No Beer For You

This past weekend I was visiting my parents. My brothers had the great idea to have a bonfire, so I went on a mission to buy s’mores ingredients and beer. At the beer store you can only purchase 36 packs, so an awkward, teenaged-looking boy who looked too young to operate a car- let alone sell alcohol, directed me to the bar next door to buy a six-pack. Having never been to a bar while it was still light out, Vasudha and I entered the dimly lit room a bit hesitantly.

The inside of a bar is an interesting place on a sunny afternoon. I won’t say that the music stopped and everyone turned to look, but two innocent-looking girls in skirts attracted some staring among the regulars.


I walked up to the bar and ordered a six-pack of cider.

The young man (certainly younger than myself) behind the bar asked for my I.D. Fair enough. I don’t think I have ever gotten carded in Canada, but it’s a bar, that’s their prerogative. I handed over the only ID I carry, my Ontario driver’s license.

Bartender (more loudly than necessary): What? What is this? I can’t find the date of birth. (Loud enough for the entire bar to hear over blaring TV) Where’s the date of birth?
[Note: At this point, I would have intervened and pointed out the two places were my DOB is clearly written, but the Bartender turned to his boss in a near panic]
Bartender: Can you help me find the date of birth?
Bartender’s Boss: Hmm. No. I can’t take this. It’s from a foreign country.
Me: Huh? Seriously? Wait, really?
Bartender’s Boss: Nope. NOPE! This is from a FOREIGN country! Can’t take this. Bye.

And with that, I was cast again into the bright world, furious and beer-less. Canada is a foreign country whose ID’s the US doesn’t accept? Seriously?

(Vasudha and I seem to have issues with valid ID’s)

Note the DOB written twice, the halographic picture of the face in the right hand corner


Growing up in a family whose diet was strictly meat, potatoes, pasta and Americanized Chinese food (when we were feeling adventurous), I don’t think I encountered mangoes until my first trip to India. Mangoes were in season, succulent and cheap. During frightfully hot days in New Delhi a juicy mango was a welcome treat.

Upon returning to Canada, I bought and enjoyed a mango. All seemed to be well. About 3 hours later I started to feel my lips tingle. Odd. By lunchtime my lips had becoming alarmingly enlarged and were throbbing. As it turns out, mangoes have a lovely little syrup in their skin that is also in….Poison Ivy! (If you knew me in elementary school you know that Poison Ivy is my kryptonite. I missed more school due to Poison Ivy reactions than was deemed plausible).

Within a few hours of eating the mango, my lips were blistering and had swollen to the point of making me look like Angelina Jolie after a Botox overdose. I found smiling, laughing, talking and eating to be painful activities. I ingested a large amount of anti-histamines and promptly fell asleep. Upon waking, I found that my lips were oozing. Okay, this is getting nasty. (Hey, be thankful I didn’t post the picture. Varun said I should.) After about 4 days of this nonsense, my lips started to calm down. As I explained this story, many found it unbelievable. I myself was curious, was it really the mangoes?

The following summer, I was again craving mangoes. Varun cut one for me and threw out the skin. Again my lips raged for days. I have henceforth come to the inescapable conclusion: I am seriously allergic to the skins of mangoes. As much as this generally elicits raised eyebrows, I told an Indian Dr once and was met with the reply, “Oh yes, it’s one of the most common allergies in India”. So there you have it. I’m not making it up to get you to cut my fruit for me.

While it’s helpful to know what I’m allergic to, I still LOVE mangoes. Luckily, I have an incredibly kind and careful husband who is willing to chop mangoes, wash the affected dishes, sanitize the counter and generally secure the perimeter. As such, we celebrated the beginning of summer with a delicious dose of Quinoa Mango Salad.

What a hubby

I’m not gonna lie, I look at the mango display longingly and suspiciously in the grocery store, wondering, If I grab it using a plastic bag and get Varun to cut it, will I escape unscathed? It always comes down to this: would I rather eat a mango or have functioning lips? Sometimes, the mangoes win.

The Proposal

Me: Guess what tomorrow is?!
Varun: (Deer in the headlights look) Tomorrow. Today is May…13th. No, 16th.
Me: (Smiling sweetly)
Varun: (Beginning to get that Nervous Husband Look) The day we started… (Brain firing on all cylinders) The day we got engaged!

See what just two years of marriage can teach a man!

It’s true. Three years ago, in a land far, far away….(insert harp strum here)…I’d write the whole story, but you’d probably fall asleep into your bowl of cereal. So here’s the cliff notes.

Varun and I had gone to India to Meet The Parents after a year of dating. Perhaps it was endorphins produced by love or simply an evolutionary instinct to attract a mate, but the idea of spending 5 weeks in a foreign country meeting my boyfriend’s parents was not intimidating to me. I got off the plane filled with excitement and malaria pills.

My first clue should have been Day #2. We were sitting watching TV when Varun came in with one of those ring sizers they have at the jewelry store. He put it on his cousin, his sister, and me. Through my haze of culture shock and jet lag, this didn’t seem odd to me. The odds of someone owning such a device were just as likely as the Jeweler sitting in the next room waiting for my measurement. Which he was. Go figure.

Fast forward. Somewhere along the line Varun and I have a talk about when to get engaged. Varun took the pragmatic approach and suggested waiting several months. I tried all of my female ploys, to no avail. (Now, pretend you’re me and didn’t realize Varun was merely trying to throw me off his scent)

Fast forward. Family outing to the Taj Mahal! If you can believe it, we woke up at 2 AM in order to drive 4 hours to get to the Taj Mahal because by about 6:01 AM, the marble heats up and the place is 45+ degrees C (that’s 113 F for those of you in Burma, Liberia and the US). Suffice to say, the Taj Mahal was gorgeous.

Here’s an excerpt from a note I wrote the day after…

The Taj Mahal is an incredible monument built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife…as such, it’s known as the symbol of love. From the 18 storey high marble dome to the intricately cut oynx flowers the Taj is by far the most incredible, detailed and beautiful building i’ve seen anywhere I’ve ever been!

As we walked through our guided tour in the heat, Varun asked me what love meant to me. …after the tour, Varun and I walked off by ourselves and continued our conversation. Varun was being so sweet and soo romantic, I think I was beginning to melt with joy…or maybe the heat, hehe.

…He pulled out a ring and asked me if i would marry him. YES! I said as I threw my arms around him!!!!! I was totally thrilled—and almost speechless. Varun told me about love and how he felt God has called him to love me…It was a fantastic day and a surprise and way better than I could have ever imagined!

Let’s be honest. If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you’re probably wondering where the Blooper Reel is. Well, look no further.

Right before I said “YES!”, I said, “Are you KIDDING me?!” Now. In my defense, the man had just spent two weeks convincing me that wedded bliss was a long time coming. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m an extrovert and can’t think and breathe and talk simultaneously. (The latter two generally trump the first)

The second funny thing that happened was Varun, right after slipping the ring on my finger, gasped, “I forgot to kneel down!”. In a moment of true grace and panache, I said, “That’s okay. Here, Ask again”, slipping the ring off and handing it back. It’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re drunk on love.

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