Sujitha, the bride-to-be and her mother, Bhanu, out on the streets of Bangalore as they shop for the upcoming wedding.
First, they stop at a tailor shop where one of the outfits Suji will wear during her wedding is being custom measured and fit just for her.
As she waits for the tailors, Suji and her mother look at more clothing being sold on the outside of the shop.
Snack break, #1:
After the she picks up the outfit, Suji knows her mother and Uncle Bill need a sweet snack. So she takes us to a nearby shop and orders one.
She feeds a bit of the snack to her mom. It was sweet to max - fruity, and juicy.
Then they shop for the bride and groom dolls that will stand on the wedding platform with Sujitha and Manoj as they get married.
They stop at a shop filled with the religious implements of Hindu faith. In addition to things like dolls, there will be many items on the wedding platform with them - many types of fruit, oil lamps, rice - many things. They will need small platforms upon which to perch many of these items.
Bhanu, inside the store so well stocked with representations of the Gods of her faith.
They will need a portrait of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity for both spiritual and material matters. In my upcoming coverage of the wedding, the use of the Lakshmi portrait will become clear.
Snack Break, #2: Suji buys a banana for each of us.
After our snack, we pass by a stairway enclave where where a young artist applies henna to a young woman. Two mornings from now, Suji will get her henna. Yes, it will be in this blog.
A fabric seller beckons Bhanu and Suji into his shop.
They went in, selected fabric they liked, and bought it.
A portrait of Manoj looks up from Suji's pocket book as she pays for some of the items she will take to her wedding. Manoj waits for his bride in his hometown of Pune.
In one shop we visited, Suji picked out an outfit for the small daughter of some close friends who now live in California.
Then she began to look at these suits, sized for baby boys. "There must be a little boy, too," I speculated. "Yes," Suji said. "There is a little boy. His name is Lynxton." And so I wound up bringing an India Indian suit home for my youngest Navajo-Apache Indian grandson.
She spent quite a bit of time examining bangles before she picked out the ones she wanted.
When I was a boy, Mom would take me shopping with her whenever she bought clothing or fabric. It was total misery. As I grew, clothing shopping with women remained total misery - even with Margie. The sales people were mostly all women - a man here and there, perhaps, but mostly women - women selling women's clothes to women.
In my three trips to India, each of which took me into clothing stores, I do not recall seeing a single clothing saleswoman - not for women's clothing or men's, either. All the clerks have been men. This seems unfair to me - both to the women who could be doing the sales but even more unfair to the poor men who are.
That said, I truly enjoyed myself on this shopping trip - because I had a camera in hand. When a person such as me holds a camera, nothing is boring. Everything is interesting. Suji and Bhanu made it all the more so.
I had a blast shooting Suji's wedding shopping spree.
I could have filled this entire post with pictures of Suji and Bhanu looking for just the right necklace for suji to wear at her wedding. She looked at many, but none were right. "I had always thought Soundu would be here to help me," she lamented. Soundarya had a highly-honed sense of style. Picking out just the right necklace would have been easy with Soundu along, Suji mused.
In the end, none suited her, so we left with no necklace. We would wait until the next evening, then Suji would try again - this time with her cousin, Kruthika, who will star with her in part 7-B. I will finish 7-B before I go to bed, then time it to post some time in the early morning hours.*
Before we left for home, Suji treated us all to juice freshly squeezed at this juice bar.
We hailed an auto-ric and climbed inside. We put our heads together so that I could get a portrait of the three of us. Then we went home.
* It is now 12:50 AM Wednesday and I have finished 7-B, but I feel like I need to leave 7A up a little longer, so I will wait until late morning or early afternoon to post it.