Brides in Red and Green

Update for week ended 9 March 2012

As the gaggle of girls rushed into the room where Sowmya was dressing up, she turned around as she turned the screw on her golden earrings. Her head was cocked in an angle, and little droplets ringing her upside down umbrella shaped earring (the kodai-kadakan) tinkling with the head-turn. She was all dressed in her maroon nine yards of Kanjeevaram Silk. The jewellery on her head was the typical Tanjore style gold band that went along her hairline on the forehead and secured to her earring. There was also a central band that extended along the middle parting of the hair down till her forehead, while the star and moon jewels adorned either side of the partition. She could almost have looke dlike those nymph-like classical dancers if not for her sari. Amrita would soon be ushered into the the wedding madapam, wedding altar, for the ceremonies. Not very far away was Kuldip who was wearing red salwar suit, a Punjabi tunic worn over flared drawstring pants of the same colour. The sequins on the dress were shimmering, as was the gold on fair and frail Kuldip. She was slipping the dozens of bangles onto her wrists – some red  interspersed with lots of red bangles. Her bua, maternal aunt, was supervising the dress-up, and when Kuldip complained that there were far too many bangles to wear and getting troublesome, Bua said, “beta, in our days these bangles were made of ivory and shellac, so much more heavier to carry”. And finally she also had to wear the golden solid bracelet to which were to be string the gold coins. And then in walked her to be mother-in-law with the red “chunari” the red scarf – which would be adorned over Simran’s head before she would walk out for the ceremonies. Papiya was looking forward to this day, when she would be pampered. Her Mashima, maternal aunt, was applying the Alta – the liquid scarlet paint, on her feet. Papiya had held her palms out to dry, which also had the red alta pattern. Her red sari was being contrasted by the shola pith garland she wore around her neck, and also wore the Shola pith tiara crown adorning her forehead. Shola was a softwood plant commonly found in the riverine deltas. The large red bindi on her forehead was striking and complemented her perfectly lined kohl coloured eyes, and the arches of the red and white dots above her eyebrows. Her wrists were adorned with the Pola bangles – the white alternating the reds, matching her sari. Papiya looked like the perfect Bodhu – Bengali Bride. Mukta meanwhile was struggling the nose ring – it was not the simple one, but resembled a brooch and was refusing to stay in place on her nose because of the weight of the pearls that were strung into it. Her yellow Paithani sari was shimmering in the Spring morn, and this was again a nine-yarder like that of Sowmya. However Mukta unlike the other brides was dressed in multiple colours and had little red – no red bangles for her. Here the green Banarasi Shalu (a shawl like brocade silk) was to be draped over shoulders, complementnig the shining golden mango yellow sari with its thin violet border. Her mother walked in with the tray of bangles. She asked Mukta to first slip in the gold bangles and then add at least a dozen on more of the green glass bangles. Mukta looked up clumsily as the nosering slipped out of place, and she preferred to try the easier to wear bangles than continue her little struggle with the Nathni!

The week was red for the initial three days of the week for the D Boyz. The wedding season was in full swing, but punctuated by the spring festival of colours on Thursday. So the week that painted the SENSEX red for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday then turned into a riot of multicolours on Thursday before being adorned with a thick shawl like Green on Friday and jingling like the green bangles. So  the D Boyz lost some, regained some to take their red, red, red, multi colour and green week to end down at 17503 – down 133 points from last week.

The Nadaswaram (southern trumpet played at temples and weddings), the shehnai (the nadaswaram’s northern counterpart), the shonkh (conch shell) all played out when the demure brides emerged from their dressing rooms to take their pride of place at the centre of the wedding altar. Their gaze slightly downwards not always because of their shyness, but at times to watch out for wrinkled carpets that could trip, or a vagrant cable of the Video walla and at times because of the weight of the gold jewels on the head and necks….

Which wedding are you attending this week? ….



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