September 26, 2017 by aliya
Girl Guide: Wearing a Saree and inside scoop on Pujo
Street Style Delhi: Indian Street Fashion
My only affiliation with the Bengali side of India is a friend who made me hate fish curry a little less. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been a silent admirer of the ways and particularly of the Pujo time. When I threw this idea on the table (not figuratively) of doing a story around it, Aalok retorted with his usual cross questioning – do you think you know enough? did you research? don’t culturally appropriate?- “K, cool.”
Opposite to my word was the commotion in my head. Comes Rhea(pronounced: Ray-aa) into the picture and literally saves me from drowning in the sea of multiple cold feet. “My mom just spread out all the appropriate Sarees on my bed and asked me to choose. Last year was the first time I wore a Saree on Ashtmi .”, says Rhea. FYI: In Rhea’s own words, the Saree she chose for the shoot, came with a side of Dola re Dola.
While the side was Dola re Dola and something you cannot really change( why would you not want burger with fries), the entree was a choice upon us and frankly it was an easy one- silver jewelry for a 19-year-old because we weren’t the ones who invented festive casual(but we would like to take credit). For all the Pandal hopping that happens, you cannot really expect a girl to keep her excitement and jewels in one place; with the freakishly low-maintenance nature of silver jewelry, it is the best bet.
“When one thinks of Bengalis, they think of Kolkata. I know it’s the quintessential hub, however, just like any other group/country/ continent, we aren’t represented well. We come from Bihar and Assam too. In fact, my grandparents come from Katihar and Purnia in Bihar, and we are as Bengali as they come.”, says Rhea, giving many the big O moment and bursting the little bubble of appropriation and misrepresentations.
But not all bubbles are burst-bubble( Salman Rushdie for Aero Chocolates, anyone?). Rhea paints a picture of Durga Puja like none, at least one I had not seen before, “You know Pujo time is like a big fat family reunion. All the relatives and close friends get together, laugh and basically eat. We go Pandal hopping and then to each others’ houses for the next one month, only to repeat the same process at the same time next year.”
Well, who thought, one Saree and a Non-Kolkata but quintessential Bengali girl would make for a fun educational shoot? Well, I did. I hope you all enjoy this as I hop onto a very Delhi Auto and make way to CR Park to use my newly acquired wisdom, and of course relish the Big Bangla Buffet.
In Photos: Rhea Datta