Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wardrobe Woes


Wedding, wardrobe, and women. Can it get more complex than that? Not unless it is a hung Delhi Assembly, 2013. Forget politics, let’s talk wedding shedding.

At a wedding this week, I realized I was stuck in the seventies like the Congress and the world had whizzed past in a swish broom stroke of AAP. Clearly, a lot had changed in the past decade.

In the old simple days, the bride was decked by relatives or friends who knew a thing or two about make-up. Today, like media to controversy, the entire women brigade is drawn to beauty salons. Looking exceptional is not an exclusive preserve of the bride or her friends on the threshold of life changing event. Sonipat Wali Chachi Ji also wants ‘matching-matching’ orchids in her hairdo. Poor thing! She remembered the orchids but forgot to wear underpants, revealing the satin skirt wedged between her ample derriere – embarrassingly obvious through the net fabric of her dress. Forgive me for this gross imagery but sometimes images express better than words.

To think that the ‘look-good’ business is women centric is as erroneous as BJP’s stand on homosexuality. As a result, the groom and his friends arrived much after midnight after a marathon spa session. If you ask me, men look better without lip gloss, blusher and foundation.

Like Obama at Mandela’s funeral, almost everyone gave in to the temptation of self-indulgence. The obsession of clicking selfies was obvious. No wonder ‘Selfie’ is the word of the year. Have you noticed that women are more interested in gawping at their own picture in any group photograph? Nothing wrong with that at all. When one is seeking acceptance on social media, the picture has to be perfect.

So, after tolerating high decibel Honey Singh, when my ear drums protested, I marched towards the DJ like Lalu Ji marched out on bail. Hands crossed at the back – chest out, stomach in.

Me: “Why don’t you play some soft music?”

I didn’t expect him to switch to instrumental music, but I was definitely expecting something more than an indifferent shrug.

Me: “Can you reduce the volume at least?”

Dismissing my dissent and ignoring me like the Congress ignored Shiela Dikshit, he increased the volume. And when I saw teens shaking rhythmically to the beat of ‘Aunty Police Bula Legi’, I decided to shove it. The ego was somewhat bruised, yes.

While waiting endlessly for the groom to arrive, older men sipped wine and women indulged in some solemn discussion about who’s going to wear what for the reception. My friend had a serious problem. She was agonizing over the fact that her footwear did not match her outfit. While we were tsk- tsking over her dilemma, my husband could hardly fathom the seriousness of this discussion.

No point explaining. He won’t get it. For any matching-matching business, you need two X chromosomes.

When it comes to clothes, it makes sense to go by your common-sense. That is, if you decide to give it a chance. At the end of the day, people remember you for how you conduct yourself. And not because your blouse displayed acres of back encased in golden threads. While looking good and dressing well is desirable, an obsession with both kills who you are.


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Picture Courtesy: pininterest.com


84 comments:

  1. Lovely post! :) you are so right when you say what people remember is the way you conduct yourself. Unfortunately in today's world most think it is only the appearance that matters :|

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  2. Super post Alka, I could visualize Sonipat wali chachiji's ample derriere ;) I agree with you that looks are important but obsession with looks can kill. Unfortunately, no one listens.

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  3. Ah, tis the season to be indulgent again, isn't it? The kind of money, effort and energy that people nowadays put into planning weddings, both their own and that of their kith and kin would put Raghuram Rajan and the Planning Commission to shame, wouldn't it? Nice post :D

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    1. Ideally, Rajan or Planning Commission mavens wouldn't want to attend a big fat wedding. But when it comes to their kith and kin, they indulge in similar ostentation.
      :)

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  4. I was smiling all along...yes, weddings have become entirely a different thing now. For my sister's wedding last year, I didn't want to spend on buying a new sari and wanted to wear one of my old pattu saris which I didn't wear more than once or twice. nah...family wouldn't let me...esp some folks..and yes, when it comes to matching...no men involved :)

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    1. High five! Understated elegance works for me.
      Thank you for reading dear.

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  5. The world doesn't look that different even at 28 :) Was at a wingmate's wedding in Lucknow, probably the richest among us all. My estimate is that they might have spent at least 8 crores, without accounting for the jewellery and other presents of course. Waste of money if you ask me. Plus, every marriage looks exactly the same. The same stage with two thrones, friends lifting them during the varmaala tussle ( as if its a surprise ), relatives lining up for pictures on stage ( for cover picture on fb ) and nobody waiting for the actual wedding at the end :P Its a big copy of a copy, isn't it?

