Desi-Pardesi

Are we losing touch of the traditional things in an attempt to adopt everything modern?

I had worn anklets during the Ganesha-Gowri festival that went by a few days back. I didn’t remove them. The result is, when I walk in the office the peal of the anklets can be clearly heard. This makes people turn around and observe who it is. My friends were even making fun me for the same, saying “as if the clippety-clop of the girls’ high heels wasn’t enough”. :PAfter that I have been planning to take it off, but just keep forgetting when at home. 😦

Well.. This is not the only instance I have seen this behavior. I come from a South Indian Brahmin family where girls are always taught to wear bangles, bindi etc. Wearing flowers in the hair was common too. Not that we had any restrictions about wearing western clothes, but we were expected to dress a particular way for special occasions. During my Pre-University college, I had a long plait and I personally liked wearing flowers occasionally. I knew some girls sniggered and made fun of it. These were girls whom I knew and spoke to. But none of them dared to speak to me or make fun of me directly on my face. A common friend once told me that they refer to me as Mallige Hoova (Jasmine flowers) in their conversations. I felt really bad and humiliated. 😦 I stopped wearing flowers altogether, except for some family functions. When my mom used to ask me to, I used to fight with her saying, I don’t want people to make fun of me.

Though I like wearing jeans pant and t-shirts, I feel more comfortable in the traditional salwar-kameez. Infact I love wearing a saree, but only do so occasionally. But this nature of mine too has got it’s share of comments. People call such girls behenji. Though the word means sister, it really isn’t used in that context.

I wonder why people have built such opinions about their traditional wear and customs. They are embracing the foreign culture more and everything that is our own, seems down class to them. In fact the foreigners who come to India are fascinated by the Indian types and varieties of sarees. I know a lady from one of the online groups that I am a part of. When in India recently, she totally fell in love with the South Indian Filter Coffee and the silk sarees. So much that she bought a saree and referred videos to learn how to tie it. As for the coffee, she bought the traditional filter from here. When back home in her country, she was disappointed that their coffee still tastes different from the one she drank here. The ladies in the forum then helped her find an Indian store and buy a coffee powder of an Indian brand. She was SO happy with the end result!! πŸ™‚ I felt so happy when I got to know that!

It’s not that we shouldn’t appreciate or adopt anything foreign. We should also learn to respect what is ours! We have already lost so many customs and traditions in the modernization. Maybe we can try and save some harmless ones?

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. paatiamma says:

    I resonate your thoughts mostly.People who advocate such thoughts are still narrow minded and in no way different from the narrow minded person who holds to tradition.
    But however disagree with you in one aspect. Wearing bangles, bindi or flowers is totally a individual’s choice and any one passing a comment on a person who prefers tradition to the current trends is as bad as a traditional person commenting on some one who is commented for wearing something western.I remember very well in Hyderabad that there used to be a gang who talk bad of a north Indian girl for wearing see-through dress.I was some how not very happy hearing that.If that kind of a dress is the girl’s choice.So be it.

    1. Arch says:

      Totally agree with you there! I am not saying everyone should wear bindi and bangles. What I was saying was that people who do, should not be looked down upon! Like you rightly said it’s each one’s personal choice. People shouldn’t be forced to change just because the people around don’t like it.

      Maybe I didn’t convey it properly in my post. My bad! 😦

      1. paatiamma says:

        Its ok yaar..May be I did not get the meaning properly as well…I too love wearing sarees though the partner makes fun of me when he sees me wearing one as an aunty! And I have the same indignation that you have expressed in this post..And also I have been in the receiving end of comments on my “early marriage” by the self proclaimed “forward thinking ” people and am quite confounded ” thoughtful baby planning” by both forward thinking and traditional folks.. My attitude right now is “Aala vidungadaa saami!!!”

        1. Arch says:

          LOL πŸ˜€
          I know how you must be feeling! Seriously why can’t people just let it be. They do all the marriage, kids and every planning for us. πŸ˜›

  2. Ria says:

    For me its not about what you wear, its about how you wear it. You can take a normal suit and turn that into an unpleasant thing just by wearing it the wrong way.. I have had girls talk about me at my back because I always wearing western. But that is my choice, I feel more comfortable and confident in them.

    I bought a really pretty top for my birthday in May and some girls called it ‘absurd’ on my face..well, I just saw Jacqueline Fernandes wearing the same thing πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›
    So honestly, I dnt care..haters gonna hate πŸ˜‰

    1. Arch says:

      I know! I wish I had been as cool as you and not cared about those girls back in college. I regret to this day for giving in. 😦

  3. DI says:

    My belief is, dress as you want, in a manner you think you look good in, but adhere to basic norms.
    At work, while a bindi is fine, but I don’t know bangles, and anklets are formal, and hence acceptable enough. Sarees, yes, good, but formal ones again, silk sarees or party wear sarees just wont suit work environment. If you think about it, no one abroad wears brightly colored party clothes to work, they wear western, but subtle, muted clothes.
    In college, I rebelled against my aunt who insisted on salwar kameezes and bindis, and wore man shirts and jeans all the time. Now I do as I please, and if I am not wrong considered well dressed. But all time, while I don’t care about what people say, I adhere to the place I am in, and dress accordingly only.
    That being said, for festivals I do the whole jing-bang of flowers, jewellery etc  Like I said, depends on where I am. And eventually, it’s about that.

    1. Arch says:

      Thanks for the comment DI!:) Maybe I should have removed the anklets after the festival.. It’s just that I kept forgetting to do so.

      While one should dress according to the occasion, one should also be tolerant towards others choice and not make fun of it, is what I meant.

      1. DI says:

        Totally agree! Making fun is not justified in general πŸ™‚

  4. Ramya says:

    Arch, First time to your blog and this topic prompted me to comment right -away. I have a team member who has been coming to work with bindi,anklets, jean, t-shirt, plaited hair (she has have long hair) and flowers to go with it. And she is from a small -town, as in , untill she came over to Bangalore for work, she has spent her life in a small interior town in K’tka. The level of comfort that she shows being-in-her-own-skin is amazing..One of my friends call her “Kolusu ponnu”. How does it matter to anyone how people dress. Last week, one of my colleagues (he is quite senior) nd I were having lunch and he comments “You look like a vegetarian only”. I simply didnt know how to react. I just gave a just-for-the-sake-of-it-smile and kept quiet. I fail to understand what gives people the right to comment about others , let alone judjing others by their appearances. Uff! Sorry for the long comment..You hve a nice writing style..Going to catch up with all your posts.

    1. Arch says:

      Hey Ramya! Welcome here. πŸ™‚
      Great to read your comment!
      Trust me, I have seen so many such people and got sick of it! Hopefully people get some sense into their head.

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