Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hanky Panky

So I went to my second wedding over the weekend, and this time my entire 22 person group was invited. So of course our hoard of loud Americans comes dressed in our brand new sarees and eat everything in sight. Now, I didn’t actually buy a saree, but I told my host mom that most everyone else bought one to wear to the wedding. She gets all flustered and tells me that I have to wear a saree if my group is dressing up. The flashy thing I got last time just won’t do with so many fancy Americans. Hmm. Then she asks me what kind of earrings I have, to which I respond none. I didn’t bring any jewelry here. It’s rustic and quaint right? My mom doesn’t try to hide her shock and says “Nuhhhthing? You have no earrings?” And I tell her again that I brought not a single piece of jewelry with me. I’ve committed such a sin against females. It’s 7 and my ride is coming at 8:30 for the wedding, but she throws on her shawl and announces that we have to go buy earrings. On the way to the first store, I remark that people respect me much more when I’m walking with her. She very seriously replies, “They know that if they try any hanky panky with you, I’ll insult them!” Thank goodness.
We go to two stores before finding a pair that she finds fancy and, frankly, gaudy enough to match the saree she wants me to wear. Oh and conveniently it’s a two for one “scheme,” so I buy two pairs of large gold earrings with crazy bright gem stones. The pair weighs about the same as my cell phone. I spent 890 rupees to turn my ears purple by the end of the night.
So I borrow one of her sarees, which is chiffon and expensive, so I‘m super worried about ruining it or getting it dirty. The more my mom tucks and folds me in saree the more I realize I have to pee. By the time she finishes, I’m  cross-your-legs desperate to piss and I sheepishly ask her how to use the bathroom in a saree. Then, for the second time while in India, someone has to show me how to go to the bathroom. The first time was in orientation from the Indian version of Borat in a youtube video about Indian toilets, aka a ceramic hole in the ground with a water hose to “wash.” Peeing in a saree is the most delicate and careful thing I’ve done since I’ve been here. Before I leave, my mom asks if I want a picture in my first saree. My dad gets super excited about it and says “Yes! Yes! A photo shoot for your parents. Come to our couch!!” They take me into their never sat in family room and have me sit on a couch below a painting of his grandfather. Then my mom re-does my hair so that everyone can see my new earrings.  They both command me during the pictures as the dad gives me a play by play of the photos he’s taking. “Now for a close-up. Now don’t smile; be an Indian. Now smile; be American. Now stand and show the saree. Turn this way to catch the light.” I could hear their son stifling his laugh in the next room.

1 comment:

  1. SOOO where is this picture then hmmm???

    ps this is sarah, i dont know how to comment