    And all hell broke lose a couple of days back when I told my parents that I will go for court marriage :) Beats me.

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    1. Are you the only son Sri? No harm in rituals and customs but simplicity never harmed anyone. Yes, it is copy for others but for the family it is an memorable occasion.

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    2. No ma'm, thankfully there is one little brother as well :) He is normal, unlike me.
      I can understand some, if not all, of what makes you say that its a memorable occasion. It is indeed. But it is also an opportunity, more importantly, to change things for better. Rather than doing everything that is unimportant and irrational, one can always go for a more personal scheme of celebration. But of course, vision is an attribute of individual and others, in all probability, can not share it. So... that I understand as well.

      My friends' ( who happened to be my flatmate then ) sister got married in Delhi and I did not attend because they gave money as something called Tilak. Later he told me that most of the relatives who came over didn't even know who is the bride :)

      My contention is that if this is the only time one is getting married, why not give it a more personal touch. Something that speaks of the person one is, rather than a template which is generic, and inherently irrational. Court marriage is also an affirmation of the fact that more than my place/caste of birth, I am a believer in laws of this country. A weak argument, but I genuinely believe so.

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    3. I appreciate your sentiments. If you and your 'would be wife' believe in a court marriage, so be it. No one can complain. After all, its your life. You can use the same money for other important things.
      I belong to Eastern UP and we have Tilak too. Tilak expenses can range from thousands to crores depending on the demand and supply. :)) But I can see several positive changes. These days, boys put their foot down against expenses and rightly so.

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  6. Don't know what people will remember you by in the long run but it surely looks like your photoshopped profile pic may be the last thing they remember about you :). Even for my shaadi 13 years back, I preferred the parlor lady to do the makeup because I wanted no loudness just natural colors. And for some of these weddings and receptions, I have come across very elegant women dressed simply and yet looking gorgeous. Forget shaadis, aaj kal toh log parties ke liye bhi carefully dress up hote hai. Forget them! We can continue to be mundane or even boring. After all, aren't we all just passing fancies on someone else's special night?

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    1. Very well said Rachna....passing fancies in someone else's night.

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  7. Yes, FB and Instagram have taken the obsession with looks and photographs to new levels. In India, weddings aren't about two people uniting, it's a huge festival!!

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  8. Love the way you wove the political theme into the wedding. Beautifully written. And of course every word rings true of how marriages have become. It's no longer just a family affair. It's a festival by itself :)

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    1. A pleasure to see you here Sid. Thanks.

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  9. ROTFL, you hit the bulls eye. Even we had similar experiences on numerous occasions. And the shocking thing is that this trend is inching from bad to worst. We attended a wedding recently where there were huge cutouts of bride and groom from their engagement ceremony, like we see for promoting movies in South or during election days. All, so SHALLOW!

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    1. Yes, I remember those cut outs in a Kannadiga marriage. Total filmy style.
      Thank you for reading Anuj.

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  10. Not just how we wed (read lit up fake palm trees, 20 stalls of snacks and hero-heroine on a flying trapeze), but even what we wear (and ahem, don't wear) has evolved so drastically over the past few years. When everything is about how to show and be seen, 'matching-matching' is a debate of such serious magnitude that I am surprised Times Now has not Prime Timed it. :) Love the political parallels, and how in just a handful of words you have summed up what is left of weddings these days. And I agree with you 100 per cent.
    I wore my mother's wedding Banarsi for mine. Down to the same jewellery. Many must have thought me mad for not buying a lehenga that weighed 2 times me, hiring fake jewellery and painting my face. I was made-up at home by my sisters. I looked like my mother's ditto copy. And when I sat next to my beau, thankfully, he recognised me. And he did the next day too, after I washed my face. :D The beauty of weddings is a thing of the past. The meaning behind the various traditions lost in the din of the DJ. And the elegance of silks and tanchois vanished like the backs (and fronts) of blouses.
    It's a mad race to glitter the most. And show it the most too.
    Very lovely post!

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    1. You made me laugh. My aunts decked me up but I cried so much that most of it was gone by the time I was on the stage. Frankly my aunts did a better job than most beauty salons.

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  11. Forget weddings, women come groomed for Beauty Parlours to get groomed. It is all about presentation and packaging. Well said.

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  12. True elegance lies in simplicity. Too bad the majority doesn't realize that :-)

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  13. Lovely post Alka ! As obsession with looks certainly can kill and one needs to keep their head above water not to be caught in the flow !

