Sunday, November 15, 2009

Adventures in sari wearing

On Sunday I took the bold, and possibly foolish, leap and decided to wear a sari to church. I have 3 saris and am running out of time to wear them here, so I'll take whatever opportunities come my way. I may have also wanted to fit in in Relief Society.

A sari consists of a short, fitted blouse, an underskirt they call a petticoat, and then 8 yards of colorful fabric that is wrapped around your waist, pleated, and thrown over your left shoulder - all held together with two safety pins and a couple of tucks. Very secure. It makes me feel like I'm 10 again and playing in the bed sheets on Saturday morning. But unlike bedsheet-toga wearing, sari wrapping (drapping, they call it) is a precise science. A science I have not mastered.
I wrapped my sari as best I could Sunday morning (it definitely looked better than some of my attempts) and went over to the program house looking for Durga so she could rewrap me, but she wasn't there. Durga is our head cook and friend. Her saris are always immaculate. Mine wasn't. But I decided just to brave it and leave my sari the way it was and head to church. One of the ladies there would pull me aside and fix it for me anyway.
Me, in one of my saris. If you couldn't tell.
Traditional dressing-it up
Only they didn't. Not a single sister in the branch pulled me into an empty classroom and redressed me. They usually have no compunction against it, so I assumed my sari really was alright. Oh yeah!

Until Relief Society. I was talking to the first counselor before we got started, and she said she she liked my sari (success!) but that I wore it very badly. oh. ouch. They let me wear it all Sunday like that?! If you can't count on your branch sisters to redress you because you're culturally incompetent, what can you count on? But then the universe righted itself when during the middle of the RS lesson, I felt a pull on the back of my shoulder and I see one of the ladies sitting behind me deftly unpin my shoulder drape, repleat it, and pin it again to my blouse. Ah, things as they should be.

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