|My mother came home from India and brought me a dress embroidered in blue, green and gold. The dress drops to my thighs, loose trousers hang under it and a long, broad scarf is for swirling around myself. An Indian woman would drape the scarf backwards so it crossed her throat with the ends hanging down her back, I’m told, or she might wear it loosely thrown over one of her shoulders, not crossing her body at all. I pull the silk over my head instead, and gaze into the mirror bewitched at my Indian reflection, my eyes darkened as I glimpse this other me.|
11 thoughts on “indian reflection”
fyi fwiw this is a salwar/salvar kameez – often known as a ‘suit’. And I’m not sure, but I think wearing it over your head would be sort of like using your socks as epaulets.
Alex, you have me wanting to wear socks as epaulets this instant! But just as I was writing this comment, an email from an Indian blogger appeared in my inbox, saying that indeed the scarf can be worn over one’s head. Perhaps there are rules about times and places – I shall have to go to India some day and see for myself, I think. Brilliant timing, though!
But “suit” is a more correct term than dress, is it? I thought dress might not be completely descriptive, but could come up with nothing better. I might even try to remember salvar kameez…
AHA! Rajeev sent another email saying that yes, indeed, scarves are worn over the head in India, as looking at a few images of Benazir Bhutto rapidly proves. Until a hundred years ago, Rajeev writes, the purdah required women to cover their hair and part of their face with a veil, or scarf.
And there is something alluring about it. As long as you can take it off whenever you want to.
The ‘outfit’ was bought in a shop in Chennai in Madras. The docket describes it under two line items:
1. SALWAR AND KURTA
(and repeats these in Items 3 & 4 for a similar set that was bought for your sister).
I’ve checked out the web site mentioned on the said docket (http://www.ritukumar.com/newcollection_showcase.htm) and checked the convenient glossary they provide there. It seems the Kurta is ‘a loose, stitched garment worn by men and women, most commonly described as a tunic (also known as a kameez)’. The Salwa/ Salwar Paijama is ‘a baggy style of paijama tapered at the ankle worn mainly in the Punjab’ and the Dupatta is ‘An unstitched length of material for the upper body traditionally worn by both sexes, but now mainly worn by women as part of a salwar kameez (paijama and tunic) ensemble’.
I’m not giving up on the socks as epaulettes idea, however 😉
Sorry Alex I never wanted to spoil your joke … but I just couldn’t hold back the truth 😉
As for sox as epaulettes, I’ve found my son’s sox work wonderfully well as ear warmers. But then, my ears get colder than my shoulders.
I’m dreading winter… ear warmers… oh dear…