My sister raised her eyebrows and uttered “How have you dressed yourself for the ceremony?”
The small part of land was used for forming a special canopy beautifully decorated with garland and colorful paper where my cousin brother, Ishan was sitting along with the priest. He had vermilion powder over his forehead; headband pierced with something spiny and was dressed in yellow rag near red-white-yellow pattern swastik made around fire. Many relatives had arrived for the occasion; few were sitting in a chair and others were gazing at the boy where procession of ‘Upanayana’ was taking place.
The guests of ceremony were dressed well , presenting the best out of them, ladies outnumbered the gents participation. My beautiful sisters and aunts were dressed in colorful ‘sarees’ and ‘kurtha salwar’ along with varieties of gold and diamond ornaments topped up with makeup over face and eyes.
Unlike them, I was dressed in not so colorful blue shirt with patches over it and just below knee length black pant without any foundation to give me the glow nor accessories to add up to my beauty.
I was odd one out in the mass. I was criticized for being the ‘black sheep’ by wearing an outfit like a guy and teased by saying “You too need to have your Upanayana soon.”
Most of those who came across me commented on my bad fashion sense. I never thought I would be portrayed this badly, I believed myself to have dressed decently but I was wrong. One of my sisters even exclaimed to photographer gesturing at my clothes, “Don’t click any pictures of her today”. Photographer nodded his head with a grin. I felt humiliated in front of those people. I tried to escape from people so as not to hear any more commentary on same issue frequently throughout my stay in Koteswor.
I was perplexed with people’s reaction towards my outfit and reflected on the days when I used to dress ‘typically well’ and used to be applauded for it. This time, the rude comments were thrown at me, the smirking smile, side-discussions; I was a huge part of their conversation. However, deep down inside I knew I had not done anything wrong from my part. Time and again, I tried to make others clear but I failed miserably. Later, I just accepted the criticism and kept myself at peace.
This made me realize that I can’t please everyone and I was dressed for myself but not to please other’s eyes nor am I a football to get along the way they wish for me every time.
Showing off during different festivals and ceremonies is becoming integral part of society these days and this bad tradition seemed to have engulfed us. We need to realize that not everyone can afford to get dressed in beautiful ‘sarees’ with different accessories.
This practice has led to disparity and unhealthy competition especially among women which should be discouraged. Let’s not drench ourselves to it. Everyone has their own uniqueness, style of living and we should respect each other rather than pulling each other’s legs.
‘Fashion may fade, living style may vary but the real you, your attitude reflects who you actually are, spend time nurturing those skills’ and foundations need to be applied to brighten attitudes and strengths, so as nothing can wipe it off unlike make up.