    - themoonstone

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  14. Very very interesting and true! I fail to understand why do women want to make a tamasha of themselves. Not to speak of marriages alone, the trend is that women in their 40s and 50s also copy the teenagers. They look so stupid with bulging bellies.

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    1. You said it ma. Argh...the bulging bellies, the hanging love handles and the shimmer glitter.

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  15. I will be thinking about a topic from a little time and I find you have written a post on it. This is the second time it has happened. :)
    I have to attend a friend's wedding and had gone shopping with this other friend to buy a dress and she started selecting dresses which would make me look brighter than the dulhan. And when I pointed it out to my friend she told me that was how we were supposed to look.. Hello! It is the dulhan who is supposed to shine the brightest and we are merely there, well dressed to tell her how beautiful she looks. I went on to tell her, if we dress elaborately or not and sit in the corner, nobody is going to remember you (your dress maybe but not you). But if you mingle among the guests and your conduct in the function is good(mind you, I used the exact same words), they are bound to remember you no matter what you wear. Dress simple, be loud. :)
    Nice post, as always. :) :)

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    1. Glad you echo my thoughts here. High five!

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  16. Very well said, Alka! I thought I am the only one stuck in the seventies. Glad to note that I have company. People somehow have forgotten the fact that whatever you wear or how much ever you spend at a spa or a parlour, you are the person that resides within the body and not what you are wearing or what you have made yourself to look like. It feels bad to see people concentrating more on their inner beauty and ignoring their self-improvement. Lovely article! :-)

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    1. Thank you Rekha. So happy to see you here.

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  17. Why mustn't ladies look thier best on wedding day?They deserve it.
    As for men....what the hell.they can at best choose between a Suit or a Kurta Pyjama.

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    1. This was not about the bride but about the entire gaggle beyond their prime. Including myself.

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  18. What you said about the DJ is very true. Selecting a DJ to suit the occasion is something which everyone misses out in a hurry. We experienced one this year, finally the groom had to come down and admonish him for drifting away from the tunes that we wanted him to play.

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    1. I understand that they need to play popular songs when folks are dancing but all the time?
      Thanks for reading.

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  19. I read the entire post and am still stuck at this plain deception of X and Y (in the chromosomes). What is a 'Y'? It is an 'X' with one lower limb broken (alphabetically). With everything going over the head, I am convinced that the limb which was taken away from the XY pair in a male chromosome must have contained all that DNA about makeup and worrying and having deep conversations (Which like your husband, I'd see as, should I say, ludicrous?) Either it was a cruel joke on Nature's part, or a real blessing.

    But then, I see men getting that limb back now as they rush to the spa for a makeover.

    Amusing post!

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Trust Anshul to discover the philosophical, analytical and scientific side in any post. :)
      Well, the Y chromosome is lucky as it is unable to comprehend dilemmas of colour coding, beautification, jwelery, wardrobe, footwear etc.
      But you are right, the Y is getting more and more influenced by the X.
      :)

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  20. Alka - Well put. I think a lot has to do with where you live, your circles and one's outlook to life. Like somethings are not acceptable in Delhi . Women are "outcast" at first glance if they don't "conform" - in thought, word and appearance! The ragging extends way beyond colleges, and many ladies have it REALLY HARD if they don't look "near perfect"! It takes guts to be true to yourself and what you are, especially in a society which apes and gapes at "Bollywood".

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    1. You said it Nischala. It takes guts to be who you are and not fall prey to the fads and trends.

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  21. What would be a Indian wedding without the glitter and beauty queens in fancy wardrobes! Could almost visualize what you wrote, Alka:)

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    1. That's a huge compliment. To be able to visualize words.
      Thank you.

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  22. I agree to all thoughts in post...very nicely written.....its all about how you carry yourself with confidence....nobody cares what is matching or not....you should look presentable...and I certainly agree with DJ point....attimes songs are so disgusting just to bear it....good work Alka....
    Charu Mehrotra
    www.womenlines.com

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    1. Thank you Charu. So good to see you here.

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  23. Down South here also there is now a competition of pomp & show in marriages. None believe in simplicity despite good education!

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    1. Yes, social pressure sometimes makes us indulge in unnecessary show off.

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  24. How closely do you know your species, Alka. Forgive me, I relish watching and listening girls and women over dress talk. It is pure fun, I tell you!

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    1. It's pure entertainment for sure. That is if you don't care about your own outfit and accessories.

