It Was a Lovely Wedding / What Happened?

Two poems by Srimala

It was a lovely Wedding

It was a lovely wedding.
The bride was a picture,
lived up to her name,
Sundari — means beautiful
and she really was.
But it was the bride’s mother
I thought
who stole the show.
She was wearing the most stunning outfit.
A far cry from the old linen look
we all thought she’d wear.
Some of the family
hardly recognised her.
Thoroughly impressed they were.
She even went to town
and bought a hat,
though I heard she got cold feet
at the last moment
until her friends egged her on.
Took a morning off work they did,
and went shopping.
Not the sort of thing they usually do up there, I’m told.
They’re very religious
in an odd sort of way
and always weighed down
with responsibility.
It seems they were supposed
to be talking about women’s things
while the men bonded.
So off they went — shopping
to buy a hat for her daughter’s wedding.
I dare say they’d be in trouble
with the authorities,
if they knew.
Oh! but it was worth it.
She really looked the part.
Nearly poked a few eyes out
but still
she was determined to keep it on
all evening.
Wanted to get her money’s worth,
she said.
Wanted to do it properly
to please her daughter,
she said.
But I think she did it to please herself.
She’s an Anagarika, you know,
and they don’t have a lot of fun.

What happened?

What happened?
You came late to the weekend
and planned to leave straight after it.
Hadn’t I made my suggestion clear to you?
Didn’t you think this would be an opportunity
for us to spend some time together?
There’s never enough of it when we are on retreat.

You are important to me as a friend.
You are necessary to me in my work.
My work is your work too.
We are building the sangha.
Our work, our Path, our duty is friendship.
How could you allow
other concerns
to get in the way of our meeting?

I’m afraid my puzzlement turned to annoyance.
I’d come thousands of miles
to meet with you again.
I expected you to make time for me.

But I had forgotten that expectations
usually lead to disappointment.
I had forgotten my own words
that I stress over and over again —
Patience and Determination.
I had forgotten to simply hope
and to work creatively
with whatever the situation turned out to be.
I’m sorry.

I was wrong to think
I had adjusted so easily.
I must be more on my guard.
There is still so much more adjusting to do,
after all,
to be really in India
and to look at things
from your point of view.