Last night, my husband and I threw an engagement party for a dear, dear friend of mine – Noreen Mir and her finance Andy Kinghorn. I got to know Noreen fairly recently in life, about four or five years ago when I started woking at RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong). But in this short amount of time, she has become one of the colors that defines my life canvass.

Noreen is incredibly smart, completely zany and the darling of Radio 3. On a day-to-day basis she and I celebrate the goofball nature of life. She is the Sino-Pak (half Pakistani, half Chinese), I am the through-bred Desi. Our purpose is to play while we work, without being constrained by the realms of political correctness. Noreen has the remarkable knack of getting people to eat out of the palm of her hands within just five minutes, be it stay-at-home dads or high level politicians. But what draws me to her is her incredible ability to laugh and love…and be a beacon to ships on a stormy night…without ever letting on how she herself has steered her own journey through life’s typhoons.

In India, we customarily look to our elders for wisdom but in reflecting upon my friendship with Noreen, I am reminded of old Vedic wisdom which says that in life, there are no chances encounters. Each day, I learn so much from this remarkable young woman and if ever I wonder why it took forty years for my path to cross hers, she underscores it all with an old Chinese saying – ‘Water running down different hills eventually meets in the sea.’ Noreen and I descended different mountains but eventually met in the ocean.

When I started thinking about all the practical wedding gifts I could give Noreen and Andy, I recalled the excitement of my own nuptials almost twenty years ago. Although the wedding itself was an entirely fun and memorable affair, one of the most euphoric moments was the engagement party that my college roommate, Cheryl Liechty threw for us in New York city almost a year before. It was an opportunity to celebrate our love before the stress of wedding planning took over the reigns. I have always cherished Cheryl’s gift and last night was my opportunity to do the same for Noreen.

For me it was the perfect opportunity for my pilot day of the 100 Saree Pact. Purple and blue in honor of Noreen, purple being her favorite color. I like to think that maybe twenty years from now, Noreen will host an engagement party for young friend who has recently entered her life. Perhaps this could serve as a passing of the baton … or perhaps it would simply be Karma.

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