Saying Yes to the Dress.

I started writing this post in August of 2009 after returning from my wedding-shopping excursion to India earlier in July. Then I forgot about it, until now…

Ever watch Say Yes to the Dress on TLC? It’s a reality show which documents the riveting process of finding the Perfect Wedding Gown (yeahh…). Clearly, I couldn’t relate to the process until I had to find my very own. The traditional Indian wedding dress is a Saree: a three piece ensemble which inclues a skirt, a blouse, and a very long sash.

Saree shopping in India is truly spellbinding. Despite the fact that only women wear sarees, men do most of the selling. It’s a hard job requiring 10-12 hours of standing and putting up with crazy women trying to bargain and shop.

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This picture is from the boutique where I bought my saree. We were on the second floor of this tiny shop in New Delhi, crammed with nothing but sarees from top to bottom. I felt like the kid who is asked to pick the tastiest piece of candy from a multi-story candy store. It was exciting at first, but then it became tiring, frustrating, and hopeless! After a while everything looked the same. I was blinded by the reflections from millions of tiny mirrors, jewels, and glittery things around me.

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They kept asking me What do you like? What do you want? My answer was an articulate ummmm…I don’t know, but not this. The “mess” on the floor is an accumulation of what I looked through before FINALLY finding the one. I had given up, but the man (above) and my sister (on the left) were successful in reading my mind.  I felt bad for the two women who were stuck with folding all the rejects.

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After the search was over, the nice man asked if I was hungry. He ordered the best chole bhatura I’ve had (on the house). My sister and I dug in like hungry sailors. It’s hard work this shopping thing!

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer and a mother of three from Raleigh, NC. She writes for national and local publications about lifestyle, travel, books, and of course, motherhood! Her most current project involves illustrating and publishing a children’s Hindi book. When not adventuring with her family in the minivan, you can find her riding the streets of Raleigh on her beloved bike Linus.

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