1. ‘Oh no, I’ve walked around with my flies down all day and no one told me’ vs. ‘Oh no, I’ve walked around with my bindi wonky all day and no one told me’
In India I don’t wear jeans, I wear Indian suits. These suits come with draw strings and are covered by long tunics making it impossible to forget to pull up your zip after using the bathroom. Unfortunately, traditional Indian wear it not without its embarrassing problems. Finding out you’ve walked around with your bindi stuck to your eyebrow all day is very annoying.
2. ‘Rubbish, I can’t go out, I can’t find any shoes to match my outfit’ vs. ‘Rubbish, I can’t go out, I can’t find a chunni to match my outfit’
When I first moved to India I was told by my mother-in-law that I should wear a chunni (also known as a dupatta) at all times, even in the house. It took me a while to work out why but it is to cover the shape of my bust. Balancing the material over my shoulders can be difficult and hazardous. I’ve caught my chunni in car doors, dragged it along the floor, dropped it in my dinner and it has even fallen on the flame whist cooking dinner. I cannot leave my bedroom without one, I’ve been told it is disrespectful. The frantic pulling out of cupboards when I cannot find a chunni to match my outfit gives me the same feeling as when I couldn’t find the right shoes for an outfit in England.
3. ‘I wish men wouldn’t shout vile things at me’ vs. ‘I wish men wouldn’t take photos of me’
A girl attracting a crowd of men staring, taking photos of her is not uncommon in India (Indian girls and foreign girls). In England, it unlikely that you will have anyone taking photos of you but instead, you may get leery, sexual comments shouted at you from across the road from a group of (usually drunk) men. So many different ways to objectify women, which is worse?
4. ‘You look really pale, are you ill?’ vs. ‘You look really pale, you are so beautiful’
In England we use sunbeds and bronzers to look beautiful. In India we use bleach and white powder to look beautiful. Is the grass always greener on the other side? I once told an Indian aunty that we British love a tan, it was like I had just told her that we love to drink urine, she gave me a look of confusion and disgust!
5. ‘I have to do sit ups to look good in that bikini’ vs. ‘I have to do sit ups to look good in that saree’
The rolls of fat I have on my back are grandly accentuated when I wear a saree. They live in that small gap between the blouse and petticoat. They bug me, so, that ‘summer bikini workout’ in cosmopolitan magazine will not go to waste, it can be used as my ‘saree workout’!