Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How much more desi and domesticated can I get

Let me say first of all that I don't intend to offend anyone who can relate to this post or dresses up like this...but I thought what hapenned the other day was pretty funny. And I just had to blog about it so that I can come back to this post and laugh when I needed a funny moment.

So there I was getting ready to run a long overdue errand (go to the passport office to renew my recently expired passport). And while I was finally out the door and walking towards my car, a funny thought crossed my mind. I thought "Look at me - all dressed in a jeans with a long desi kurti (the ones you can pair with a salwar), wearing an open toed V-shape slip-ons in my feet, carrying a purse with a long shoulder strap (the kinds whose looks I hate but only carry it now coz it is convenient with a toddler to carry most times along with) and finally - carrying all the necessary documents in a plastic carry bag (instead of a manila folder or my nice red shoulder-cum-laptop bag like I would have normally done just a year ago while in the US). I mean really how much more desi and domesticated could I get???!!!"

And then to top it all, when I went to school after that to pick up little N, one of the other moms there asked me why was I all dressed up today? Really I thought? I mean this was as dressed down as I could be...the most casual look that goes on around here in India. So are you trying to tell me that on other days I am dressed up worse than this? LOL :-)

Nyways, the whole point is that just a year ago, before I was a stay-at-home-mom living in India, I was a person who would never be caught on the streets dressed down in this manner. My definition of dressed down used to be a pair of track pants and an old t-shirt with sneakers or some other form of closed toe comfortable shoes. Thats probably coz my wardrobe consisted mainly of formal wear that I wore to work in the US (pants, tops, sweaters, etc.) or really old clothes I wore at home. None of the in-between ethnic kurtis and stuff. And I was one of those who, for some strange reason, used to frown upon people toting plastic bags to carry documents and such and wearing V-shaped flip-flops that make your feet all dirty in the dust and mud in the streets here. I guess now that you know this part of me, you've finally realized the humor in this story huh :-) Its funny how these stupid dressing notions were so deeply imbibed in my mind that this thought crossed my mind without me even realizing it. Now all that was remaining was a bindi on my appearance and I would fully qualify as one of the manibens from Gujarat ;-)

In all positiveness though, what I wore that day was quite comfortable in the weather conditions here. No wonder this 'look' is so popular amongst women in India. So moral of the story - sometimes you just gotta believe in jaisa des, waisa bhes and give it a try yourself huh.


Anonymous said...

Hmm...I don't even know if I am dressed down or dressed up these days. I wear what fits me, period. Its really pathetic, everything including my wardrobe changed after I became a mom. And also the fact that I moved to this really hot country where I can't even think of wearing full sleeves.
In short, I know what you mean.

Smiti said...

I love dressing comfortable in India... It is bloody hot to think - what looks nice, it is one place where comfort comes first, maybe its because we were born there?
I don't know I somehow love the thought of kurta on jeans and flip-flops :-)

hvp said...

I agree with you Divya.... tho I tend to be dressed like that on my days off, I try to stay away from really ethnic kurtas... they make me feel really FOB. Esp. in the Midwest. It was ok in California, 'coz of the diversity I guess... but here you stand out like a sore thumb if you dress up like that. I have witnessed, not experienced the differance in how I was treated versus how another Indian lady dressed up in ethnic kurta and jeans was at the mall. I used to like flipflops, but ever since Nimisha told me about the damage they can do to your feet, I stopped. Luckily, this gives me a chance to experiment with other casual footwear.
Things are getting worse for me now as my kids are growing up. Ishaan has started noticing all this and once told me, "Mom, why don't you put the black line on your eye lids (he was talking about eyeliner). I think you look pretty with that." Don't know what's next in store for me. I hope my wardrobe is not next. :)
On an ending note, I see a lot of non Gujaratis dressed in jeans, kurtis, flip flops, gold jhumkas, bangles, mangalsutra and BINDI. In fact, I have a friend (a Bihari)over here from Mumbai who loves to dress like this...and to top it off she loves to fill her maang also.

Jyoti said...

Funny post Div and good to read everyones comments. These days kurtis and those banded bottom tops are life savers for me... they hide my hanging belly completely...kurtis and tunics (even here) seem to be in these days... infact stores like Macy's carry a brand called International Concepts.... and sell expensive kurtis (just call them tunics :)).. try pairing them with leggings instead of jeans and you will look ekdum chic mom :)..
Hetal, I am just waiting for Kabir to grow up and start telling me how to dress up :).. thats funny though how kids tell you what looks and does not look good on you.

Divs said...

@memyhubbynbaby: It is all about comfort and convenience after we become not really pathetic, I'd say we are more practical. And hot - Singapore? Try Chennai or Bombay and you'll know you're probably better of there.

@Smiti: Again, I agree the comfort factor. But can't shake off the desi auntie type feeling as soon as I wear such an outfit :-)

@HVP: Oh you hit the nail on the head about this whole FOB thing! You're so correct abt this standing out thing in parts of the US. I guess I always knew it but could never articulate it so well. And pls educate me abt the damage flipflops do...I guess I am not aware abt that. And how chweet abt your kiddo telling you how to dress. Hugs!

@Jyo: Glad to be able to entertain :-) You'll notice such silly differences almost every day once you make a move back :-) Oh and I love the whole leggings fad. I own a pair and love wearing it with long kurtis...does make you feel quite slim and chic I'd say. Never tried that while I was in the US coz I hardly spent time outside the office. Yeah I've seen some of the ethnic wear at stores like Macys...pretty expensive if you convert in Rs. I'd agree.