Sunday, 10 March 2013

the true colours of india

nissi in her very pretty dress and
her aunty (the headmistress)
 in her beautiful sari
Sitting in the 3 hours of Telegu church today, I was in wonder at all the amazing clothes that everyone was wearing. It’s something that still gets me about being in India. Kyekue and I don’t go a day without saying ‘oh my goodness I love her sari’ or ‘that Punjab is really nice’. In church today there was every colour under the rainbow. Deep red, dark purples, sky blues, cool greens, warm yellows, bright oranges, luscious pinks, midnight blacks, pure white, flowers, crazy patterns, print, gold, peacocks, sequins, embroidery, and all completely unique. I have no idea how every sari is made so different and so beautiful. But the way that Indian women dress has always awed me whether it is at how the Muslim community can wear their long black burkas with every inch of their body covered in the 40 degree heat, to how women can learn to wrap a piece of 9m long fabric around themselves so perfectly and put it all in place with no pins and it will still stay there all day, to why they insist that you cover both your arms in bangles so you can barely even move your arm without it being uncomfortable and finally why from the youngest of ages, girls are encouraged to take so much pride and vanity into the way they look, to the point where you see a 5year old, prancing round in her big jewelled dress, with big dangling earrings, necklace, bangles, anklets, head jewels and even makeup.

The rows and rows of bangles in a Mysore market
Walking down an Indian street is like walking through a beautiful, if hot, overcrowded and polluted rainbow. Shop after shop selling saris and dress material. Anything you want you will be able to find it. Then shop after shop of bright and shining bangles. You can get bangles in any size or style, the pure gold ones, the everyday colourful glass ones, the bright coloured metal ones, the ones plastered in glitter and the ones with jewels. In every fancy store you are exposed to a massive range of earrings, bangles, nose rings, rings and necklaces. And on top of all this don’t forget the most important thing in the whole of your outfit. For this you need the small old lady crouched on the side of the road weaving flowers together because no Indian women would be complete without her flowers in her hair.

me with the girls in my room - they have such amazing dresses!

Vikranth and Rebecca - her Sari is stunning
and like the perfect couple it matches his tie
Shopping in India is nothing like shopping in the UK. You pick your sari shop that you want to go in – you don’t really know that this shop will have you perfect sari and you have to pick one shop from about fifty so you just go with this one because the sari in the window looks cute. You don’t really know what you’re looking for but you are whisked away by some very helpful Indian men, who either show you to some comfy plush seats or a big cushion on the floor. Then you are asked what you want so you say ‘sari’ and they say ‘yes mam, what style?’ so you go for it and say cotton and a random colour you haven’t got yet. Then from nowhere your being shown sari after sari in that colour, different shades, flying of the shelves in front of you, all these perfectly folded gorgeous saris. You have to be in the mood to sari shop because it’s very overwhelming. So then with a giant pile of sari fabric in front of you, you begin to sort through them deciding what ones you don’t like. You like one! Great! You tell the man and he opens the whole 9m of fabric out in front of you so you can inspect every inch of it. You like the palu (the bit that goes over your shoulder) but you don’t really like the detail on the body (main bit) so you decide it’s gotta go in the no pile. But that’s no problem, you can do this with as many saris until you finally find your perfect one.

You finally leave the shop with the most amazing sari. Why can’t finding men be like this!?!?!


  1. Ha. That sounds like good fun if maybe a little overwhelming aswell. I love fabric shopping (for sewing and crafting) So I think I would enjoy this!

    1. Bea, you would love it, its beautiful!! you have to get used to the India noise, pollution and smell but then its great :)