Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bollywood Bridesmaid Part Two

Okay, I realize part two is very far away from part one.  In fact, the wedding happened over a year ago.  But now that I am retired, I have to drag out these wedding stories . . . .

So where were we? Oh yes, I had just had my leggings/tunic made larger (always humiliating) with my dad who had to pull the too-small garments off of me with his eyes closed.

Fast forward to arriving in Winnipeg for the event.  The FOUR day event!  We whities totally do it wrong. I am all about the four-day party.

Anyways, the bride picked me up at the airport (this is what I love about this friend, we rarely see each other and in this case I think we hadn't seen each other for three years but it felt like we were kids again) and whisked me right to her house and put me to work.  HA!  I definitely earned my keep on this one!

The family of the bride (and the groom) spend much time in the home of the bride's family.  So Miss Bollywood Bride - to be known as BB from here on in - had hung saris from the ceiling and placed lanterns everywhere.  The effect was incredible, as if we were being transported into Aladdin's cave.  BB told me Aladdin wasn't Indian.  Whatever.

Okay, so we spent the first night stuffing things with Indian sweets.  I got into trouble because I kept eating, instead of stuffing.  To be technical, I was stuffing, just not the little boxes.

I also ate chicken curry and chicken wings and some samosas.

BB's mom was pleased to see that my appetite was still as big as it had been when I was a kid.  Great.  I'm glad that I will forever be remembered as a piglet.

Anyhoo, the next day was henna day in preparation of party number one.  We eagerly awaited the henna lady - which is quite the trade if you ask me, I am fairly certain BB spent upwards of $700 for the day - who arrived all dressed to the nines in her glorious sari, with bindi and bangles.

Did I mention she was white?


White lady who was born wrong colour worked on BB for FIVE hours.  FIVE!  GAH!  I fed BB when she was getting her arms done in the most elaborate and beautiful pattern.  Henna lady kept going on about all the Indian festivals, the latest Bollywood movie, her favorite star, being Hindu, and the best Indian music.  She even talked about her own Bollywood wedding.  I was confused.  So was BB who kept glancing at me.  I thought perhaps Henna lady had that Michael Jackson skin condition that turned her skin white?  BB's dad has it, it's entirely possible.

But no, she was white.  Her husband was white.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for taking on other cultures.  I mean I take Bollywood dancing my self, Jai Ho is playing on my iTunes right now, I love butter chicken like the next Indian.  But there is a line between appreciating a culture and pretending you are that culture.  As much as you want to, you sort of . . .  can't.

I once made the mistake of saying I want a Chinese name in front of Engineer's parents.  When I left they were concerned.  They wondered if I thought I was Chinese?  I also can't say 'Oy Vey' in Williamsburg or at the Pickle Guys.  The Jewish people will take offense.  Trust me.  No matter how good your intentions are and how much you love another culture, the culture itself won't let you in.  They'll love if you participate and learn about them, but try to join them and it's sort of offensive.  It sounds ridiculous when my dad says 'ta' (the Brit way of saying 'thank you'), the Engineer can't wear a kilt and learn the highland dance (actually he probably could).  Japanese people loved it when I put a kimono on, but if I actually wanted to wear it in a serious way, and not for their amusement, it was a no-no.  Besides, kimonos look best on Japanese women.  Kilts look best on Scotsmen.  Saris look best on Indians - just look at me compared to BB.

Maybe I'm wrong. I probably am in a way.  But Henna Lady was very odd.  BB almost wanted to point out that she was white.  Had she looked in a mirror?  Plus BB doesn't really like people talking to her.  And this lady didn't shut up.  So I fed BB galabjamuns and tea while we put Oprah on trying to drown the chit chatter of Henna Lady.

She sure rocked the henna though.


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