Several months ago my friend Tejal suggested that I share a room with her dear friend Lira at the wedding. Lira was a bridesmaid (and scarf recipient who kindly modeled for me) and staying at the inn where the rest of the bridal party was staying. So not only would it be economical, it would be easy and fun.
Tej sent an email to both of us with an introduction and the suggestion. She said we had a lot in common and that we'd like each other. We both thought it was a great idea.
What I discovered when we actually met last weekend is that Lira is extremely bright, funny, and dynamic. People are so drawn to her; she's like this gorgeous whirlwind of amazing positive energy swirling around. You can totally picture her circumnavigating the globe both for work and adventure, making new friends, collecting and connecting people, laughing all the while.
Coincidentally, we were both reading "Eat, Pray, Love," (so many people had recommended it to me!) and had both brought the book along. I had a New Yorker for back-up reading; she had an Economist.
On Saturday she handed me a wrapped gift. She said she'd picked it up when we were all out and about on Friday. It was a book - "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" - and she thought, as a fellow traveler, it was just very me. So sweet.
Before all this though, months ago when Tej first connected us, we emailed a little to tell each other a bit about ourselves. At the time, Lira was living and working in Amsterdam. She is Indian, and I mentioned I was born in India and how Tejal and I had immediately bonded over the India connection. We had a little back and forth on logistics. And then we didn't email again.
I turned up Thursday evening and the inn had set out the keys in labeled envelopes for late arrivals. There was one labeled "Lira" with keys inside. I took them, went up to the room, and got ready for the mehndi ceremony. No sign of Lira before I went downstairs.
At some point in the evening I was talking to a couple of Tejal's bridesmaids and this beautiful Indian woman strolled up to us. She gave us a big smile, stuck out her hand and said, "Hi! Lira."
And I put out my hand and said, "Lisa."
"No. Lira. With an R."
"I know. I'm Lisa. I'm your roommate!"
She laughed and gave me a slightly puzzled look. And then said that people always mistake her name as Lisa.
Later we were laughing about our introduction.
And then she said, "You know, when you said you were my roommate, the first thing I thought was, but you said you were Indian! And then I thought, huh, well, maybe she's an albino."