyone else’s. Then there are the over-dressed, attention-seeking aunties who within minutes of arriving at any event become best friends with the hosts. But my favorite are the ones whose smile reminds you of your own mom and who give the best hugs. I was actually looking forward to meeting these aunties and their respective husbands.

Everything about the party had a story to tell about the couple. The buffet had a huge area dedicated to the couple’s favorite food, Sushi catered obviously from the best restaurant in town. The more interesting thing was the waiting staff dressed in kurta pajamas, carrying around big trays of champagne flute glasses serving Bellini. The bubbly sweet drink extremely hard to ignore. After a few encounters with the flute glasses, mom and I headed to the photo-op. There was a huge cut out of a Mini Cooper, the very cute soon to be an electric car, I guess because the couple loved long drives or Mini Cooper. Either way, mom and I had our photos clicked because Mini was our favorite car too.  Bellinis had done their job, mom and I were now tipsy and ready to dance.

The songs reminded me of mom and dad dancing in the kitchen. It was one of my dearest memories of mom and dad together. Mom loved singing and dad loved dancing. 2 more flutes of Bellini and I was dragging my mom to the dance floor to try her not so famous but completely adorable dance moves on jhumka gira re. Soon we were all grooving to the charming old music. When I say, “we” I really mean all my favorite kinds of aunties and their husbands along with me and mom. The hosts clearly had a very nice taste in music or a very impressive event planner. 5 more of those flute glasses and I was glued to the dance floor.  Mom looked so happy, no one could have known if she was missing dad. She was dancing and I was drinking and dancing.

At the dinner table, I could not believe how much I was enjoying chatting with all the old couples sharing their R-rated old stories. The Bellinis had done their job yet again, we were all drunk and happy. After the beautiful and so tempting 3 tier cake was cut, it was time for us to call for Uber since we both were in no condition to drive back home. And so we very graciously informed the hosts that we were going to leave our car in their big mansion’s parking lot.

For the next part what happened, I blame it on the peachy sweet Bellinis. I lost all my inhibitions and awkwardness and decided to congratulate the couple personally and thank them for the wonderful evening. Mrs. Singh was so sweet, she even gave me a hug, so tight just like a loving old friend. She then turned and hugged my Mom even tighter and thanked her for coming and I noticed her eyes welling up.

It was then when I opened my drunk mouth and said, “Mrs. Singh you did it. In the world full of cynicism and lost love, you and your husband made it. You are at 40 years of marriage happy, healthy and together.” But before I could ask my question Mrs. Singh interrupted me, whispering in my ear but still smiling, “40 years of marriage and a Successful marriage are two different things. Don’t fool yourself, sweetheart.” I was left dumb after hearing the secret to 40 years of marriage. I suddenly missed my tipsy self and searched for the big trays with champagne flute glasses roaming around to be gulped down.

The stunning hydrangeas and white candles, the floral fragrant air was all gone along with my tipsy self. And instead of jhumka gira re, all I could think of was main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya. Mom and I spent the first 5 minutes of the drive home in complete alertness and silence. We could have easily driven back ourselves, all we needed was a little chat with Mrs. Singh.

And then something happened that I least expected from my 55 years old widowed mother. She took my hand in hers and apologized for being tough on me. The mom who had lived her life adhering to the norms of the society and following the strong traditions she grew up believing in, give them up over a few glasses of Bellini or so I would like to think. It was nice to hear her talk to me rather at me. I smiled and replied, “It’s all cool Mom”. And that is how drinking Bellini and having weekly dance parties became a part of our routine. It was a very special night for us, when mom and I found our old friendship while drinking Bellinizzzzz.

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