Proud, happy and grateful

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N’s Bharatnatyam annual day was round the corner
and her dance guru called a meeting
for parents. I found an inconspicuous corner and sat listening dutifully to the
instructions. And then the teacher said, “All women have to come in saris.” (That five meters of traditional Indian
garment which can be such a nightmare to drape).
I sat up in some alarm.
I had ended my relationship with the sari some 10 years ago when the twins
were born. I tried to renew it once rather tentatively and promptly tripped and fell flat while carrying a two-year-old N. That was when I swore off it. Forever.
I had no intention of going back now.
The announcement propelled me from my
corner and I heard myself ask, “Can we come in a suit?” For the first time, I found the full glare
of N’s dance guru’s eyes on me. I
have to confess here that she is rather intimidating. You know how these gurus are – unbending principles, strict
discipline and all of that. While I appreciate that an unflinching attitude is essential
to teach a serious dance form I have to admit it stresses me out because I am forever fumbling unsure what I might do to upset a rule. That is exactly why I try to make
myself invisible at these meetings. “Let’s keep it formal,” she said shortly, “Saris only”. I quailed and looked around
for support from the other mums but all
of them stared back at me with a don’t-waste-time-with-such-a-non-issue look.
For once I wished I were a man. The only instruction
they had was ‘don’t come in jeans’. Hey hello! How unfair was that! We are
sentenced to a struggle with five meters of cloth and all they have to do is change out of their jeans! Arrrrrgh!
I receded to my corner wondering what I’d
do. Should I send someone in stead of me, I thought desperately. But I wanted to see N on stage and I already had the saris but the blouses –
I wouldn’t fit into any of them any longer. Something
ready made perhaps would have to do. Pushing down the panic, I reasoned, once the blouse was sorted, it wouldn’t
be too bad. All I had to do was dress up, sit,
watch, collect N and come home. Yeah! I could do it. I’d manage.
And then I heard the guru’s assistant calling out “Where is N’s mother?” (Yeah she doesn’t even
know my name – told you I always hid away) “You’re the volunteer for the Ashtalakshmi performance.” With that she
gave the word ‘volunteer’ a whole new dimension and me a whole new world of
panic.
‘Volunteer’ meant no sitting down quietly, in fact no
sitting down at all. It meant tucking your pallu
at your waist and taking charge of a group of girls. Their entry on the stage
and their exit, their makeup and accessories, which are mind boggling by the
way. N is a junior and her costume alone had 5 pieces. Then there were some 10 bits of jewellery
to go with it.
Me.. a non dancer, a non ‘makeuper’, a non stage
person, a non sari wearer – me – had
to do all of that! And I have no clue why I was picked. I put it down to some
really bad deeds of my past birth. Karma.

But it all worked out … 

… just as most things in
my life have a way of working out. Have I said this before? That I am
exceptionally lucky? No, really, I am. It turned out the SIL had the perfect
sari and I managed to squeeze into her blouse too. How’s that for luck?
I got dressed in 10 minutes flat. It’s amazing how it all came back to me, just the way my mum
had taught me decades ago – what went where, how many pleats to go on the
shoulder, how to tuck in the sari firmly so I needed just a single pin. Oooh I felt
accomplished!
Besides, I had no time to fuss since N had to be
dressed and we had to report early and then there were those 8 girls waiting
for me at the venue.
Once there it was a blur of getting the giggly talkative
bunch ready, running around with hair clips and safety pins, someone had
forgotten her dupatta while another
one broke her jhumka. Oh it was such delightful
chaos.
Finally they were all ready and everything was
perfect, N looked beautiful as did every single girl on stage. Watching the delighted, proud, excited faces around me I felt a wave of happiness wash over me or was it gratitude? Gratitude, that everything had come together so wonderfully, gratitude for being a part of so much happiness. 
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. And to think I considered not coming for the sake of a sari.

Linking up to Vidya’s Gratitude Circle Blog Hop. Do click on the link and head on over.

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36 thoughts on “Proud, happy and grateful

  • March 1, 2016 at 5:23 pm
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    Beautiful post, brought a smile to my face and made my day brighter. Would love to see your picture and the little dancers' too 🙂

    Reply
    • March 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm
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      Thanks Sulekha. That's a sweet thing to say.

      Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 5:13 am
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    It was truly a fun read Tulika.. And you have no idea about how I suck at wearing sarees! I literally take an hour or more to wear that attire! I love sarees, but draping them is always a nightmare!
    Glad your mission was accomlished smoothly!

    Cheers

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    • March 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm
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      Thanks Geets. I was actually surprised t how easily it got draped. Guess you don;t forget somethings ever.

      Reply
  • February 29, 2016 at 12:45 pm
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    Alls well that ends well.. You shud have put some pics .. I remember being in a similar ordeal when on a function here we were asked to come in traditional dress and I was LIKE WHATTTTTTTTTTT… I cant go in a Dhoti – Kurta 🙂

    so i took the easier way out went in Pyjama-Kurta 🙂

    Bikram's

    Reply
    • February 29, 2016 at 4:17 pm
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      Ha ha dhoti-kurta – yeah that I'd like to see. Now that's only fair, I think.

      Reply
  • February 28, 2016 at 5:09 pm
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    Aw sad to hear that Suzy. Maybe one day just like me you'll renew your friendship.

