Thursday, May 10, 2012

Saree Doesn't Rhyme With Anything! Fact!

When it comes to shopping for local merchandise in Mumbai I've come to find that the crappier the shopping centre looks from the outside the more likely you are to find a gem on the inside; which is why for my Saree shopping adventure I chose the almost derelict Maker Arcade which has served me well in the past as it is home to Mr Patel's Wine Shop and the chemist that cured my piles.  As I approached the arcade, as always the stares were intense especially from the men at the stationary shop, stand shed which always seems to be rammed with people buying HB pencils, who knew stationary would be so popular in Mumbai?  Theo Paphitis would make a fortune! But I digress. 
I made my way down the isles searching for a shop to purchase my first Indian outfit from and before long I see one. I walked in feeling nervously excited to find 10 men crammed into a area as big as tuk, tuk eating their lunch, 'Errrrrm hello' I said slowly yet clearly, 'Can I take a look at your Sarees please?' 'Eating later, later' One of the men said whilst spitting chapatti into my hair. To be honest I half expected them to see my white face and Louis Vuitton handbag, jump to their feet, discard their food and start wrapping me up with an array of different sarees if I liked it all not, but that wasn't the case so I carried on.  After being distracted by the stall that sold used flip flops I found another Saree shop and entered. It was quite lovely; floor to ceiling shelves full of sarees and a long desk for, well i'm not sure what it was for actually but it looked nice. As normal the shop was far too small for its 1000 staff but I didn't mind, in fact it was amusing to watch them shuffle every time I walked too close. 
After looking at, at least half of the million ready made Sarees on offer I decided that actually, from having spent 5 minutes in the shop I now knew enough about clothes design and Indian fashion to design my own piece! I'm still to this day not sure if the store actually allowed this activity but no one stopped me when I started riffling through the mounds of scrap material looking for the perfect colour for my top so I'm presuming it was OK. In the end I went for a gold sequinned material which was quite itchy but looked great and you know what they say 'pain is beauty'. Now it was the mission to find the material for the actual saree, the designer had a preference to a bright orange colour and kept on telling me how trendy this bright orange was at the moment, when I went in with the old 'I don't want to look as if I had been Tangoed' joke I was greeted with a lot of blank faces, maybe it was because I'm not funny or maybe because they don't have Tango in India, I'd like to believe it was the latter . The next colour the designer liked was a bright purple which reminded me of a rather large bruise I acquired when jumping off the sofas at a nightclub in Singapore, after learning from the failed Tango joke I decided to keep this story to myself and eventually settled on a beautiful deep red colour which the designer said matched the colour of my eyes are blue??? The next challenge was to get measured. The shop owner hollered to someone to come and take my measurements, who to my surprise descended from a hole in the ceiling, it was like something out of Mission Impossible. A small, nervous man who looked remarkably like Ramesh started to take my measurements being extremely careful not to touch me in the wrong the place. 10 minutes later he was done and I was told to come back in 2 days, 2 days as expected in India, turned into 1 week but I was happy with the outcome. And the cost of this custom made Saree? Well it's not as cheap as you might think, it was around £150.00 but was a lovely experience and made me feel like CoCo Chanel for the day!

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