I Think

Shopping sarees and salwars

There are many things I dont know how to do. It usually doesnt matter. For example, I have no idea how to moonwalk, how to juggle cats, how to sleep under water and many many other things, but then it is safe to say that I will never get into a situation where I would need to moonwalk and juggle cats while sleeping under water to save my life. Another thing that I dont know is how to buy a saree. This too dint matter until last thursday but then I decided to buy one and all of a sudden I had a whole new problem in my hands.

I acted American about the whole thing, I decided to outsource it. I went to my sister, told her about it and asked if she could help. She listened patiently, made a big deal of how it would be a waste of her time and after a bit of kenjufying said ok. We decided to get the job done the next evening.

We went to Naidu Hall on friday evening, first time I was in there. It felt odd walking into the place, some primitive instinct kept whispering that I did not belong in this place. I know, it was silly. Anyway, I reiterated my requirements ‘simple and elegant’. She told me to relax and started roaming around the place with an air of someone who knows what she is doing. In five minutes it became clear she knew very little about sarees. I had handed the saree project to a person whose core competency was salwars. I quickly checked with her if she knew that she did not know anything about sarees and she shot back saying that she knew much more than me anyway. Fair enough. The next half hour was a confused blur of sarees, we rummaged through a few dozen sarees and at the end of it we had a winner. I asked the sales lady to open the saree and show me the thing inside that people look at before buying one. She did, I looked at the thing I was supposed to be looking at, made a generic comment on how nice it was and gave a smug nod of approval. It went smooth and would have remained that way if only my sister hadnt spoiled it by telling the sales lady ‘avanukku enna paakanumne teriyathu, chumma scene podraan’. Insult.

We headed towards the billing counter and then something I hadnt planned on happened. One moment we were waiting for the saree to be billed and the next we were walking up the stairs to look at salwars. Apparently I had told my sister the previous day that I would get her something if she helped me with the saree. She thought it would be a salwar. I told her I had meant pav bhaaji. Now I dont really remember how I got persuaded into buying her a salwar but there we were taking the stairs. I suspect there was a subconscious element to the decision, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do better at selecting salwars than I had with sarees, after all I have spent the last ten years ‘sight’ing salwar-clad girls. Turned out to be naive optimism though. Unlike sarees, my sister knew her way around the salwar section. There was nothing much for me to do except look around. There were a few mid-30s women there, a couple of lasses nearby were discussing chemistry and ornithology, something about copper sulphate and the cervix of a peacock. I tried helping my sister, offered unsolicited opinions which were discarded without acknowledgment. I asked interesting questions like ‘What is interesting about this salwar?’ and got the same reply every time ‘terinju enna panna pora’. Just as I was wondering how long all this is going to take she had picked a salwar, and now that she was done she was more open to discussing about the salwar she had picked. Apparently it is called bhandani or something like that. She talked about it at length most of which I dont remember now, although I think I can identify one in a crowd.

Anyway, the saree turned out to be a hit, which was a relief to be honest. The evening on the whole wasnt that bad, it was fairly educational, I now know what bhandani is, which could potentially change my life. I could end up putting this on my resume ‘Knows: C, java, python and bhandani’, there could be someone out there going ‘Holy salwar! this guy knows bhandani.. he is our man, lets get him’. I could end up in a bollywood movie, make an epic Deewar scene with Big-B where he goes ‘I know trousers, I know shirts and sherwanis, benaras silk and bikinis.. what do you know?’ and I would calmly say ‘I know bhandani’. Epic. The possibilities are endless. It could end up being my ‘omlette du fromage’. Woohoo!


5 thoughts on “Shopping sarees and salwars

  1. You find ‘Kanda naal mudhal’ okay, then you go shop for a saree.. Reminds me of that cliched, “hungry, but unable to eat, tired, but not falling asleep:)” Yeah, I know these are disorders… Just checking…

    • Its the other way, i shopped on friday and then watched kanda naal muthal on saturday. And yes, I am suffering from a eating disorder, had a bad case of food poisoning a couple of weeks ago and still not completely recovered.

      And yes, the sky is blue, the world more lively, life sucking a lot lesser, things are so amazing that I almost forgot about being single, thanks for reminding. ๐Ÿ˜€

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