Yes, Guys! That day will surely come. You will have to accompany the wife or significant other for saree shopping! How you respond to the not-so-subtle hint is going to mark you for ever.
In the good old days of the joint (or extended) family, you were safe. She may go saree shopping with her MIL, SILs, or other relatives. And you could just give the money safely curl up with a book. With modern nuclear families – no such luck! You will have to do the accompanying.
On our trip to Chennai last month, M and my mother both planned saree shopping. They conspired on the research and identified the store. Believe it or not, they planned it for the same day we arrived in Chennai. I softly recommended shopping at the end of the trip. My argument: “you won’t have to carry the sarees around for the entire trip” did not go far. “We’ll just put the sarees in the car, which will be with us the entire trip,” was the quick rebuttal.
I resigned and with a big smile, went along. I survived, and you will too!
Here are Ten Survival Tips!
And pics from our shopping extravaganza at Nalli’s (Nalli Chinnasami Chetty), Chennai. Apparently THE place for sarees! Don’t fret, all cabbies know the place!
- When your hear the first hint of going saree shopping, be enthusiastic and jump to it!
Elephants and wives have great memories in this regard. She will remember if you try to dodge your way out. Eventually she will get her way, so might as well go along and get it over with.
- Plan! Plan! Plan! Who? What? How much?
Talk to her and identify who the sarees are for. What event are they for? What general color (s)? This may all change once you get to the store, but get her to start thinking. It will save a lot of time and indecision later.
In Nalli’s for eg. they have four (or five) levels of sales areas with different pricing and styles. They must have about 25 sales folks on each floor. As soon as we approach a counter, the salesman would bring out and unfurl 20 – 40 sarees in a matter of seconds. Completely overwhelming! Even her head will be spinning. My mother’s vast experience in saree shopping was apparent. She quickly honed in on a style and selected her picks within an hour. Poor M was still darting from counter to counter, and floor to floor, in a daze!
- Get a Price Estimate!
Then add 50 – 100 % and consider yourself lucky. You didn’t think this was going to be cheap, did ya?
- Plan at least half a day.
Anything less and you are only asking for a grumpy shopper. And you will have to do it all over again. Don’t try to plan any activities after the shopping. You will be exhausted!
But you will be surprised at the energy reserves women have, when it comes to saree shopping. This same girl who wilts in 10 seconds in a camera store, can shop sarees for days!
- Take a Pill for a Headache – before you go!
The wide array of bright colors, and the faint aroma of new fabric will overwhelm your senses. And constantly having to make comparisons is sure to induce a migraine. Remember to take your favorite pill for headaches – before you head out.
- Go on a Full Stomach.
I get cranky when hungry; and it shows in my demeanour. And she will interpret it to mean you are being skittish on accompanying here and spending money. So eat well before you go.
- Don’t say, “OMG! That much for a piece of cloth?”
No, my friend. You will look cheap AND you will be ridiculed in front of all relatives – for evah! Remember the elephantine memory. Some things are never uttered in this temple.
And one more thing my friend, there is no such thing as an ugly saree. At least not that we guys can tell. She may point to some as hideous, and you should simply agree!
- Helpful phrases:
That is a beautiful color!
Look at the delicate embroidery!
Yes, it is expensive, but definitely worth it for you!
I think everyone will love this saree of yours!
Memorize a long list of such phrases and you will be a chum.
- Buy Lungis for yourself!
They are cheap. I splurged on two! Not that I wear them, but at least I got something. At Nalli’s the most expensive lungi was about 125 rupees. What asymmetry! How come they don’t have Kanjeevaram silk lungis with elaborate gold “jaari?”
- Carry a Credit Card.
Yes! you could get a back ache carrying that much cash! And bring out the card in a flash! No hesitation here. And smile widely the entire time you see the bill and sign for it. Don’t even think of that nice D-SLR you could have purchased for that money.
- Bonus! Be thankful the day is over.
At the end of the extravaganza offer to carry the heavy saree bags and remember to say: “What a great day! We should do this again!” (just kidding!)
So go ahead! Smile, go saree shopping and splurge!
And after this extravaganza, we headed to Murugan Idli, another Chennai tradition!