I didn’t know my Indian Adventure would start in Bahrain. Last night, I ventured out into the “Indian section” of Bahrain. As a woman on a mission, I went in search of a salwar kameez set (the local dress that many Indian women wear, especially during the summer months). In some ways, Bahrain reminds me of how New York City must have been during the early 1900’s when the emigrants lived in designated areas.
After my “Indian visa ordeal,” aka driving around for an hour looking for the Indian passport agency, I became quite the expert on the “Indian part” of Bahrain. I located a store that had Indian style clothing hanging in the shop windows. Parking is always an issue in Bahrain and I was fortunate to find a spot a few blocks from the shop. Before I got out of my car, I surveyed my surroundings…local Arab and Indian men were congregating outside on the sidewalk. I got a few looks and I felt as if I could almost read their minds. Maybe they were thinking, “What is an unescorted woman who can drive and parallel park doing here?” So, I put on my game face, which equated to me saying in my head, “I will poke your eyes out with my car keys if you bother me (hey, my dad taught me that trick).” I clutched my purse and made a beeline for the shop.
When I entered the shop, a friendly bell chimed to welcome me. The store, which was packed with people, was oddly arranged. I found my way to the women’s section, which was located up a set of creaky stairs. Reaching the top of the stairs revealed shelves upon shelves of clothing...everything from formal attire to home outfits. Jackpot! There were about four other women up there, most of them with their husbands.The attendant helped me pick out a turquoise suit. When I looked at the tag, I noticed it was an extra large, “This will be too big for me,” I exclaimed. “No problem Ma'am, we fix for you, no charge” he said with the little shake of his head. If you have never met an Indian man before, imagine those bobble head figures that some people put in their cars. They shake their heads back and forth when they talk. It's quite endearing.
Before I knew it, I was whisked off to the tailor (down the stairs and up another one). The tailor measured me and gave me a perfectly fitted salwar kameez in ten minutes flat! So there you have it, my first Indian Adventure! I navigated my way through the litter stained streets, back to my car. Yes, I was clutching my purse and my keys were positioned for poking but I had a smile on my face. I was a happy woman!