Shopping for sarees can be a fun time, especially when accompanied by a mother who firmly believes that your taste happens to tend towards the bizarre and a fiance who believes that your taste happens to tend towards the bizarre, “weird but you can totally carry it off”…
A south Indian wedding shopping spree starts and ends with plans on the bride’s trosseau and centers around shopping for sarees – the gorgeous Kanchivarams, the sheer cotton silk tussar sarees and the nine-yards saree that is a must when the bridegroom ties the knot around your neck and hangs you till death do us part.
It was a weekday that we embarked on this mission, duly getting the date when shopping could be done from the friendly neighbourhood astrologer (whose way of diving the date seemed to be asking me when I could actually get off from office and checking to ensure that the dates did not clash with possible festivals).
The fiance wanted to be let off and had to be threatened with more than a call.
“Do I need to be there? What would I do?”
“You could help me select the sarees”
“You never listen to me anyway, your taste is different from mine”
“Yes, but mummy is coming with me”
“And she will select the sarees and force me to buy what she thinks is appropriate”
“So put your foot down and say you will buy what you want. You do that with me often enough”
“It doesn’t work. No daughter can gainsay her mother during wedding shopping unless she has backup”
“I can’t take off work”
“You know we are colour co-ordinating our clothes, so if I end up with a florescent yellow saree, I am getting you something in puce”
“I am on my way”.
So T.Nagar was the choice for the shopping, where else could we decide to vacillate between shops while my mother made her mind up as to what she could con me into getting.
We entered Pothys, an ugly green coloured building only to look on in dismay as we realised all the fiery eyed brides had had the brilliant idea that had suggested itself to my astrologer and were fighting over a few good sarees while the shop assistants milled around trying to bring order to the shop.
I was shown some silk sarees and then introduced to the “Samudrika Pattu”, a new type of silk saree that has been advertised so much to us through every possible media, including my milkman who decided he would help us choose the “best possible sarees for kozhanda” (never mind that the kozhanda is a 28 year old woman who winces everytime the people around address her as such)
The saree shown looked like every other silk saree I had seen and was thrice as costly. When questioned, I was told that the saree was thicker than the usual saree and so would last longer. I don’t think they appreciated my pointing out that I wasn’t sure I wanted the saree to last longer since I would like to change them once so often to keep up with the trends and also would like to wear something that did not feel like it was a tussle between me and the saree which was trying to pull me down.
We moved to Nalli’s to get the other sarees required, one of which is for the Suhag Raat, the one we call “first night” and hush hush about.
While trying to choose one, I saw a beautiful green saree and called out to mum saying ,”What about this for the first night?”
Mum came running to me, looking scandalised while hushing me, she whispered,”You can’t say that aloud. What will people think?”
“Can’t say what?”
“What you just said?”
Meanwhile, a man is busy laughing at me from behind and trying to pretend like he is busy looking at other sarees. He just happened to be the man I will be marrying soon (if he continues to behave) and seemed interested for the first time through the entire shopping.
“You shouldn’t say it. Say 8th night”
“Why 8th night”
In the meantime, a whisper in my ear, “I refuse to abstain for the first seven nights” and a quick glare to hush the miscreant.
“You are getting married on the 8th!”
“Oh, ok. That makes sense. Really”.
Needless to say, we finally returned with about four to five sarees, a red faced mother who swore her daughter was the worst when it came to not knowing when to speak aloud, a fiance who decided he loved saree shopping as long as he could listen in on conversations that were meant to be “private” and one sorry daughter who wondered if they would ever get any colours for the groom that wouldn’t clash with her clothes!