It is not uncommon for a Bihari to be labeled a “Bihari,” if you know what I mean. When I joined college in Manipal, it was no different. Thanks to my average-above average looks, I’d sometimes even be referred to as “Bihari Babe” which, as an afterthought, I don’t mind 😛
Well, Bihari or not, babe or not, being a bride is an important day in every girl’s life. It is the only day where you have the best of both the worlds. A day where you are on the threshold… of transitioning from a miss to a missus… of going to the point of no return (unless of course, you’re the runaway bride!)
It has been four years since that day and I have seen a lot of friends ‘take the plunge’ after me. Talk about “tumhari dost kuein mei koodegi to tum bhi koodogi?” 😉 (A colloquial expression used by Indian parents to scold their children, roughly translates to “Will you repeat the same mistake if your friend chooses to drown in a well?”)
Like others, even I had a newfound interest in bridal magazines and would not mind the long wait at salons as much. And like others, even I wanted to look ‘different’ and beautiful. But, I was sure about one thing. It would not be at the cost of buying something that I would never wear again or something that weighs twice as much as me and makes it impossible for me to move and, of course, it had to be in the color red! Something that was difficult to achieve, I realized.
So, with that thought in my mind and after a taking pathetic MDS entrance exam, I walked into a Bangalore store to “just get an idea.” After a few chaotic hours that involved a scooty ride with the sales rep to the karigar (artisan) and an at-length discussion on how to modify the dupatta, I was on board a bus back to Manipal, with my modest ‘plain’ red lehenga with me. The dupatta was to be couriered to me by the gentleman at the store a few weeks later.
So, even the start to my bridal shopping was different. Sure, it was a stress buster after a pathetic exam but to do it alone was not how I had imagined it, especially when I was using a phone that did not have WhatsApp! Of course, my cousin had joined me later but thanks to the Bangalore traffic, I had already made the purchase.
I was very happy with my purchase until I attended a couple of weddings back home and watched pics from a few other weddings. Two things struck me. My lehenga was super plain as compared to others. And then there were the other “important” issues like it being sleeveless or as some “aunties” would describe it: a “deep” neckline and so much skin show including the navel! All my thoughts about how I didn’t want an expensive wedding lehenga went for a toss. And those few weeks when I was waiting for my dupatta, I’d just look at the two pieces of plain red cloth and curse myself for doing it alone.
It was only after I bought the last accessory that my confidence in my lehenga was restored. I realized I was worrying about things which I had earlier been very clear about. But, things like these can get stressful, right? With so much social importance attached to wedding functions, it is easy to get swayed by people’s expectations or their perception of how things should be. And then I thought, would I be happy wearing this? The answer was a resounding yes! There was no looking back after that.
On that day, as I walked out towards that stage, feeling every eye turn towards me, I felt faint. Well, not because of the glances or at the sight of my then husband-to-be but due to the aroma of the delicious food that stung my nose and teased my empty stomach 😉 (It is a tradition for us to fast before the wedding. Why, you ask? I have no clue 😉 )
And, like most anticlimaxes, after months of planning and preparations, the wedding shenanigans ended in a jiffy! Makes me wonder sometimes, “Is the ’10-minute-act’ worth all the fuss?” Somehow, even when I didn’t grow up (I think most of us don’t) dreaming about my perfect wedding day, the answer is a very vain, “yes” 😛
Two things that I learned as a not-so-traditional bride…
- “You wear a lot of sleeveless clothes” was a ‘comment’ that I heard a nunber of times even after the wedding but chose to ignore. That is not to say that I don’t pay heed to sensibilities. It is not a crime to dress for others, but I just feel, not at the cost of your own comfort.
Takeaway#1: It is okay if you don’t please everyone by the way you dress.
“She is not wearing the traditional make-up,” I remember my husband mentioning that about some relatives and it was sweet on his part to tell people that I was unwell and I didn’t do much make-up. I was actually unwell. And, I didn’t have heavy make-up on me. But, come to think of it, were these two connected? No. Especially, when I got to know what traditional make-up meant. I mean, that’s Aishwarya Rai, the world’s most beautiful woman, with those red and white dots above her eyebrows. Yet, that is not my style and I won’t feel myself sporting such a look. Period.
Takeaway#2: There will always be someone who is unhappy about one thing or the other about you. It is okay to be ‘different’ if you don’t identify yourself with the norm. At times like these, ignorance is bliss 😉
Though I must confess that I am guilty of giving too much importance to what others wanted of me initially, I no longer do that. And, despite the ups and downs on that day, when I look back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Because it was my day, my moment in my outfit! In the end, I guess, that matters the most.
Although, I do feel my eyebrow could’ve been done better! 😉 🙂
“Bonus Takeaway”: Invest in a good eyebrow pencil/chalk/powder 😉
Want to share your thoughts on this? Or tell me how similar or different it was for you?
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Want to know how “Memories” Unleashed got its name? Read my first blog post.