Thursday, June 12, 2008

Testimonial

My Very Best Friend is getting married this September. It has been 22 years, but I remember the day we met like it was just yesterday. It was the first day of school in Grade One and my mum was ushering me into the classroom and asking me where I’d like to sit. As I looked around the classroom at all the little girls bawling their eyes out, I recall feeling rather alarmed. Not because I was afraid to be at school – I had been looking forward to this all summer – rather because I’d never seen so many girls crying all at once! I scanned the classroom and decided to sit besides the only other little girl who wasn’t crying. The rest as they say is history.

Very Best Friend met her soon-to-be husband when she was studying in Glasgow and now she needs to apply for a spousal visa to be able to get back into the country so that she marry The Man of her Dreams and live happily ever after. The church has been booked and the minister has been notified; the deposit on the reception room has been paid, the invites have been printed and the bride and groom have their wedding gear on a hanger ready to go. All that stands between Very Best Friend and her wedding is one of the immigration officers at the British High Commission in Bombay.

To prove that this is not a marriage of convenience and that they are not out to pull a fast one on Her Majesty’s Government, Very Best Friend and Man of Her Dreams have to provide various pieces of evidence that support the existence of their 2 year relationship. And since I met husband to be (her’s not mine) when I was there in December 2006, VBF asked me to write a letter of personal recommendation.

As I struggled with this particular request, I couldn’t but help laugh at the irony of someone like me – who is the farthest away from being able to sustain a healthy and viable relationship – as the one being asked to testify to love.

The first draft of the letter looked something like this:

Dear Mr. /Ms. Immigration Officer,
The first boy who ever paid an iota of interest in me was (as I later discovered) cozying up to me only to get closer to a good friend of mine who was the actual object of his affections. Although I wasn’t particularly bowled over by him and his attentions, when the truth came out I still felt the sting. My last boyfriend broke up with me OVER THE PHONE 3 days after I came back from a 4 month vacation. Talk about a kill joy. Over the 3 days since my return he repeatedly dodged my phone calls and emails. All 14 of them. Did I mention that we had been dating for 4 years? And oh yeah, I also later found out that one of the primary reasons he wasn’t taking my calls was because he was out dating someone else.
Suffice to say, I have not been lucky with love. Lying Cheating Self Centered Bast*rds seem to be my lot in life. I wouldn’t say that I am done with love (there’s the eternal optimist in me) but at this point in my life, I’m not about strongly advocating it either. In my opinion it is a whole lot of work for very little results – that too not guaranteed.
So you should particularly note when I now write to you to vouch for the validity of this couple. Being around them makes me want to believe in love again. Makes me want to give it another try. Can I say any more?

Now, please give my Very Best Friend her visa so that at least one of us can live Happily Ever After.
Sincerely etc.

After MANY MANY rewrites, this is what I came up with:


Dear Sir/Madam,
I have had the pleasure of knowing Ms. Very Best Friend for the past 22 years. We met in Grade school and developed our friendship over the 10 years in Elementary and High School and then later at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai.

The Very Best Friend family happened to live just down the road and it was a common practice for VBF and myself to be popping into each others houses. Even after her family moved away from the neighbourhood our two families remained close, meeting often for birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and other occasions. For as long as I can remember, VBF has been an integral part of all my family celebrations and is well acquainted with my extended family as well. Although my family immigrated to Canada in July of 2001, we have maintained close relations in spite of the geographical separation.

I was very pleased to hear of her acquaintance with Man of Her Dreams (MoHD) back in late 2005 when they met while working at the XXX in Glasgow. I gathered from her emails and our conversations that he had soon become an important part of her life. They began dating in May and I had the pleasure of meeting him in person in December 2006 when I visited VBF for a week. During that stay, I got well acquainted with MoHD as he took time to show me around Glasgow. We met several times over the duration of my holiday and I found him to be a kind and generous individual and it was evident that together they made a good team.

VBF returned to Mumbai in January of 2007 and in April that year, MoHD made a visit to India to meet her family. It was on that trip that they became formally engaged – an event that was witnessed and celebrated by her family and close friends.

VBF asked me to be maid of honour at the wedding and I accepted with great pleasure. The wedding was supposed to be this April, but sadly her paternal grandmother passed away last November and both MoHD and she thought that it was only fitting to push back the wedding so that the family could pay proper respects to the deceased.

Like any couple in love, they are not enjoying their current separation, but planning out the details for their September wedding makes the time fly by, and thankfully they have all the conveniences of modern communication to make the separation bearable! MoHD even made a quick visit to Mumbai this January as a surprise for VBF’s birthday and they spent a happy two weeks together before he had to return back to his PhD studies at the University of Paisley. Still, I know that they are looking forward to the time when they can be together again, and this time for the rest of their lives.

I am extremely happy for my friend right now as I see that she had found someone who loves respects and truly cares for her and who I am certain will make a great compliment as a life partner. I am very much looking forward to being at the wedding this September and see them take the step into married life as their love and commitment to each other continues to grow and develop.

Sincerely,
Jaded, but Happy Maid of Honour.

2 comments:

Scribbler said...

You never know--the first version of the letter might just work like a charm!

The Pixy Princess said...

You think? Somehow, people who deal with immigration just don't strike me as having a decent sense of humour - if they even have one at all!

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