    Reply
  • February 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm
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    I've considered the sari a form of torture so my friendship with it ended the first time I wore one in my teens at my brother's wedding. So I can relate to your pain. But glad it all went well and look forward to some pics.

    Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm
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    Such a lovely and delightful post! Where are your pics in the 5 mts sari? The nation wants to see you in a sari! Aah, Parul has seen your pics? Where are they? How did I miss them.
    Glad that you all had a rocking time and everything worked our right for you ♥

    Reply
    • February 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm
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      Some problem with my sharing. Ha ha – the nation can see now – changed the settings. Thanks Shilpa.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 5:18 pm
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    I saw the photos. N looked adorable, and so did you – in your saaree. 🙂 I wouldn't have guessed the complex relationship you have with it, which is very similar to mine. 😛 If I am invited to an event, which has this dress code, and if the event is something that I can skip, I will. If I have to go, and in a saaree, then that is what occupies 80% of my mental space. 😛

    Reply
    • February 28, 2016 at 5:04 pm
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      Thank you Shantala. I thought so too. I thought I'd be moving around in a self-conscious self-obsessed haze. But there were too many things on my mind and I had no luxury to think about it.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 5:02 pm
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    This was such a fun read Tulika! Somewhere there are a few others like moi I see, such 'sari' misfits! But nothing to beat the elegance of a well-draped sari huh?! Glad you went through the whole deal so smoothly!

    Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 4:10 pm
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    How beautiful! I loved the pictures you shared on FB. And N, she looked ethereal. Hehe sari, I love the garment. It is so beautiful but only if you have to wear it for a couple of hours. I have been guilty of choosing comfy wear too. So glad you went for it.

    Reply
    • February 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm
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      Thanks Rachna. It's easy to fall into the 'comfy wear'. One of the drawbacks of not working in a formal office environment.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 1:15 pm
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    What a lovely post this was! Made me smile 🙂
    And those pictures of N on stage were glamorous. You looked stunning Tulika. Please start wearing sarees again 😉

    Reply
    • February 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm
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      Thanks Parul. I've been thinking about it too. The comments are certainly encouraging.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 7:46 am
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    What, no photos? 🙂 I am glad the dance teacher insisted on saris. Besides the 'formal' look, when the children were all presenting how they are preserving and continuing Indian cultural traditions, this is the least their mothers could have done to support this noble cause, no? 🙂 A delightful read, Tulika.

    Reply
    • February 28, 2016 at 4:59 pm
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      Thank you Beloo. You're right sometimes good things happen because you have no choice.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 7:03 am
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    What a delightful read, Tulika! I was laughing throughout! No, not at your expense, dear, but at the way you had expressed your thoughts, worries and fears! Always love to read you! <3

    Reply
    • February 26, 2016 at 7:17 am
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      Thanks Shilpa. You're sweet and it's okay if you laughed – I laughed at myself too – later of course, after the stress wore off.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 7:02 am
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    A delightful read. I am glad it worked out well for you at the end. I have a similar relationship with the saree, the one you had until the performance day. I wore saree almost 5 years ago on my son's first birthday. I have told my parents I am not going to wear it ever again, not even for my brother's wedding.

    Reply
    • February 26, 2016 at 7:16 am
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      Ha ha ha.. Anamika don't wait till you have to do it one day. I agree there is too much paraphernelia to go with it but if I can get back to it after tripping and falling, you can too.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 5:48 am
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    hahaha..so lovely to read your account. I was giggling all the way at the description of gurus and your attitude. Great to know all went well. Could you post a pic, too?

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    • February 26, 2016 at 7:13 am
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      It's true isn't it? They do fly off the handle pretty easily. Picture.. hmm will do.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 5:25 am
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    So good! Glad you did it. I love saris and wear them when I can. Even though I have put on a lot but a sari makes me feel cool.
    I am sure you looked lovely.

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    • February 26, 2016 at 7:12 am
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      Once you get around to wearing it, its a beautiful garment Inderpreet. I am glad I did it.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 5:23 am
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    I love you love you love you, Tulika! This is just the sort of thing I want to read in the morning. And where are the photos, Mama? Where are they? Hugs! Thank you so much for sharing! I am smiling fondly recalling how I used to be known as "the lady who comes in jeans and tshirts" when Vidur started school. They got over that quickly though. Love your post! How wonderful life is!

    Reply
    • February 26, 2016 at 7:11 am
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      Isn't it amazing how people get used to seeing you in one kind of dress? When I started at my first job as a marketing person I had to wear saris every single day and if I wouldn't wear a bindi one day people would ask 'what's wrong?' and look at me now – its jeans and tees all the way. I have to thank you for your Gratitude Circle that made me relive the moment and write about it.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 3:20 am
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    It has come straight from your heart Tulika. So simple yet elegant. I can feel the true feeling behind each and every word of yours. A big hug for the achievement.

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    • February 26, 2016 at 7:08 am
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      Thank you Promita. The atmosphere at the performance was one of such warm camaraderie that it felt special to be part of it.

      Reply
  • February 26, 2016 at 12:32 am
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    This was such a delight to read early this morning. You look ravishing in the saree and I loved the pictures of you and N.

    Reply
    • February 26, 2016 at 7:06 am
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      Thanks Shailaja. Maybe it's time to get my own clothes stitched :-).

      Reply

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