Friday, August 17, 2007

Pretty Blue (and purple) Salwars!

As I mentioned earlier, my luggage has gone missing and I am getting a bit of a run-around as to when I will get it back. It is supposed to arrive this afternoon, but it was also supposed to arrive yesterday afternoon, so... we shall see.

On the plus side, there wasn't anything of real value in it. Only a lot of battered clothing and about ten pounds of textbooks. I will miss the textbooks much more than the clothes.

On the super-plus side, KLM gave me a 50-euro clothing voucher. Which sat, burning a hole in my pocket, for two days, until I convinced another theatre faculty member to take me into the city on a shopping trip.

(For those unfamiliar with the U-Hyd campus: it is about an hour's drive from the city. Thus it makes the whole "you can buy anything you need in India" idea difficult. I can buy anything I need... if I travel into the city. And it's a bit of an all-day trip.)

So we went into Hyderabad and found ourselves at what appeared to be the Indian version of Target. I think it was called Central Something Something. At any rate it was decorated with large red lettering and a large red "target," just like its American counterpart. Unlike the American version, however, it was five stories high.

In honor of Indian Independence Day, everything was 50% off. ^__^

And so we went upstairs and found the "ethnic wear" section. I insisted on buying salwars, because I had spent the past two days on campus acutely noticing that I was the only woman not wearing them. My faculty escort was a bit amused but said it made sense.

It took me a minute to figure out that the numbers on the tags referred to chest size. Then I grabbed a few things in a 32,. 34, and 36 (it's been a while since my chest was measured) and took them towards the dressing room.

I was stopped by a saleswoman, who took the salwars out of my arms and examined them.

"You are 32 only," she said, and took away the other sizes. Then she escorted me to a dressing room and came in with me. It took me a moment to understand that she expected me to change into the salwar right there, with her watching. I suddenly wished I had worn nicer underwear. (I suddenly wished I owned nicer underwear.)

And so for the next half-hour she brought me salwar after salwar and watched as I tried them on. Size 32 fit, but rather like a glove, so if I end up putting on any weight from all of the aloo parathas, the khameezes will become a bit unworkable... but when I tried to explain, she insisted that it had to be 32 and not 34. She was also surprised at my resistance to churidar leggings (with my body, anything that is tight around the legs and loose around the rear seems a bit... unflattering), but I won on that count and she finally agreed to only bring me salwar pants.

Thus I took four salwars home with me, as well as a pair of sandals that took my faculty escort and me three shoe stores to find. Apparently I have a size of foot which does not fit into Indian shoes. I do have a great amount of sympathy for all of the young male shoe salesmen who tried to delicately place my foot into a sandal, because right now my feet are covered in insect bites (over 40 on each foot -- I counted -- and yes, I got anti-insect-cream on the second day, but it was one day too late) and they look about as disgusting as feet can possibly look. But eventually we found a pair of sandals that worked.

So I am about as pretty as they come, with three new blue salwars and one cream-and-purple salwar. All I need now is a bit of toenail polish. ^__^


Daniel said...

Why'd you get three blues?

I'd've gone for many different colors! :)

Beth said...

This may be the fluffiest comment I ever write, but - I bought two really awesome nail polishes in a Mumbai convenience store. One is a subtle gold and the other is clear with bronze glitter in it. For some reason I had packed my bags without nail polish even though in sandal season I always paint my toes. Somehow that one thing made me feel less like a grungy, battered tourist.

Linda said...

I was startled by having the young lady who worked as a shop assistant come into the dressing room with me, the first time I bought new bras in Mysore. The shop assistant even helped me put them on and fasten them! That was a rather bizarre experience for me. I was not sure at all if the bras would fit, since they did not appear to have cup sizes in India. She told me that in India, if you need a bigger cup size, you just buy a bigger band. The shop assistant also helped me get re-dressed, after I tried them. I was wearing a sari, and I always seem to need help with keeping the bottom hem tidy, so that was actually helpful. I've been putting on my own bras for a long time, though.

Anonymous said...


Wgat fun - new clothes! I am surprised you had trouble finding shoes to fit though - didn't you say you are very petite?

Enjoy your time in Hyd!