lundi, octobre 19, 2009

Meeting Van

Our wedding present to Van (MIL painted it)

The Sabbath finished on Saturday with the arrival of the night. And I made my way to Hendon Central on the Bakerloo line to meet my old friend, University and Club mate Van whom I've not seen for a few years - since her 2003 wedding in London that I attended with my family to be precise.

The wedding dining hall

I must admit that I thought my worst fears had come true when I saw her. Her beautiful golden brown locks were nowhere in sight. Before me was an Obasan wearing something that looked like a shower cap, like in those documentaries I've followed on TV or read in the papers about Orthodox Jews. Did she shave her hair? I wanted to cry.

The beautiful bride

But she reassured me that she still has her real hair. Though she has decided, after some initial resistence, to adhere to the usual married woman practice of either covering her real hair or wearing a wig (albeit a very expensive one) when she goes out. And deep down she's (almost) still the same talkative, intelligent, fashion-loving, love-a-good-bargain Van that I've known since I was 18.

We caught up for a few hours in her lovely, comfortable and tastefully-decorated house in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood. I was really happy to see her again after all these years. I was reluctant to leave. Van has a special place in my heart. I realised that over the years we have all gone our separate ways, but with old friends like her, I often feel that I could pick up from wherever we've last left off anytime we should meet again. And I was also reminded about how one should take stock of certain ideas that one has formed especially from second or third-hand experiences. There is nothing like knowing an event or person first hand before forming one's opinions.

Having said that, I do not think that I'll ever buy this wig or shower cap business, or be able to accept that Van and I, we will never be able to eat noodles at Wagamama's together again. And I do not know if I could even extend an invitation to her to stay with me if she should ever visit - my house is definitely far from Kosher. But I understand her reasons for choosing to live her life the way she sees fit and I respect her for that. I am happy that she is happy and I thank her for this opportunity to understand her religion and community better. And the next time I visit her, we'll eat Kosher Thai or Indian together. In the past, we've always so enjoyed eating out together.

That evening, there were fireworks in the sky. Hendon Central was celebrating Diwali. So many parallel lives, beliefs and celebrations. I am fortunate the Hub likes me exposing my hair, boobs, thoughts whatever. I like a Cartesian man who doesn't like me to look like a dump when I am out of his sight. Most women see their husbands only a few hours a day (exclude those sleeping hours) so if they could only look good for their men, it's painful contemplating spending the majority of the time trying one's best to look ugly. I for one have difficulty imagining that God would give women hair so that we could hide or mutilate it.

2 commentaires:

6p00d8341d6c2753ef a dit…

Hi Lotus, if you're coming to France end of the year I hope we can meet up. Cheers!

Beau Lotus a dit…

Umami, you frightened me for a while I didn't dare to click on the link lest I get a million viruses or not like what I see LOL.

Actually we'll be going to Bonneuil en Valois (an hour from Paris near Compiegne) and may not visit Paris during this trip. Are you going to remain in France at least for another year? I hope to make a solo trip to Paris one weekend maybe in Spring.