It was my first cousin’s wedding in Pune, and I was pretty excited about it since he is like my real brother. I had been planning for months what I was going to wear, what gifts to get him, what fun things there were going to be etc. I had planned work accordingly, so I could take a few days off and help with the wedding preparations.
All my relatives, from my bhuas to chachas to grandparents, were going to be there. It was a destination wedding, so we were going to stay together. We were all looking forward to this reunion and the much awaited wedding.
I was mostly hanging out with my brother being a responsible sister and making sure he had everything he needed. I spent a lot of time with him and his friends. In fact, For every function, I would quickly get ready and run back to my brother’s room to get him ready. I am fairly independent so I didn’t really need help while getting ready.
I had picked out this beautiful short, black, full-sleeved embroidered jacket to match my beige hand-painted lehenga. I thought the combination was stellar and didn’t even think about the colours too much. I had to wear that for the baaraat which was in the evening, so a dark colour seemed appropriate. I got ready before most people and ran to the location.
As soon as I reached the venue, I felt like everyone was staring at me. I thought maybe something was wrong with my outfit. Was a zip open? Or maybe a button was undone? But it wasn’t. I thought maybe they really liked my outfit, so they were just envious stares. I ignored them and went forward towards where everyone was gathering.
Just then, my bhua walked up to me and said, “Why are you wearing black today?” I thought, in my head, does the colour really matter? I mean, there are lots of other colours on the lehenga too. And obviously I had not realise that I would be poked about the choice of colour.
My mom also came to me and said, “Could you not have picked another colour?” Since I live away from home, my mother hadn’t seen the outfits I had got made. And if that was not enough, my grandmother came to me and said, “How can you wear black at your brother’s pheras?”
I had had enough. I felt everyone scrutinizing me and all the buzz and the excitement of wearing this beautiful outfit that I had designed had gone down the drain. Those sneers and those comments just pulled me down and I felt like I had made the worst mistake.
After a while, the anger level came down and I thought that if I could confidently pull this off, it shouldn’t matter. And so I did.
I danced crazily at the baarat. I sat through the whole ceremony, stood on the stage with my brother and my bhabhi-to-beand, eventually, some open-minded people did come up to me to say that I was looking very nice and that they loved my outfit. Mission accomplished - I felt. The rest of the people, well, cannot change their perspective about norms they’ve been following for many years. I’ll just make my own rules and hope that someday we all look at the aesthetics and not the underlying beliefs.