This is the fourth segment of a feature story about nine current and former area residents who traveled to India early last year to attend the wedding of Komal Patel, a Rotary Club exchange student who shared their lives in the Mount Markham Central School District during the 2009-10 school year.
The travelers included various members of Komal’s three host families and one of her Mount Markham friends.
Written by Wendy Barrett, Komal’s host mother in Leonardsville, the series began Jan. 27 and will run weekly until its conclusion.
By Wendy L. Barrett
We still needed more traditional wedding attire, so Komal, Minal, and Komal’s friend Ritu (from a jewelry design school Komal had attended in Mumbai) accompanied our group to both women’s and men’s clothing stores to help us select outfits and negotiate prices.
The experience was unique by American standards. At the women’s shop, we sat in two rows while salesmen displayed colorful, exotic clothing in a staged area in front of us.
Ensembles included floor-length gowns called anarkalis and long lehenga skirts that came with choli crop tops and long dupatta scarves accented with sequins or other sparkly trim. These certainly marked an exciting departure from the muted colors and styles we wore during Central New York winters.
We pointed to outfits we liked, hurried into dressing rooms to try them on, and presented ourselves to the group in a sort of revolving pageant.
I quickly learned I was ill-suited for the runway. Poised on a pedestal, I noticed one of our salesmen grinning widely at me. At first I thought I must look pretty good for a middle-aged lady in a crop top, but reality shattered that fantasy when I saw everyone in our group snickering.
I’d spent a considerable amount of time in the dressing room wrestling to close at least a dozen hook and eye clasps on the back of the top. How was I to know they actually belonged in front?
A quick glance in the mirror confirmed my faux pas. Two unmistakable built-in bra cups protruded prominently from my shoulder blades.
As I glanced around the expansive shop, it was clear from...