Friday, 22 August 2014

The Saree Saga .. An old memoir



“What!!! Have you gone nuts?” I asked divi and looked towards mini with confusion. But she was looking in some other direction.
“Miniiiiiiii” I called her loudly, “aumm, what, what  ...She answered as someone has suddenly disturbed her and broke the flow of her “creative thinking”.  I looked her in an irritating mode, “are you listening to what am I saying”?
“Yes, I listened sound and clear,” she replied in a calm manner. I turned back to divi, “do you understand what are you saying you know us very well and still asking this? Mini say something, what are you thinking?”

 Now before you people get more confused, let me introduce you with us, Mini, that is Yamini my best friend and my childhood buddy. I am Sunayana and we were at Divya’s place, divya is our close friend and we were talking about her marriage functions.

Divya’s marriage used to remind me a lot of things which I experienced for the first time in my life. Here I am going to tell you a little bit of those experiences.

 Like all other girls divya was very much excited about her marriage and in that flow of excitement she asked something. Let’s get back to our conversation to know the whole story.

 First she smiled and then started speaking with a very sweet and soft voice, “listen yaar, I want you girls to wear saree on my wedding”. Now that was the moment when I almost jumped from my seat, and expressed in above manner.   While divya continued with her sweet tone, “Oh come on’, its my wedding, and once I will go to my in-law’s house then when I will get a chance to see you people in such a traditional dress-up. There is Mini, who always wear western outfits and you…who always follows her own style”.  With these words of hers’ my eyes and mouth both fall wide open and my eyes filled with so many emotions at a time such as anger, surprise and awfulness.

“.. ..  both of you are my close friends and you have to be with me all the time during the ceremony, so you should look like the maids of honour not just casual friends. Am I expecting too much from you?”  (Now what is this, once again I tried to understand what exactly she was trying to say)

 She made such a cute and innocent face that made it tough to express my confusion and irritation for a few moments. When all this drama was going on Mini was quiet reluctant towards our conversation, as if she has nothing to do with all this. Therefore, I tried to pull her into this matter.

“But divi you know us, we never wore saree and such things, don’t you know that”? How will I manage and how  will I walk?” (If she can do emotional blackmailing, then why can’t I)
 I asked her in a soft and sympathetic voice and looked towards Mini for some kind of support.

Finally, Mini joined the conversation, “look divi, we will not be comfortable in saree and a shalwar suit also gives a traditional look, so do not worry about this casual formal issue.”
However, she did not seem impressed with our weak argument, but she did not make any further conversation on this topic. However, she made such face as if we are disappointing her a lot and making her sad on such an important occasion. Hence, Yamini and I came back to my house.

“Ok, so now what to do?” I asked Yamini.

“I think we should respect her wish, she is right, it’s her wedding and being a good friend we can do this for her”.
“Mini, you too!!!?” I almost screamed with irritation.

 That raised Yamini’s anger, “do not act like as if only you are concerned about it. What do you think I am really happy with this saree drama, you know very well that I don’t like to wear such costumes and all  but we will still do it.”

“I am not going to wear any saree, if you want to do this, go ahead, but do not drag me into this,” I spoke in a cold manner and moved towards kitchen.  She shouted behind me, “come back here and stop eating…”
“I am not eating anything,” I replied in same manner.
“Then what are you doing in the kitchen?” she shouted back on me.
“I want to drink water”, I answered as I opened the door of refrigerator.

“Every time when we are discussing something important, either you want to eat or drink something.”

“Awwwww…” I came back, sat in front of her, and looked into her face. She started speaking in a soft manner, “look, I know you don’t want to do this, even I too do not like to dress up in saree. But every time we cannot think about ourselves only, sometimes we need to think about others too.”
“But I can not carry the saree I will sure fell down. Do you want me to face such embarrassment in front of so many people?”

“Nothing as such will happen, trust me, we have ten days to go for her wedding. All we need to do some preparations.. We will do this all together”
“How much you know about sarees?” I asked her in a teasing manner.
“Well, I have worn saree on a couple of occasions”, she replied with a speedy manner.
“What? When? You never told me.” I was highly surprised on this new information.
“Nothing important as such, at some family function I had to wear.” She tried to cut the conversation, “I am telling you it’s not that much important”. However, her answer did not satisfy me, but I was in no mood to extend this saree conversation so I remain silent. I was not ready to believe that we are actually going to do this. That day we could not reach to any conclusion or decision, but after that conversation I understood whether I like or not, but I have to be a part of all this.

 Mini make me ready to wear saree with a promise that she will help me to do this and of course with abundant number of arguments in favor of saree.

First, we had to choose a saree. I rejected many sarees with dark shades and heavy work.  But Mini found a purple banarsi saree in my mom’s wardrobe. It was looking quite simple yet elegant. After the saree, now it was the time for some other surprises for me. Mini asked me to come with her for some shopping, she told me that her sister in-law kanchan will also accompany us. She did not tell me what exactly we are going to purchase, but soon the curtain rose up, and I found myself selecting choories, bangles, choosing sari broaches and bindees etc.  Though I tried to create a lot of hue and cry like, how can I wear such fancy items, I don’t like this, I am not going to wear them at all and most of all, are you crazy, what do you think of me?…and such things. But nothing affects Mini and kanchan bhabhi as she said, “relax, sonu there is always a first time”. Finally we chose a set of matching purple choories, a purple colored diamond brooch and stone bindies.

After reaching home I thought..Ok its all over now, but no I was wrong, the dress rehearsals were still waiting for me. Mini was really concerned about how I am going to wear the saree and how I will manage my walk with that. Therefore, she asked me to take some trials at home so I would be comfortable on the reception. Obviously all these preparations were not pleasing for me, but there was no escape, after all it was our friend’s wedding, people don’t get marry again and again in their life.

