sari (noun): the most vibrant color

okay, so that’s not correct according to merriam webster, but it’s true when you attend a traditional indian wedding.

so i wore a sari for the first time. no, i didn’t get the date wrong for halloween. and no, i didn’t slide into an indian restaurant in a sari.

i have to admit though, when one of my old officemates, R, was draping her sari over me (thanks, R!) in preparation for attending another old officemate’s wedding, i did have an “I dream of Jeannie” moment. i resisted breaking out the Jeannie moves [mostly out of respect for R, who was standing right in front of me and partly because it was hard to move in the sari], though i’m sure she would’ve laughed, as she does at most of my actions.

R’s sari, which R was expertly draping round and round my No. 2 pencil frame, was quite gorgeous. a mustardy yellow, it was embroidered with delicate and sparkly beading. moments later, R had transformed the sari into a mermaid-like shape with her expert draping.

now for the tough part – hailing a cab during rush hour in a sari. now, catching a cab in this crazy city is a tricky affair even in flats and jeans. now try being tightly wrapped in beaded silk and being restricted to teensy steps in the middle of manhattan.

pedicab after pedicab rolls by – “where do you need to go, lady?” “do you need a ride?” “where can i take you.”

“brooklyn! you can’t go to brooklyn!” i yelled, trying to hail a real cab that wasn’t being pedaled by a topless dude.

“that’s right – i can’t go to brooklyn” yells back one pedicab driver as he wheels past.

i finally manage to sneak into a real cab sandwiched in traffic. the driver looks startled and disappointed. he pretends to not know where the brooklyn botanical garden is. i tell him that i won’t be leaving. he says, “ok. brooklyn botanical garden.”

we roll across the brooklyn bridge and arrive at the botanical gardens.

as i take teensy sari steps into the garden, i hear drums and happy voices – that must be the Barat [the groom’s party]. i can hear the drums coming closer. the happy voices are getting closer too.

soon i see a flurry of bright and sparkly colors. in the middle of it all is my old officemate, M, decked out in full wedding attire and looking like the prince of a foreign country. it’s impossible not to smile seeing all that.

i finally get a chance to greet the groom. a woman with a microphone plugged onto her head descends out of nowhere. “are you the groom? we’re going to need you to wear a microphone during the ceremony.” apparently it’s not enough for this microphone lady that she gets to wear a mic. the groom looks amused. “what? you want me to wear a microphone? you want to tape what i’m saying?” i try hard not to crack up. the microphone lady looks bewildered [why wouldn’t everyone jump at the chance to tape a mic to their heads, she thinks].

the traditional sikh ceremony was simply beautiful, and that’s an understatement. [the groom went sans microphone, for those who are curious]. the sheer energy of the dancing and the speeches was compounded by the vibrant colors. weddings mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but if you rooted for the two during their courtship, it becomes all the more meaningful.