This is to my beloved Indo-Chinese family and friends who accepted me into their life and their culture.
Papa-Mama asked me if I wanted to say something on my wedding day. I knew I wanted to but I also knew that it had to be done right. Luckily, the inspiration came to me right away. One night in bed, I picked up the pen in the hotel room and quickly wrote down the whole speech. It only took me less than one hour from start to finish and I never looked at it again until right before my speech. What I am trying to say is that this turned out to be an easy task and later on a smooth presentation because everything was just heartfelt. The draft that I was holding while speaking was merely a tool to remind me of what was really coming right from my heart.
I have typed it all down here so that more people can share my deepest joy and pride. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
After spending just these few days in India, I realized one thing loud and clear: WE ARE RICH. Let me explain. I am not talking about material wealth. I am saying that we are rich in cultural heritage, rich in love and devotion, and rich in our beliefs.
First of all, we are rich in cultural heritage. I am mesmerized by the bright colors, the beautiful dresses, the singing and dancing, the crazily delicious food, the fascinating languages, the superb palaces and forts, and even the seemingly chaotic but perfectly functional traffic!
And I love how we place family and friends at the core of our value system. I believe that the world has a lot to learn from us in this regard. Papa-Mama have so many friends that I had to keep on saying “Namaste” to people everywhere I go. In fact, I was saying it so often that Papa had to make a deal with me saying that “Please only say Namaste if I do this (finger snapping gesture) to you.”
I really understand how important family and friends are to us. So thank you for always being there for us whenever we need you. Thank you for keeping us healthy and happy with your physical companionship and spiritual support.
Secondly, we are rich in love and devotion. I have traveled to a lot of places, but I’ve never seen a culture that celebrates life and expresses love in the way we do. Everywhere there are singing and dancing, kissing and blessing, and cooking and taking care of each other. We have so many functions, rituals, and parties. We find joy and laughter and become the cheerleader for ourselves and others under even the toughest times.
Now I am married to the Modi family, I am no longer observing it from an outsider’s perspective. I am now a proud Indian myself, and I can’t help but to enjoy life and show my affection and gratitude the Indian way, and I love it. It was only the second day after I arrived that I started to have Crying Parties because I was overloaded with joy and overwhelmed by the love and devotion.
Last but not the least, we are rich in our beliefs. Just take a look at the members of the Modi family and you will know what I mean. In the Modi family, we have poets, writers, engineers, dietitians, bodybuilders, doctors, artists, designers, singers, dancers, accountants, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and Dada the original innovator. We have everything! We are all doing what we are passionate about because we all dare to challenge ourselves and never give up. At the same time, we never forget to have fun and enjoy life. Because we know that life is not just about the destination; it is also about the journey itself. I love how when I asked Prateek Bhaiya and Chirag Bhaiya how the Modi’s manage to work hard and enjoy life at the same time and they both answered with a shrug of shoulders saying “We just manage.”
It might not sound like a big deal to them, but I know the answer to it. It is because we are rich in our beliefs. We believe in what we can achieve in life and we make it happen. We are all dreamers as well as doers.
That is the full speech I gave on Feb 25th. Even while typing it now I can still feel the blood flow going through my whole body. For me, it was such a blast writing it vigorously in bed one night, such a proud moment to deliver it during the Sangeet Function, and now such a beautiful memory in my heart.