Beauty Begins with a Bindi.
*Gush*....I love Indian women. They are simply beautiful.
If you drive past a field of garbage, you will most definitely see a family living amongst it. And if you look closely at that family, specifically at the women, you will notice them in a sari, with their jewelry and bangles on, with their hair pulled back, and a bindi on their forehead. No matter what class, the women here take time to look *nice*, which is much more than I can say for the backpackers scene or even for people back home. I love getting dressed up, which is one of the main reasons I love playing gigs out, because it gives me an excuse to wear something nice. Because in the states, you need an "excuse" to look nice. If you go to the bar any other night of the week you will notice everyone at the bar in sweats, with their hair carelessly thrown back. That's fine and good I guess if its your local pub, but it really really gets me when you are out at a nice restaurant and people are wearing their everyday jeans and a t-shirt. In India, they make everything sacred, and that's something that I'm really embracing. Even Usha Devi, my Iyengar yoga instructor, was yelling at some students in class yesterday, "What is this clothes you are wearing? (*Smack*...yes, she smacks students upside the head, and on the ass, and on the arm, etcetc). Why do you wear street clothes to yoga? Have you no respect? You walk around on the street all day in these clothes and now you come to practice yoga? Is there NO respect?!". Though I'm terrified of her and question most of her actions and outbursts, I couldn't help but to agree with her. Granted, it's hard when you're backpacking and only have a few items, but I want to make a point to have clothes that I put on for yoga, and have some respect for whatever it is that I'm doing...making everything "sacred". Its been nearly three months now that I've been living out of my little backpack....the clothes that I have are looking a bit run down and overworn, but luckily for me I am in India, where the shopping is amazing and your choices are endless. The shops around here cater to both local and backpackers taste, and I've found myself being drawn to the local fare. The key, I believe, is in the tailoring. At home everything that we buy is ready made. Here, everything is made for you at the tailors....so even the poor chai wallah or man sweeping the street looks more pulled together than a University student or professional back home. Today, after talking to Deepak, I headed to his tailor to get some clothes made. I picked out my fabric, I picked out my design, and decided on 6 tops. I am getting "kameez"s made, which are the long shirts that the women wear here in India if they aren't in a sari. The shirt comes almost down to your knees, with long slits up the side. I got four long sleeve and to sleeveless. Two of them I got with some fancy fabric around the bottom and the sleeves. The price worked out to be 2,380 rupees which is 45$usd. At first I was arguing with the man because of the high price, but then I thought about it...just over $7 a shirt....that is custom made from fabric of my choice, to fit my exact measurements. It's a bit more than the locals would pay, but in the end I was okay with the price. Adding to my look I have gone to a nice gem shop and purchased a mala made of Moonstone, which represents feminine energy and new beginnings.....both of which I am embracing at the moment. In the mornings before I leave my apartment I spend time pulling myself together.... I boil water and rest my head over its steam and then wash my face with carrot oil. I wash my body and then rub it down with coconut oil. I dress in my carefully selected outfit, I pull my Moonstone mala out of its silk pouch and put it around my neck, I pull my hair bak into s net bun and dab on some scent (usually sandalwood or lavender). I coat my eyelashes with some mascara and then before I walk out the door I put on my bindi...because in India, beauty begins with a bindi. And the best part of this "effort", is that it doesn't go unnoticed. Indian men and women so appreciate when you wear local clothes and the little bitty bindi....it makes a huge difference in the interaction you'll have with shopkeepers, restaurant owners, and passerbys. Ironically I have never worn *more* clothes and layers than I have here in India, and I've never felt more beautiful, inside and out.
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