Recently when I met some American students at a get together, what impressed me most was the way the women students dressed, looking every bit a South Indian. They were donned in beautiful georgette saris, matching designer blouses, a nose clip, hair done up and most important of all, a red bindi prominently displayed in an appropriate place. This appeared a contrast to women of our region who seem to dress with a ‘mixed identity’ which is neither fully South Indian or wholly North Indian. We find middle aged and even elderly women wearing salwar-kamiz, sporting diamond ear studs, a nose stud to match and the tiniest bindi which is usually not visible to the ‘naked’ eye! The sight of them reminds me of a ‘mixed metaphor!
I was also reminded of an incident that took place when I met a distant relative at a meeting some days ago. He said he was able to recognize me from my ‘techni coloured hair’and I corrected him saying my hair was only of one colour which was brown. His next comment was that only north Indians used mehendi to colour their hair and I had to educate him the second time explaining mehendi is a cooling agent and more important it is used for colouring hair because no chemicals were added unlike in hair dyes which had their own after effects!.
n.meera raghavendra rao