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  25. This post has been selected for the Spicy Saturday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

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  26. The exact thing we were talking the other day on a status update by you or profile pic I guess. Lovely to read this. I again want to say the same thing. You can force fit yourselves in the bejeweled dresses but carrying the same with grace and looking actually good is a different feat

    Congos on sat pick !

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  27. Lovely post and was smiling all along. Beech mein current affairs masala seems quite a good idea.

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  28. Ha! Interesting read. These weddings are other functions are such a hullabaloo. Even men can't fully escape the dressing part. Mom or wife will deck you up and drag you to these functions and we have to do our best not to let it get crumpled or lean against some dirty or newly painted wall and get it messed up before the photo shoot.

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    1. It's one big circus, I tell you.
      Thanks Karthik.

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  29. Truly funny post, though I have to disagree with your last paragraph. I have attended weddings where drunk and boorish men are dealt with dismissively ("Arrey, unse kabhi unki drink kabhi handle hi nahi hoti, poor man! Let him enjoy!") than the lady who repeated her outfit ("Didn't she wear the same saree at the Choudhari wedding last year???")

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    1. One can write a novel on the juicy side stories going on.
      Always good to see you here.

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  30. What fun! Apparently it's all about the video - for the good old Punjabi wedding next door - the guests piled out of their cars at the top of the road, put the couple in a palki and walked alongside as some hired chaps carried them home! Total distance covered 200 yards! What a farce. :)

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    1. Truly, a roller coaster Corinne. One can write a novel on this.
      You are right. This is a new trend - carrying the groom on shoulders.
      So good to see you here.

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  31. I agree about the matching chromosomes :)
    Good read Alka.

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  32. Never attended any North Indian wedding, only saw in the movies or read a little in novels like 'Two States'. Can't begin to imagine the showbaazi that you have mentioned here...hope the wedding was more fun than the fun you had writing this :P
    Enjoyed it!
    (Will share this part of the DJ changing over to 'Aunty police bula legi' with the hubby...laughter is the best we can share always!)

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    1. Frankly, this song irks me no end. Maybe I am not in tune with the times.
      Thanks for reading Vinaya.

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  33. When you do not even have matching chromosomes how can you match anything, Alka? :) And ME I am the man who makes you feel that better the beauty parlor than natural :)

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    1. Frankly men out of parlor look straight out of mythological soaps.
      I am guilty of not reading your book. Will do so soon. As you can see, I was busy with family weddings.
      :)

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  35. Hi Alka ji,

    You have wonderfully captured the essence of big fat Indian weddings. Its no longer fun . It has merely come down to pomp & show which is really sad. But congrats on the wonderful write up !!

    My blog website http://www.sweetsharing.com has completed 3 months . I want you to be a part of this celebration . Hence I have nominated you for Sweet sharing’s Wordsmith award. I hope you will acknowledge it & be a part of my blog forever :)

    http://www.sweetsharing.com/sweet-sharing-wordsmith-award-2013/

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    1. Thanks Garima for such a thoughtful gesture. Congratulations on completing three months. Wish you happy blogging.

      Delete
  36. I totally agree Alka. Its ones maturity that really matters. Somehow whenever I see such over dressed people giving undue importance to the beads on their bindi , I cant help thinking of them as dumb . Talk about the music at weddings! Somehow noise is the order of the day.

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    1. Ha ha...true. Beads on the bindis! How does it really matter.

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  37. I have panic attack right before an event... late night distress calls to sister and sending photos for review to group of girls in whatsapp is quite common :D

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    1. Review and rehearsals on Whatsapp? This is news for me. I am truly stuck in the seventies.
      :)
      Wish you a very happy new year.

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  38. I was forced to enter a men's beauty saloon on my wedding. It was a four days session. By the time it ended, I was half dead by the torture. What have we turned weddings into?

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    1. Four days Amit? Kudos to your grit and determination. Now I really wish to see your wedding pics.

      Wish you and your family a very happy new year.
      Hugs to Anika.

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  39. How do you do it? Make Politics and Current affairs sound like a regular Joe! Even I understand them, then. Me, the one who would not touch this topic with a barge pole. Alka, giving you a standing ovation. Tum ek apna news channel launch kar hi do.....Loved this!

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    1. So so happy to see you here Vinita.
      ..... Arnab aur Rajdeep ka khayal na hota to channel Khul hi jaata.
      You made my New Year very very Happy. Wish you and your family a Happy New Year.
      Love.

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  40. Haha! I guess you were left fuming at the DJ like the political class and TV anchors...Happy New Year, Alka:)

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