Monday, January 21, 2008

Indian Clothes

One of the lovely things about being in India is that we get to wear the AMAZING Indian clothing. None of us have bothered to buy a sari... mostly because you'll probably never wear it again, and because it is a small science of safety pins and fabric folding just to get it on correctly. We've opted for the lovely cotton "Salwaar Kameez" outfits. These outfits can be of any fabric, but since it's quite warm here, cotton suits us best. The salvaar kameez consists of 3 elements: the pants, the top (kurta), and the stole (scarf). There are a few styles of each element... the pants can be loose and baggy (by which I mean BAGGY), or the other main style is where they are baggy on top, but tighter at the calf - this style is made with very long legs and the fabric is worn bunched up on the ankles. It's very elegant, but sadly for me, those giant calf muscles prohibit said style. I've stuck to the baggy variety.

The tops can be a short kurta (arrives at mid-thigh), a long kurta (arrives below knees), or the more modern kurta top that arrives at the hip. Most of us have opted for the short kurta.
Here's a picture of Jen, Talya (visiting us in Pune!), Abbey, and me in our outfits at the Iyengar Institute.

I LOVE wearing my Indian outfits, and if I wish I could dress like this everyday of my life. Of course, in Santa Cruz I would look like some sort of weirdo hippee poseur if I wore Indian clothes everywhere. I'll have to decide whether or not I care! :) These clothes are so elegant and beautiful and comfortable and colorful. I always feel lovely and comfortable and attractive. Amazing. That can't be said for all the fashions at home. The women here in India really are looking exceptional - with their lovely dark skin, they can wear every color under the sun - and all adorned with brilliant gold jewelry. It's just wonderful to look at all the colorful salvar kameez and saris that pass us by through the day.

It's also interesting to notice that more and more of the younger girls/women in Pune are wearing western clothing - t-shirts, tight jeans, and such. It's funny sometimes when we all walk by in our Indian clothes and they are wearing their western clothes! I guess the "other" is always more interesting. It's not uncommon though, to see a group of girls, some wearing the salvaar kameez and others in western dress. They have many options!

One option they don't seem to really have though is shorts. The only lady knees we've seen in all of India (outside of yoga class of course) was when a rickshaw driver took us through the red light district and we saw the (Young) prositutes in mini skirts. More and more you see a few tank tops on the younger more western girls, but that is also quite rare. Generally, it is a very modest culture, especially when it comes to women's dress. I know there are upsides and downsides the rationale behind that... but I have to say, from my point of view, that it IS quite nice to have clothing that is both modest and elegant. Not a bad combo!

Most of the clothes I'm wearing on this trip are from my last trip to India, but I did buy this great pair of yellow pants! I love them! In fact, I"m wearing them with my blue top today. This picture is right outside our apartment.

Also, a little note on the clothes that we wear in class... because there is quite a dress code. They have specific requests for your wardrobe, which nearly everyone follows. Short shorts ( you must be able to see the knee), t-shirts (long enough to be tucked in to the shorts, no belly exposure), no tank tops, no capri shorts. It's quite a look. There are these funny little shorts that everyone wears in class here called "bloomers" or "pune shorts"... I haven't worked up the courage (elastic on the thighs!), but Holly and Mary each bought a pair. It's funny how we have all adapted, even though none of us dress like this for class at home. I must say, wearing shorts is a good idea, I've learned a lot from being able to see my knees! Try it!

I'm off for the weekend, so it'll be a few days til my next post. I'm keeping our destination secret until I post pictures! Suspense!


jump tomb raider said... you...going to Oz? You ARE aren't you?

carrie said...

I've been lurking around your food blog for quite some time, and started following your travel blog when you left.

I've so enjoyed reading about your time in India. I would love to study yoga in India some day.....but with 2 small children, I don't see that happening any time soon. I'll live vicariously through you in the meantime!!

I've been required to wear shorts on occasion when I meet with my private yoga instructor, and I agree, there is a lot to learn from seeing your knees in relation to your ankles, and the alignment of you shin bone in a lot of postures!!

Orca said...

You'd look perfect in Santa Cruz in your wonderful new outfits! You always do. I've been away from your blog for too much going on. Right now my friend Janice from Hood River is visiting for a few days. Lisa Tripp is here & just fixed our wireless. Eliza was here for a week, then I was up in Berkeley visiting Martha. Janice & I had dinner at Rowland's last night -- very fun. Great Kale, salad, etc. Raining like crazy again for about 24 hrs. now.

I love reading about everything. All fascinating.

Lots of Love!, Laura

Anonymous said...

hey there, Can't believe how fast the time is going'll be coming home soon. I certainly hope you'll be feeling well by the time you are ready to get on the plane.

your blog has been so much fun to read, and I love the various images you add to your posts, as it brings back the memory of many similar kinds of images and I love jogging my memory with your stories.

be well.


Shalin Enthusiast said...

I Like reading about you and really salwar kameez is an elegant indian clothing.........

Lilah said...

Good words.