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     Volume 6 Issue 19 | May 18, 2007 |

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Straight Talk

'Dressed to Impress'

Right now I am recovering from a very bizarre weekend. What should have been a relatively relaxing couple of days for my husband and me, turned into a mad adventure with a bit of slapstick comedy thrown into it. Little did I know that attending a wedding would turn into such a fiasco.

Let me take you back a few months where we were invited to a wedding in Ireland by my husband's colleague from work. This particular flashback would see my husband trying to persuade me to go to the wedding. I was initially reluctant as we would have to leave the kids and arrange for someone to look after them. However, I have had a hankering to go back and visit Ireland for quite a while as I had spent a few years of my childhood in Dublin. The kids thought it would be nice for us to spend some quality time together and insisted they would be fine especially as it was only really 24 hours. It did not take much persuasion for me to agree and even the knowledge that we would be travelling to Belfast and not Dublin, did not affect my decision. So we made sure that the necessary arrangements were in place for the kids to be looked after and booked our tickets.

Now let me take you back to last week. Normally I would not agonise too much about what to wear but as it was a wedding in Ireland and that too in Belfast I was not quite sure whether wearing a sari or shalwar kameez would make me too conspicuous. Not knowing anyone there I was hoping to be relatively unobtrusive. I also felt that we should at least try and be presentable as my husband also happened to be the groom's boss. Having mulled it over for all of five minutes, I opted to stay within my comfort zone and pack a shalwar kameez. I even took the trouble of actually matching my bag and shoes for the occasion. Being a man, my husband did the obvious and packed a suit. At this point, you must be wondering why on earth I am telling you about our choice of attire but all will be clear very soon.

The journey to the airport started off badly as we got stuck in traffic but the cab driver kept to his word and dropped us at the airport on time. Maybe the luck of the Irish was already rubbing off on us, I told my husband. The fact that there was no queue for check in was quite a pleasant surprise as usually the queue snakes its way half way round the terminal. This sense of relief of having arrived on time and the satisfaction of having avoided the crowds was quickly dampened by the information that my husband and I were sitting separately. Regardless of our attempts to get the man at the check in desk to reallocate our seats, we were unsuccessful. As it was only a one hour flight, we were not overly concerned by our temporary separation.

The flight itself was fine and we arrived on time. As we stood by the carousel waiting for our bag to arrive, we joked about how awful it would be if our baggage did not show up. But fifteen minutes later when we were still standing by the same carousel and realised that there were no bags left, the joke was on us. I think even then we were loath to accept the awful truth that our luggage was missing. We made our way to customer services and waited while the necessary enquiries were being made and listened with a sinking heart that it had not even made it onto the plane. No confirmation of when we would be reunited with our luggage either. We realised it was futile waiting around so we found a taxi and made our way to the hotel.

I think we would have appreciated the beautiful countryside with its rolling hills and greenery much more had we not been pondering over our plight during this journey. While checking in at the hotel, the groom came to greet us and we recounted our tale of lost luggage to him and he was extremely sympathetic. What was galling was that he obviously was dressed in his wedding outfit looking exceedingly smart and we were both stranded in our jeans! Soon the whole extent of our situation dawned on us when it hit me that not only did we not have our clothes for the wedding, but I had no makeup and even the hair brush was missing in action. The two receptionists had overheard our conversation and were so troubled by our predicament that they offered to drive us a few miles to the nearest shops to buy an outfit for the wedding. I really cannot imagine any hotel in London doing that. As I refused to show up at the wedding in jeans, our only other option was to try our luck at these shops.

I guarantee you that buying clothes in fifteen minutes is a feat that even the most professional of shoppers would find daunting and after running in and out of shops I had all but given up. It was when we were about to head back to the hotel that in my desperation I picked up an outfit hoping it would fit and do the job. By the time we got back to the hotel we had about seven minutes before the wedding ceremony began and unlike our weddings, these weddings usually begin on time. My husband refused to walk in after the ceremony started so I had five minutes to get to our room, change and literally get to the church on time (okay it was actually a hall in the hotel...). Now to make matters worse, our room was right at the other end of the hotel so my husband made me run as fast as I could --- up the stairs, through countless numbers of corridors to the room. Once we got there, in his desire to be seated before the bride walked down the aisle, my other half decided to assist me with the removal of my boots but in his haste forgot to unzip them so there was a lot of tugging and “why's it not coming off” and “that's my leg you're trying to pull off” being bandied back and forth! But I pat myself on the back for getting changed in record time. I nearly had a heart attack running back down the corridors and avoided being concussed by the swinging doors my husband had just run past and actually made it into the hall and onto the seats with about thirty seconds to spare.

Now if you could see us, you would find my husband still in his jeans and t-shirt looking less like the groom's boss and more like the local electrician! And me wearing an outfit I really did not want to be wearing, with no makeup and not even a comb through my hair! All the men were suited and booted and the women were in their pretty dresses with their high heels while I was still in my clumpy boots. But you just have to laugh and take even the most awkward things in your stride so we smiled and chatted trying to ignore the looks of the other guests who were obviously perplexed by our choice of attire.

What else could go wrong you think, well we finally reclaimed our bag back before going to bed and lo and behold our new camera was missing! Trying desperately hard not to have a sense of humour failure, I told my husband that at least we still had our toothbrushes and paste as I had not seen a chemist anywhere near the hotel!

Our journey back was less eventful and apart from reporting our missing camera, we made it home without much ado. All I can say is that as the groom's boss and his wife, we definitely made quite an impression at the wedding --- but probably not the one we had in mind...

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