Or perhaps a more honest title would be, "How to Dance on Stage In Front of 200 People Without Unraveling A Sari and Falling On Your...(insert appropriate language here)."
So, Umm...that pretty much sums up my version of the Overseas Women's Club "India Night" party last Saturday night. Oh... that's right...you can add a "couple" of glasses of wine to the scenario if you'd like (strictly your own imagination, of course, but remember, we expats-with-kids don't get out much! Which explains the Hookah lounge, Wade's Hat and Bob's complaints about his shoes "hurting" his feet (yeah, sure buddy, try that in high heels...)
Since all of "that" happened later in the evening, I'll recap the rest:
The Overseas Women's Club (OWC) is an Expat organization here in Bangalore that functions as both expat resource and support and charitable organization. In addition, they publish an invaluable expat guide, "The In and Out of Bangalore". Many of the fun events also serve to financially support over 25 local charities, most benefiting children and families in some way...pretty much a win-win for everybody involved.
The OWC hosts a formal "India Night" benefit each year. This year's event was held at "The Grand Ashok" hotel in Bangalore with an Indian Buffet featuring various regional cuisines, performance by the expat Bollywood dance group "The Foxy Ladies," Hookah lounge, and a great excuse to buy some fancy Indian clothing and socialize with other expats.
Pretty cool, right?
I had the chance to go sari shopping a couple of weeks ago and Bob bought himself a "Kurta Pyjama" and a pair of red pointy shoes to match. Vimala, our maid, painted "Mehendi" on my hands, brought me some bangles and a Bindi for my forehead, helped me find a tailor to stitch my sari "blouse," bought me a sari slip, agreed to babysit our children and arrived early to wrap me in my 6 yards of silk. Other beneficial commentary that led me to believe I had no idea what I was doing: "You're not going to wear your hair like THAT, Madame?" and "Where is your eyeliner?" and "You don't have any matching sets?" (dubiously eyeing the jewelry I'd set out). Undaunted by my obvious lack of experience with both social custom and Indian formal wear, Vimala had me wrapped, tucked, pinned and emerging as a proper Indian lady in no time. How she did so, is still a major mystery... However it all occurred, I was greeted by both kids with serious approval: (Owen) "mommy you wook bwootifuw" (Grayce) "you should always dress like that, every day." Did I mention the safety pins? Are you aware that safety pins are only for slackers? That those 6 yards of fabric are simply wrapped around and tucked into a slip? Or that Indian women do more than just stand there carefully, trying not to move too much? Vimala wears a Sari every day cleaning and mopping my house. It's amazing...just getting in the car had me in a panic!
Fast-Forward to Raffle Ticket Time: Several prizes given away, including Bollywood dancing lessons, in which another woman went up to claim her prize and had the dance studio owner/instructor surprise her with an impromptu and very public lesson. A second set of lessons is announced. Bob looks right at me and says, "you know you're going to win this." I suddenly just KNOW that he's right (damn "The Secret," it's always getting me into trouble!) I suddenly just KNOW I'm going to have to get up and dance...Bollywood style...which is not exactly "conservative".
I win. 8 lessons. Free. I am on stage and I am dancing. Thank God for Vimala, Sari Pins, and a realllllyyyy charming choreographer by the name of V. Arun Kumar....proprietor of Zealers dance studio. (Probably, the wine helped, too.) It wasn't until it was all over that I realized I'd missed my chance to send Bob up to claim his prize.
Next year, this time...
Chandra Fischer-"Foxy Lady"
The Fischers...having a great time in Bangalore!