Saturday, February 07, 2009

Shoppers, stop! Please!

I stepped into the big hall. I thought I would be prepared for the sight in front of me, but I clearly wasn’t. I took a deep breath, before I took a further step.

“You can’t escape this”, I was told. I pleaded with my eyes. But to no avail.
“We’ve come a long way for this. So get it done with”, she said.
“But Ma, do I really have to be there for saree shopping?”

Unfortunately, the answer to that was a resounding “Yes!” and there was indeed no escaping. The start to 3 days of shopping torture… the beginning of extremely painful wedding preparations.

So, I’m getting married in 4 months. I’ve had my share of frozen feet and I recovered (hopefully). And I presumed it would fun and games from now on. But I was as mistaken as John Thain was, when he assumed he could get away with a $35,000 commode. My folks and his folks planned an elaborate trip to Chennai, converging from Bangalore and Mumbai in search of… Sarees! And we landed in the famed T-nagar area on a pleasant Saturday morning, loaded with pockets full of hard-earned cash and a bucket full of patience.

We started with shopping for the boyfriend. We spent 4 minutes and 700 bucks on a long white piece of cloth and he was done. For the rest of the day, he was sitting in a corner of the shop, playing Tetris on his phone. The lucky *bleep*! I, on the other hand, was dragged to every saree counter possible and mind you, they were endless. Each counter classified according to price range, borders, designs, places of origin, gender of the weaver and the colour of mulberry leaves that were fed to the poor silk worms which were eventually sacrificed for the pretty looking garment.

A typical conversation that took place at a given counter, with a highly enthu salesman went something like this:
SM: So, What kind of sarees are you looking for, Madam? (in pure Tamil)
Me: Pattu Podavai (Wedding sarees. I learnt that myself!)
SM: (Pleased) Oh! What range, madam?
Me: 3000-4000.
Mom: What nonsense! Show us sarees above 7000.
Me: MA! That’s a lot of money!
Mom: It’s your wedding! Learn to enjoy it!
SM: All these modern day girls, tch tch! What colour I shall show you madam?
Mom: Maroon/Red/Bottle green… temple border.. double-side.. pure zari.. blah blah blah!
(After like 20 mins )
Mom: Here you go.
Me: I’m never going to wear this!!!
Mom: It’s your wedding! Learn to enjoy it!
Me: If it’s my wedding, let me choose my own saree!
Mom: You just did. And a good choice! Let’s go to that counter over there.
Me: Shrikant!!!
Shrik: Ouch! Just missed the top score.

After 3 hours and 3 sarees, we took a break for lunch and headed to another saree shop. Another after that. I managed to escape with Shrik for some Watermelon juice in between, but was immediately called back on the cell phone. I never understood why though. It wasn’t like my opinion counted at all! Every time, I was asked what I thought of a saree and was shooed away when I gave my opinion. And when we were finally done, we headed to a jewelers store. And the torture was so unbearable that even Shrikant took time off his Tetris game to comfort me once in a while.

In front of an array of necklaces:
Me: Ma. I like this one.
Mom: No. What about this one?
Me: No way! I hate it.
Mom: You’re supposed to like it. It’ll look nice on you.
Me: I don’t like it.
Mom: It’s your wedding! Learn to enjoy it!
Me: Shrikant!!
Mom: (wrapping up her pick) There. Good choice.
Shrikant: Tch tch.

Fortunately we were spared of this routine for the next two days and our folks shopped in peace. At the end of the weekend though, my parents ran up a bill close to what John Thain did in the end of 2007. Recessionary times, my frozen foot! I questioned the worthiness of the purchases. Was a one-time-wear saree really worth 5-figures? And I got the expected answer.

“It’s your wedding! Learn to enjoy it!”

At the railway station that night, looking at the enormous amount of luggage we were carrying back to Bangalore, a coolie quoted 200 bucks to help us out. My parents were alarmed. 200 bucks! For carrying luggage! Apparently this time, it wasn’t worth it. Being the youngest and the fittest, I carried back most of the stuff by myself.

A day later, with excruciating shoulder pain, I realized it was my wedding, after all. I just wish my parents would let me enjoy it.


Sands | കരിങ്കല്ല് said...


--!! Learn to enjoy it !!--


naween said...

saari shopping!! but i bet you'll be thanking your mom once the shaadi pics come out [:)]!

Anonymous said...

In B'lore right now thanks to LTTE and Karunanidhi. Leaving tomorrow night. Could get some time the past week to read your blogs :)

Heh heh... all this sounds way too familiar....and I was the sister-in-law!!!

Whatever said and done, put those sarees in a tupperware box. Wear it again when
1) Your kid gets married
I cant think of any other occasion.....ah well, your 25th wedding anniversary.

anyway, I started blogging myself.. you have so much to say and when you stare at the monitor, you realise what a challenge it is to type it all out. the mind is a friggin ocean man! :(

Nethra said...

harsha said...

My heartfelt sympathies...really heartfelt :-P

Metal said...

Go T Nagar Sari Shopping! :D

Unknown said...

any wedding prep posts...?

Caleb Floyd said...

Thiis was great to read