My attempts to insulate myself from the unrelenting summer heat in my air-conditioned ‘igloo’ (even order groceries online) come a cropper when I offered to help with wedding shopping for a family wedding in USA.
Now, shopping agrees with me when I have to buy something for myself and here was an unknown product, the trousseau, that in past decade had mutated from handful of designs to multitudinous labels each supposedly the ‘present flavor’ of social ladder. Magazines and friends are of no help as what they consider voguish turns out a mish mash of styles and trends. With no option I whizz between upmarket malls, designer stores and wannabe boutiques offering spa and salon services with cafeteria on premises, cliquish-elegance or personal fiefdoms and designs and labels morph into one another. At end of day I am confused about where I had seen what.
No wonder the big-fat-Indian weddings are getting obese. The price tags induce shock and awe and in a trance I keep on flipping price tags wondering at the unknown clientage. I have my answer when in walked a known social ‘face’ and I am forgotten in the melee of sales persons falling over each other and the ‘loaded’ buyer.
Maybe, living outside of India I am out of with home country realities. But, then Indians settled abroad are guilty of bigger, better and outrageous show of monetary holdings. I remember reading that Indira Gandhi, India’s former Prime Minister, was married in a simple Khadi (cotton) sari, hand-woven by Mahatma Gandhi, and I bet today even a village bride will not like to be seen in such simple attire.
It is not only clothes but also duration of celebrations. From a two-day affair the wedding celebrations stretch for five or more days at out of country destinations or at five-star hotels creating a multi-layered carousel of wedding traditions and apparel. There are more than 10-12 million Indian weddings per year and just thinking of the financial juggling required catering to different needs, I think the wedding industry with its offshoots…. wedding event planners, caterers, choreographers as no Indian wedding is complete without a slew of Bollywood music and dance, the decorators and support stuff, is the best working option. An American friend, in Hong Kong, was awestruck by dollars spent at Indian weddings and like a patriotic ‘Indian’ invited her to come attend one in India for a week-long tourist entertainment option of main wedding function, musical night, engagement ceremony, cocktails, reception etc. each more flamboyantly pretentious than the other.
After fifteen days of shambling across Delhi and Gurgaon, I listened to saner advice of ‘scroll Google’, ‘check wearable and affordable’ and ‘meet with neighbourhood boutique owner/tailor’ to duplicate the non-affordable at one-third the cost. Believe me this is the best way to tackle wedding-shopping fatigue and at same time say that ‘you are wearing xxxxx designer’s creation’.
Sorry, I cannot show the designs as I am packing my suitcases to attend the ‘desi’ wedding on foreign shores. (Actually I do not want the designs triplicated)