Five years ago, on a cool Autumn evening, I took myself out to dinner. I thought I would eat out instead of spending a lonely evening at home after I had attended class at the local University of Technology. At the end of the evening, I walked to my car only to be parked in by the medics whose base was across the way from the restaurant. As I approached the vehicle, I noticed the medic in the driver’s seat. Oh and did he notice me. The next moment, he knocks on my window, tells me if I am single he is interested and leaves me his cellular phone number. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Indian wedding
After dating for two years, we got engaged. It was always my future husband’s dream to have a traditional Indian wedding. I am sure in that dream, he thought he would probably marry an Indian girl. Shaun was excited; I was nervous and clueless. I did not know anything about Indian weddings.
My biggest concern was how I was going to pull off wearing a saree, the flowers in my hair, Indian hair jewellery without embarrassing myself. I enlisted the help of future sisters-in-law, Google, the two Indian ladies at an Eastern outfitters, as well as a drag queen, named Miss Lola Fine, who specialises in Indian weddings.
The hair issue raises its head (no pun intended)
What to do? What to do? How am I going to pull this off? What am I going to do with my hair? With everything, being a girl of colour, the first thing you wonder is, what you are going to do with your hair in almost every situation. I have to go out tonight at short notice – what am I going to do with my hair? I am going swimming with my new beau – what am I going to do with my hair? I am spending the night at his place – what the hell am I going to do with my hair before he wakes up?
I remember a few years prior, I befriended an Indian family in Johannesburg. I expressed the desire to wear a saree one day and the insulting response that I received from one of the sons was “a girl with coarse hair wants to wear a saree”. That stuck with me for a very long time and now I was to be the Indian bride with the coarse hair wearing her saree. What to do?
The big day
Due to a botched Brazilian blow out, I managed to secure a few free treatments at a very well-known hair salon. The junior stylist assigned to do my hair,treated and coloured and flat ironed my hair to perfection. Miss Lola Fine complained that the hair was now too sleek and hoped that she would be able to style if for the wedding. Needless to say, she did a sterling job.
I looked like an Indian bride in my red saree yet I felt like a Coloured girl trying to be something she is not. I was nervous about what everyone thought and whether I looked authentic enough. I was worried about what the extended family would say when they saw the wedding photographs. I worried too much and for nothing.
The lesson learned during this process and months after the wedding, was that I needed to not worry about what I think others think of me. I occasionally wear bindi and will wear an Indian outfit when the occasion calls for it. I do it because I want to, not because it is required.
Everyone has accepted me for who I am and I have started accepting me for who and what I am – an African girl, rocking a curly fro who can be whoever she wants to be.
Until next time xxx
ps. My mother-in-law asked me once why I do not wear my hair curly. I was quite surprised lol.