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Of Folds and Frills

"Oh, I am so not gonna enjoy this,” I groan to Ratul over the tremendous noise the crowd was making. It was utter chaos. “It will be awesome! We will walk around the city and have awesome fun! It will be awesome!” Ratul said, overusing 'awesome' as always. I can't remember one sentence from Ratul that didn't have that word. He isn't paying me half the attention a bee pays a pair of plastic roses, concentrating his entire mind and preparing his lungs to scream at the top of his voice when the Nagor dola starts rotating. I am feeling a bit sick remembering the panta-ilish I had a few minutes ago. The thought of vomiting all over this wretched construction gives me little pleasure. And that's the moment, or the moment after I took a large breath, when I see this girl. She is wearing the most beautiful white sari with a red outer-edge and is eating cotton candy.

After a few minutes of frenzied screaming and my serious concern over my life, I chance a full glance at the girl. The cotton candy by then had been replaced by phuchka and she was pecking bites at them as tenderly as possible. Her face is flushed; whether from the make-up or the effort of keeping her sari in place, I am not sure. I can't help thinking that it is probably the first time she is wearing a sari. Even if it is not, I am sure that she hasn't had many chances. You can totally see it. A woman adept at wearing a sari moves with elegance and grace. This girl, on the other hand, does have sophistication and style, but to a lesser extent. Although, to me that has its own charm. A teenager wearing a sari presents a whole new experience than seeing an older woman adorned in it. Saris always make a girl look mature. But that does not mean that they make a girl look old. Being mature and being old are totally different. I wish she'd shake her bangles and make a sweet jingling sound. Sweet heavens, she did!

Her face is flushing again as she is struggling to tame the anchol. She is already walking towards the next attraction. Small steps. Less than average walking speed. Her head is a bit bowed. She's taking extra care in her every step. A clumsy air seems to hang around her. It is sort of cute. Clumsy sort of cute. When she walks, the edges of the sari flaps; the anchol dances in the breeze. My heart skipped a couple of beats at this point. Don't trip, I wished the girl under my breath.

She is pulling up her hair. My word. I wouldn't mind her hair being all fluttery in the wind but the sight of her exposed neck is way better. Saris don't really hide a lot, nor are they very exposing; call it an oxymoron if you will, but I will gladly be a moron for her. If I whistle now, will I be taken for an eve teaser? I resist the urge. Besides I can't whistle anyway. I make sort of a throaty and horrible strangling noise which definitely isn't flattering at all. And a modest girl like her won't find a whistle flattering at all. Okay, why does she look modest to me? Is it the effect of sari? Must be so.

Ah, I love Bangladeshi culture.

By Jawad

The Evil Power of a Sari

She could push them in front of a speeding bus. She should be fine as long as no one noticed, and who would in the frenzy that was sure to follow a bus running over a couple of college students?

Hiring goons to do the job seemed a little excessive, not to mention expensive…

She was startled out of her musings by the onslaught of screams erupting from a nagordola she was passing, nearly tripping over the red hem of her sari. Stupid scaredy-cats. But then, being flung from a nagordola really doesn't guarantee a painless death.

Speaking of deaths, she needed to go back to thinking up ways to kill her wretched friends. Tearing at the pink fluff-ball in her hand with red-painted nails and walking very, very slowly, she tried to remember how she'd been dragged into this. Her make-up was melting. Her hair was frizzing. She was sweating - eww - tired and already out of tissues. She could barely move. And all this because her friends had somehow managed to force her into wearing a sari in light of Pohela Boishakh.

Drown them? Most of them probably didn't know how to swim. Maybe a boat ride around the Buriganga was in order.

Her own murderous thoughts were starting to unsettle her. She cursed under her breath as the inch-high heel of her left shoe sank through soft earth, having stepped on her white sari trying to balance herself. Heels on the uneven ground of the park. It had even rained the night before. But they were necessary. She was too short to wear a sari otherwise.

She felt men around her stare as she moved. Looking at the naked cotton candy stick in her hand, she vaguely wondered if it could be used to gouge out eyes. For heaven's sake, she looked fat (she knew she looked fat!), red (it was hot!) and clumsy! What was so appealing about that?

Make sure you don't tear anything ack! It's riding up! Okay, fix the kuuchi, don't drop your bag… Her mind coached her through the simple act of sitting down on a plastic chair, holding a plate of phuchka. She would never take sitting for granted again. Her bangles jingled as she fixed the anchol so it wouldn't drag in the dirt; she was already sick of the sound. Her friends had hung out with her the entire morning, and now they were with their respective boyfriends, while she still waited on hers.

It was too hot to think. Too many layers of cloth around her body.

When she was home she would build a shrine in the back of her closet. To jeans.

The boys getting off the nagordola were ogling her. She dared them to whistle, but so far they were sticking to just watching. The first few times it happened she'd mentally preened, but by this point all she could think of was the humidity and the effect of rat poison on people.

She was usually a very sweet person, she really was. It was just this sari. It was taking her sanity. Two hours to put on, an hour to adjust, another half-hour putting on make-up (because without make-up saris didn't work) and then… oh, she shuddered to think of the two hours to take it off again when she got back. The pins holding it all together had already pricked her in too many unwanted places.

Gathering her hair and lifting it up, she exposed her sweaty neck to the blessed cool brought by a gust of wind. A few quick twists and it was tied into a messy bun. The aforementioned boys (had they gotten closer?) were still staring, and finally, one whistled. Well, apparently she did look pretty. At least there was one upside to this blasted piece of cloth.

She asked for a second cup of tok, ignoring the fact that she hadn't finished the first. Abandoning the empty plate on the chair, she stood carefully, peering up through mascara-laden lashes at the boys, who were even now edging nearer. She nearly dropped one of the cups she was holding, attempting to fix her anchol at the same time. The boys leapt forward to help.

The tok landed in their faces, splashed over new, white panjabis, stung their eyes. Ouch.

Then, leaving behind a scene of perfect chaos, she walked away. Her boyfriend could go to hell. She wanted a nice, long bath.

If anyone asked, it was the sari.

By Professor Spork


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