So said Calvin, the cartoon character. But I don’t think he faced half the problems I do. He wasn’t born in a traditional South Indian family, you see.
Recently, I had to attend a cousin’s engagement ceremony. I rushed straight from Famous to Matunga (where else?). Along with my family, my kanjeevaram and those kilos of gold were caught in traffic. So, in the blasphemous jeans-and-tee avatar, I made an unintentionally dramatic entry.
As I was slinking in, I heard the pandit say, “Sarva mangala maangalye shive, who-is-this-and-why-is-she-here?”
Spewing more venom through her eyes than a planner whose brief one rejects, peddamma, my aunt, said, “Ignore her, panthulu gaaru, she is like that only. What to do? We had to invite her.”
So panthulu gaaru continued the mantras, looking askance at me every now and then. As I was sitting there, head hung low, the most sympathetic of my aunts sat next to me.
“Coming straight from office aa?”
Just as I was about to breathe a sigh of relief, she spat out the words,
“You go to office like this only? Cotton clothes? You don’t have silk t-shirt or something?”
I was about to mutter some explanation but she continued,
“You wear plastic spectacles? At least you can afford gold-rimmed glasses like your uncle’s?”
I took off the specs, “Actually, athai….”
She launched into a harangue, “Whaat actually? Your visiting card has some fancy post no? And your earrings are so small! Your boss is not embarrassed to see you like this? They agree to take you for meetings?”
Quickly, she blew the clarion, and a herd of aunts surrounded me. Within two minutes, I was suddenly looking acceptable. Jeans and tee, 6 huge gold bangles on each hand, huge gold earrings that reached my shoulders, hair parted in the centre and in the parting, a huge golden thingy that covered half my forehead. As you’d know, I have not a single photograph of myself in the ceremony!
4 days ago