Updated: May 1
We took our immediate families to a beach hotel at Puri a week after our wedding.
There was beachball in the water, warm rasgollas, phuchka and yoga on the beach. There was a trip to Chilka Lake (450 sq miles, the largest in the country) with my dad and bicycling to places of worship. As far as I know, everyone got along(?). And I’m grateful to the missus cos she was with my side of the family on the famimoon.
What remains ingrained in memory was that we picnic-ed on the green grass lawn ON THE BEACH and garden at our hotel, among hundreds if not thousands of radiant flowers.
There is also a negativity encapsulated in my brain - I was initially stopped by a guard from entering the main Temple of Puri because he thought I ”did not look” a Hindu! The fact is I was born a Hindu.
Next was the honeymoon - in Paris. I have never been penniless in my life before or after that.
Having worked for only a year before our wedding, and having paid off my small student loan that year - my wallet was empty when we arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport.
Happily(?) I had picked up the plastic culture that year, and off we went spending money we didn’t have. It was a once in a lifetime situation!
We stayed on rue de Carnot, steps away from the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs de Elsee and the Lido.
The Eiffel Tower was celebrating 100 Ans that year, with huge elegant lit 1000 feet lettering down its side, reflections on the river Siene mingling with the lights from the evening boats passing by.
Paris was truly beautiful and had a heightened dimension that year perhaps because of the centenary of the Eiffel Tower. We’d spent a year learning rudimentary French to make the visit more enjoyable.
I had an artist draw a picture of my mom from a photograph, high on a hill at Monmarte.
We rented a car that turned out to be a small limousine that took us to Versailles and to a heli-port for a ride across Paris over the Eiffel Tower. The young French chauffeur flirted non stop with my brand new wife, but I did get some relief at the heli-pad.
The chopper was small with seats in an enclosed transparent bubble. There were four passenger seats, two in front and two behind. There was a couple ahead of us and I expected them to take the front seats. Surprise, surprise, the lady in front turned to us and waved us to the front seats. I protested mildly, saying they should get the better view. I clearly remember the young lady’s words in English (with a heavy French accent). She smiled, “When you return home tell everyone, that all French people are not bad.”
Other highlights included a trip by myself to a burlesque club performance on the Pigalle, where one of the ladies of the evening sat next to me and professionally propositioned me, and I did remember to say that I was on my honeymoon. My wife and I did visit the chorus at the Lido. The stage changed (technologically, suddenly, miraculously) from desert scenes to snow clad mountains and dozens of acrobats danced in the nude. I had both our champagnes, and pretended to be tipsy on the walk back to the hotel, much to her chargin. We had French Crêpe (with hazelnut crème) for the first time, on the streets of Paris, and walked and walked and walked.