When all these things were going on, my mother who was just calmly watching all these activities of mine, entered in the scene when Mini and I were trying to wrap the saree on me or better I would say I was fighting with that poor clothe. She smiled at me and without saying anything she started tiding saree around me. After wearing it, I stood straight with my hands on my waist and looked at both of them.

“How is it?”
“Pathetic, leave your hands free and let them hang downwards, otherwise in this position you are looking like a house maid,” Mini answered.
Well after that day I wore the saree a couple of times at home and took a walk, everything seemed fine. Finally, the day has come, but before that there was a sangeet night.  Mom gave me a new dress when I was digging my wardrobe for a dress “suitable for the evening”. For a moment I was surprised, when she purchased this!!! It was a royal blue color satin dress with an upper lining of mat cream and grey tissue fabric, an elegant cream colored net dupatta was enhancing its grace.  She asked me, “how is it…pretty isn’t it ?”
“Heavy. Too much glittery”
Obviously mom did not like this response, but she did not express it. Anyway I wore the dress in a hurry and left for Divya’s house. Yamini and I both reached together at her home.
“Hey Sonu your dress is awesome.” Mini liked my dress.

When we entered into the hall, dance and music were on full swing. Divya was sitting at the one side of hall surrounded by her cousins and aunts. Two girls were making mehandi designs on her hand. She saw us and shouted, “hey come, sit here.”
Next moment she noticed my dress and with huge expression of surprise on her face, she said,” Sonu your dress is extremely pretty”. Her cousin sister Susheela also gave me the same remark. Now it was my time to feel a bit shy. Mini and I sat near divya, I was carefully looking at those mehandi girls, and actually they were divi’s cousins.  When diva noticed me watching them, she asked me whether I would like to have mehandi on my palms, but I refused immediately. She did not force me more. Soon they finished their work and Divya stood up and went to greet some of her relatives.

Mini and I were left alone in that corner; I found there some cones of mehandi. I took them, Mini also took one and started making some design on her hand and she made a floral design along with ganpati on her palm. Me too tried to make some design, but realized that it’s not my area of expertise. Suddenly I heard a voice, “may I help you, let me do it”. It was Susheela, with those words she took the cone and made some nice design on my palm. I looked at my palms and felt a very strange feeling; it was the first time when my hands were decorated with mehandi. I did not get much time to enjoy that moment when divi came to us and she astounds with joy, “Sonu you have got mehandi on your hands, I cannot believe this.”

I looked at her, a glow of happiness was on her face, “is it really good?” I asked her.
“It’s amazing, your dress, now this mehandi, Sonu I am very happy today”.
Mini gave me a meaningful look, I did not say anything, I wasn’t assured about what exactly I was feeling, but I was enjoying and trying to indulge myself in this process.
Next day was the wedding, the reception evening for which we were preparing. I wore that purple saree with mom’s help and off course those accessories also which I purchased with Mini. But I have to accept that I was not feeling comfortable with the burden of pleats on my shoulder and my efforts to be comfortable in saree spoiled the fitting and arrangements of saree.

Both of us reached at venue separately, but at same time. I was highly surprised to see Yamini in saree. It was the first time when I saw her in saree, she was looking gorgeous. Her magenta chiffon saree with golden zari border was catching everyone’s attention. Obviously she did not like my saree style. But first we went to meet divya; she was sitting in a separate room inside the marriage hall building. She was looking extremely pretty in the orange-peach bridal costume.  Then, Yamini took me to another room for resetting my saree, according to her it was completely messy or that was I who made it messy. (I don’t know exactly) she rearranged the pallu and put lots of safety pins here and there on saree to make it tight fit. I looked myself in a mirror and felt satisfied.

After that whole night, we ran from one place to other, divya kept us completely occupied with many things as well as standing on our feet.
Early morning at 4:00 am, after her “Vidaai” we took a sigh of relief and sat in a corner of hall. We both were badly tired and exhausted. But I was not in a mood to stay quiet, lots of things were running in my mind, “so, finally I did it, I managed the saree very well, did not slip, nor my feet entangled with saree and most important the saree did not cause any “embarrassment”. Did you see how I was doing everything with an ease, walking, climbing stairs and all..?” I was giggling and talking in a childish manner.

Yamini calmly answered, “Sunayana, you are now a mature and grown up girl you can easily handle these things and many other things as well, there is nothing unusual or extraordinary.” 
“But did you see when I was..” before I complete my sentence Yamini gave me a serious yet bored and indifferent look  and my words remained in my mouth. I turned my face down and muttered “I did it.” My eyes were sparkling with a satisfaction as if I have completed a very tough task. But I couldn’t enjoy the moment for a long as Veeren bhaiya came to us. Veeren is Mini’s elder brother and it was his responsibility to bring us home back if we get late at function.
“Can we go home now?”
“Oh yes, we are very much tired and feeling sleepy”, we both spoke together.
“Thank god you people are tired”, and with this comment he moved towards parking lot and we also followed him. After few moments, in the car I was thinking about wedding function, divya and off course saree, once again my eyes blinked and a smile ran on my face as if I have done a “mature mischief”.



Image Courtesy : Google

You can read the alternate the end of this story Here




3 comments:

Bhavana Lalwani said...

This is actually an old post written couple of years ago.. I have posted it again on this blog..

Anita said...

Very nicely expressed, Bhavana!
The conversations are so true-to-life :)
I could imagine the entire episode! This is the way we react when we have to wear Saris. It's a big deal. Great that it turned out to be a good satisfactory experience :)

Maniparna Sengupta Majumder said...

hehe..I can relate to the post very well. But once you can manage it ( though it's really difficult) you're sure to look awesome ! ...