I detest airports. There’s no fun, being inside a building that’s constantly buzzing like a giant beehive. And I don’t like flights, either. What’s so special about a metal capsule that happens to be a cesspool of germs? Nothing.

And yet, there I was, laptop and tote bag in hand, waiting in line to check in. And then bam, they announced the two-hour delay. Just peachy. The sky matched my mood, it was grey and gloomy and I was grey and gloomy. If there’s one thing I hate more than airports, it would have to be weddings. I hadn’t been home, and I hadn’t even seen my friends – in ages. But when your youngest cousin is getting married, you’ve to act happy, right? You can’t be a grumpy sourpuss and try to rain on someone’s parade, you know. Never mind the fact that you’d just started a business and had to take your work with you, even to the washrooms. No, siree.

I was pushing thirty, they liked to say, and still single – and was therefore, the black sheep of the family. All my cousins were married with kids and dogs and big a** houses, and here I was, the sore thumb, holed up somewhere, living a life that was falling apart and with no prospects, they liked to point out all the time, all by herself.

I never really feel sorry for myself. I’m doing okay. I have a custom clothing business that’s rather popular with influencers and I have a team and an office and everything. But I’m not a doctor or an engineer or a chartered accountant, and therefore, I’m unsuccessful and dumb. And I feel dumber when I’m around my family. So yay, go me, on my way to a wedding where I would be taken apart and scrutinized. FUN.

When I finally boarded, I made sure to enjoy the last few hours of peace. I guess I did enjoy that flight.

Nobody came to pick me up: no surprises there. I was adamant about staying at a hotel and nobody objected. Needless to say, my relationship with my own parents is strained and there’s no fixing things now.

I changed and did my makeup quickly and got into an Uber. It was the sangeet ceremony and I was already late. The instant I got into the backseat, it started pouring. I had to do a bit of a headless chicken run trying to get inside the damn venue. Try running in a lehenga that weighs as much as you do, and you’d know that’s some serious cardio right there.

When you’ve got Pammi aunties and Jaya aunties around, your life becomes a movie and these guys only exist for one sole purpose – fake constructive criticism. I had to endure some body-shaming and some makeup-shaming and some career shaming and some unmarried status shaming before I broke down. Indian weddings suck. I mean, I never cry. But that was a long flight. And I was hungry. But they also called me fat and ugly. My mother wasn’t even looking at me. I kept wishing she would just come over and tell me it was okay, but she seemed way too busy with the wedding that she would never get to have for her own kid, and so I left her alone. I went out and stood by myself in a corner, getting more drenched.

It was pouring. Tears were pouring.

I kept wishing I’d never shown up.

And then he showed up. And he had the kindest eyes. And he had booze. And we downed our sorrows. He was cute. He had the nicest smile. And no wedding band.

As we talked more, I realized that the rain had finally washed my mother’s misery away.