The house was licked clean, suitcases unpacked, and ma’s prawn curry devoured with obnoxious quantities of rice; it felt alright now.
I was back to pretending to be gardening; watching the onions, tomatoes, and lady finger grow while Kamlesh aunty toiled and watered the plants, religiously.
One afternoon I was swiftly plucking some onion and tomato from my fancy garden when another neighbor, Aunty X, presented herself. She’d come to invite me to the festivities that were to take place at her house the following day. I accepted the invitation and went about my business.
The next day, I glided my way to her house in a fairly beautiful saree with minimal jewelry. Their house was swarming with people, mostly women in their late fifties. I was introduced to those I hadn’t met and we exchanged namastes and hello hai ji. I sat comfortably while a few eyes scanned me, and finally the oldest in the group spoke in absolute shock and disbelief, “Haw! kudi ne choora ni paya?“. Now, I may not be fluent in Dogri or Punjabi but I understand what Kudi and choora mean (thanks to Bollywood).
Aunty Meddlemiss wanted to know why I hadn’t adorned my hands with this unimaginably heavy-looking set of bangles that prohibit any sort of human movement; popularly known as chooras. It’s commendable how women get any work done wearing them.
A little trivia for the uninitiated, these red and white bangles are traditionally made of ivory but are also available in all sorts of strange glittery material.
Before I begin, I’d like to apologize to the choora loving men and women; they look beautiful on some of you.
So, Aunty Meddlemiss was beyond shocked that I wasn’t wearing chooraas, or a nose pin, or anklets, or mangalsutra. She expressed disappointment while I smiled, forcibly. I made a feeble attempt to reason with her, trying to tell her that where I come from, it is not customary to wear chooras, and a lot of women back home wear it for fashion sake.
She asked me if I was from Hindustan at all!
“Hanji! Hanji!” I replied, instead of telling her that I’d dug my way into Hindustan (no, not literally).
While she continued to tell me, in good faith, how I must dress as a married woman, my mind kept wandering to the number of times I have encountered women in chooraas.
I am a little intimidated by them, almost scared. I keep a safe distance because I am positive that if ever I were to get into a fight, those choora clad hands will break my jaw.
Also, these bangle designers seem to be taking it a notch higher each time. These bangles now not only have the name of the husband engraved on them (just in case you forget), some also have pictures from your wedding on them (because you can’t carry your wedding album everywhere, can you?).
Aunty Meddlemiss also wanted to know how long I’d been married so she could judge me further for not plucking stars from the sky.
“dus saal”, I played along.
“Dus saal!?”, she asked to confirm.
“Hanji.” , I replied to reassure her.
Aunty Meddlemiss wasn’t pleased as she saw me lie through my teeth. She walked away murmuring unpleasant nothings under her breath, while I scribbled a draft in my head.
Image from Google
P.S – This post is a personal experience and I do not mean to hurt any sentiments. Happy reading!