Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Not To Wear

Who: In laws and sister in law's future in laws
What: Setting the date for my sister in laws wedding
When: Sunday in Mid October
Where: In laws house
What not to wear: What I was wearing

Rewind to Saturday. My husband and I were discussing what time we should leave the next morning to go to his parents house, and how we were going to get there seeing as his bike is in the shop. We decided we'd leave early enough to get there in time to enjoy breakfast prepared by his mother. We decided we'd try to get a sharing cab for part of the distance and take an auto the remaining distance. We determined that we'd need to get some change for the auto, and we discussed how auto rates were increasing. Then he dropped the bombshell question "What are you going to wear?"

We spend most Sundays at his parents house. It usually involves food preparation, some cleaning, errand running, napping. Also their house is under construction so things are a bit dirty while the workers are there. Even without construction going on, they live in what would be considered the country, so the air's a bit dustier there. Oh and my 1 year old nephew prefers running around sans diaper. You never know when he might spring a leak. Basically what I'm saying is, I wear something comfortable, that I can keep relatively clean and that will wash up easily if I do get it dirty. What do you mean, what am I going to wear?

So why should I spend time thinking what I'll wear on what I thought was just another Sunday? It seems my sister in law's future in laws were going to be there to set the date for the wedding. I knew I wouldn't be part of the discussion. I don't know her future in laws. After the wedding I'm sure I'll never see her in laws again. To be perfectly honest, I didn't feel the need to make any sort of impression on them.

I've only been here a year and half and have acquired well over 200 new outfits since coming (more than 60 of which were procured in February of this year when we got married). They are basically new and all of them are very nice. My cotton salwar suits all have embroidery and most include some metallic stitching. That's fancy, right? My silk suits were impeccably tailored and every time I wear one, I get compliments. Nothing to worry about, right? Except I knew better. I told my husband on Saturday he better pick a dress for me because I didn't want his eldest sister posing the "Is that what you're wearing? Okay, seriously, what dress did you bring along?" Okay so she says it nicer then that, but that's what my ears hear. As I've never attended a "marriage date setting function" before, I had no idea what was appropriate.

As of late Saturday night, while this discussion was going on, I had only one dressed pressed. It was a cotton black and white paisley print top, with burgundy flowers embroidered at the bottom hem, along with plain black salwar bottoms. I set aside burgundy bangles, earrings, a black studded watch, and instead of the silk printed dupatta that came with the dress, I picked out a nice black cotton one that has multicolored beaded trim. Granted, it's one of my oldest dresses, but it's comfortable, and I think it looks really nice. It's understated and conservative, like me. At that point, my husband was playing it smart, and said if I would be comfortable in that dress, then I should wear it. I chose to ignore the message hidden between the lines.

Sunday morning we arrived at the in laws. The ladies were in a frenzy preparing lunch and cleaning in anticipation for the guests to arrive. Their maid, who's also named Lakshmi, had her own function to attend that day so she couldn't come to help out which added an additional layer of stress. My father in law and husband went to pick up breakfast for everyone, I helped with a few preparations then when no one would give me any other work to do, accompanied my brother in law to his dental clinic for the morning. Shortly after we arrived at the clinic, we got the call that the guests had arrived and we should hurry back home.

As soon as we arrived home from the clinic, my eldest sister in law drags me into a bedroom and says "Okay quick, where's the dress you brought?" I told her what I was wearing was all I brought. "You don't have another dress?" She was surprised. I said "No. This is all I brought." and in my head was telling my husband "I TOLD YOU SO!" So I freshened up, reapplied my makeup, jewelry, and made my appearance with the rest of the family.

I maybe said ten words to the guests and otherwise sat there quietly, as everyone made preparations for the wedding and reception. After the guests left, the youngest sister in law, the one getting married, says, ever so gently "You never know when functions like this will happen. You should keep a party dress here just in case."

I guess that might be true. But define "Function?"

Quite honestly, setting a date for a wedding could have been handled via a phone call, rather then 5 people plus a driver, cramming into a compact car and driving five hours each way. Essentially it was a business transaction as it involved the paying of dowry. Does the money not spend as well since Chota Bobbi (that's me) wasn't wearing a bedazzled and sequined get up? Does it set a bad example or put the family in a negative light because unlike everyone else, I wasn't putting on the show? All these encounters are is a big phony display of nice. Everyone puts on a fake friendly smile, displays their best behavior, and agrees to everything everyone else says. It's a sham. Why waste a good dress on it?

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