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The MaKings of TomNClari

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

Tom and I met in the middle of the wilderness so to speak. At the very depth of it, on Good Friday, with the cross hanging above our heads, God introduced me to the man I had been praying for over the years.

So, if you look carefully, you will notice that purple was a primary part of our color palette which my architectural genius of a cousin, Chrisann, developed. The palette also included yellow and blue, for the sands and waters that are quite characteristic of the places both of us grew up in (Tom is from Long Island, me by the Persian Gulf).

“Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left." - Gen 24:49

That has always been our prayer, even now. “God, tell us if this was meant to be.” It certainly wasn’t straightforward. If anything, it made no sense. None of us expected, very traditional, very Bollywood Clarice to marry a gora. Not even Clarice. And Tom’s parents too were also wondering "Umm, today you're in seminary, tomorrow packing your bags to Dubai to be with a random girl we’ve never met?!" So naturally, we got a few warnings: how do you know this is it? You’ve never had a relationship. What will people say? So many marriages aren’t going well today, what guarantee this will go well?

No one could explicitly tell us, yes or no. But our surety came from the signs, the clues that God had planted all around us, starting with the marriage of Mary and Joseph, our patrons, right up to the many witnesses of Love in our lives today, within our families and friends.

Over time, we started to see what we were always taught about marriage: we look different, we are different, but we go together so well. We need each other. In our insignia, both Tom and my fingerprints have our individual logos embedded at their tops. One of the things that we had started to realize pretty early on in our journey is that the signs and directions were really already there, like clues waiting to be unraveled. We all kept being drawn to it.

Since we were engaged, I was tickled by the thought of telling people: this is obviously an arranged marriage. I would like to think our marriage was arranged, just not through or all this ristha-making through my mangi aunties. But we still needed all of them with and around us…

So the date was set, we needed our people to come be a part, to discover all that awaited, to join us as one heart. It was always meant to be, destined by God, woven into our very being. Our role in this was to discover and say “Yes, may it be done according to your will.”

Even during a pandemic when we were all “running short of wine”. During the wedding and after, so many people told us that they realized during the wedding how much they missed being together, feeling loved and surrounded by family. It had been so long since all of us had enjoyed each other's company and celebrated anything together. I had never met Tom’s family in person, and my family across the globe had been deprived of a big-fat “Mendonca wedding” for way more than we could tolerate.

For the uninitiated, our wedding was probably a regular affair. But for us and our people, it was our Cana miracle, the best wine, the one made of love and togetherness. And isn’t that ultimately what marriage and family offers us? The chance to love and be loved by just being together.

Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho ... to puri kainaat usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai

Our wedding was full. Full of the people we loved, those we missed, the emotions we all felt, and those that we never thought we’d feel. I think our wedding was pretty ordinary and beautiful like that: all the drama, the joy, the obligations, the showing off.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. - 1Corinthians 13:1-3

If we could help it, we wanted love to be at the center of everything we did for our wedding. In fact, we tried as much as possible to make this less of a show for the world, and more of a way to use and reflect our gifts and relationships within our families. Several elements of the wedding were like hidden gems, a symbolic ode to the story of love, our story of love, and our families’ story of love. I think the wedding was both intentionally and naturally authentic to us.

I had an exclusive couture wedding gown crafted by the Michael Cinco of my world: my mother. My dress just had to be made by my mother. It was an unsaid, duh rule, and wasn't even discussed. Ultimately, we incorporated these beautiful peacock feather lace to represent my Indian heritage, this repetitive motif work that pretty much mimicked church decor, and the pearl detailing that symbolized my Dubai upbringing.

My jewelry as well was sourced to match pearl and motif detailing from the dress, gifted to me by my Neesha and Eugene, music teacher-turned-family friend-turned-mother of my first godchild and her husband.

Dada was the official wedding invitation creator. In classic Perfectionist Peter fashion, we (Larissa, our design friend, Austin, and my parents) spent ALOT of time perfecting the envelop folds, selecting the paper, engineering the logo coming together, putting together the words. I had also worked with one of my family’s resident poet, Melissa, to come up with the riddle at the front of the card, and another one of the cousins’ Konkani veterans, Brazilia, to come up with the words for the roce card. Of course, we had Winston, our unrivaled tech guru, who put together a whole automated guest management system. And above all we found the perfect wedding planner in Austin. Everything from planning and organization, guest experiences, working with the venues, putting up with very strong opinions and demands, managing many many emotions. Austin was our anchor and lamppost.

Another obvious feature at the wedding were the church flowers. Prema aunty, my Godmother, worked with us to incorporate flowers and plants from the gardens of our two Little Anne’s (Tom and my mother’s). So we had bougainvillea and daisies and lilies and petunias and morning glories. Special among them were the money plants (a mangi staple, but also happened to be grown by Tom’s mum) and tree jasmine (that my father would pick up from the ground and bring to my mom during the winters).

In that sense, people were excited, they wanted to do things. My godfather, Anil, made personalized keychains and wallets and hats and chappals and all kinds of things with our logo and colors on them. Everyone contributed to SOO many hashtags. Tom’s mother wrote up the universal prayer for us. His friend, Fr. Astor, organized a holy hour in preparation.

Prayers, and tons of prayers, were prayed in earnest. Even if people were unable to make it, we had overwhelming support and fellowship. Even in death, we had our loved ones close to us. Our dear American “mai”, Sue, sewed the ring cushion using her own wedding lace. My cousin, Melitta, put together some fun table games. Another cousin, Clinton, helped us with the picture reveal...Through everyone’s prayers and wishes, we have been able to discover our calling. It helps us look back and know that we are loved, to reflect on what a journey it’s been and only dream of what incredible things lie ahead.

All of this would not have been possible if we did not follow whatever “His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you’.” And so:

May it be done to me according to your will.

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