I went to Chandni Chowk this Saturday to pick up my wedding lehenga, finally. But the journey began many months ago, in South Extension…
When I had started off my search for the wedding lehenga, I had been sorely disappointed. Everything was so…chamki! And oddly, the lesser the bling, the more the price!
One hot summer day, I was walking around South Ex market browsing wedding lehengas. I went to Ushnaq Mal and saw a few pretty designs. Nothing wow, but still some nice lehengas. Realizing that my dream lehenga probably didn’t even exist in the real world, I decided to pick one of the sober yet prettier lehengas at that shop. Then we sat with the salesman to decide on the colors and design of my wedding lehenga. Because I was not a 100% sure, I told him that I would confirm the final order by the next day.
When we came out of the shop, my mother suggested that we look around some more. After all, South Ex has so many good shops for Indian wear, no harm in looking. When we crossed Heritage, I remembered looking at a beautiful lehenga on display at the window a few days back. I had loved the skirt part, but the blouse had been too full of bling so I had dismissed it from my mind. Today, I thought, I should go and atleast see that lehenga. The skirt was truly beautiful.
I went to the first floor of the shop and asked for that lehenga. When I laid my eyes on it, I realized my memory had not served me wrong – it was as beautiful as I remembered. And the chamki blouse from the window? Oh, that was from another lehenga. This one had a blouse with similar shades and embroidery as the skirt.
How much is it for? [insert dimaag ki batti uda dene wala price]. Oh, I’ll still try it!
Those of you who have experienced this will know what I am talking about – it felt like I was in lehenga heaven. This was perfect. Like, it was made for me! There was nothing wrong with this lehenga, well, of course – except the price! Damn. I wish I were richer. It was just exquisite. Unfortunately for me, even though it was way over budget, I fell in love with it. And……I wanted it.
But, how? To cut a long story short – we went to 3 separate people to copy the lehenga for us. We were not satisfied with either their samples, or the prices they were quoting. We got sick and tired of trying to get the exact same lehenga. So much stress, so much tension! Mother said, let’s go to Chandni Chowk and see if we can find something. Which is how I landed up at Om Prakash Jawahar Lal. They had some really, really nice designs which were very wedding-worthy. Then, something unexpected happened – almost like, it was meant to be:
I asked my mom, “Should I show that picture of the Heritage lehenga to this guy? Ask him if he has something similar?” She agreed. By this time, the salesman was in front of us about to unfold the 40th lehenga for us to see. He opened it, and voila! It was almost a replica of the one I was just about to show him from Heritage! Insane, right?
I placed the order immediately, and I kept stressing to him that it should be as close as possible to the original. I even sent him the picture I had of the Heritage lehenga. I got it for lesser than 1/3rd the price!
But it was, after all – Chandni Chowk. And the lehenga he had showed me was in a mess – the threads were falling out, I could barely make out what the original lehenga looked like. I was stressed out – would he do a good job? What if it came out looking horrendous? What would I do then? Would I have to go and buy the expensive Heritage one? Or go looking for a completely new lehenga? Argh!
And the long duration between placing the order and the lehenga arriving didn’t help one bit! Honest to God, I had a nightmare the day before I was supposed to go pick up the lehenga. Just like the one you have a day before your exams start. I dreamt that I reach the shop, and he shows me a lehenga with just the fabric put together – and he’s saying they’ll start embroidering it starting tomorrow! All that emroidery, and they hadn’t even started yet?! I was freaking out!
Fortunately for me, this story has a very happy ending. Like I was saying…
I went to Chandni Chowk this Saturday to pick up my wedding lehenga, finally. When they opened it in front of me, I could see that the most of it was just like the original. I obviously noticed some stark differences as well, but I kept my mouth shut. I just wanted to try it on, and I had tried very hard over the last many, many weeks to convince myself that I didn’t need the lehenga to look exactly like the original. What mattered was that overall, I should look good. And I did. And the lehenga did. Some of the things that were different actually made this lehenga better. Yes, better than the Heritage one. You can blame it on my determination to not feel buyer’s remorse but I’ll say it again – the lehenga from Chandni Chowk was better than the one from Heritage. They made it look more “bridal”. It’s an Indian wedding after all, who wears a toned down lehenga on their own wedding? I almost did, but Om Prakash Jawahar Lal made sure I didn’t 😉
Update: To see pictures of my wedding lehenga, go here.