Chiconia meets Kolkata

Today is Chippy’s birthday.

So, as it’s freezing cold and pouring with rain, we decided it was a day to stay home and have some more domestic fun.

I had made her a bag, we got her some flowers, there is a gathering and a feast arranged for tonight.

Part of the feast involves a large batch of carrot cake cupcakes which are currently making the house smell divine, as well as a pasta dish, butter chicken samosas, chola bhatura, spicy chicken wings and various other lavish goodies.

Take me to the sangeet!

And as part of the fun, she had a rootle in her wardrobe and pulled out some saris so we could play dress-up. You hear stories about how insecure they feel to wear and how difficult it is to walk. Which is nonsense. The safety pin is your friend, and it’s a matter of the correct pleatings, foldings, tuckings and underpinnings.

None of her cholis (blouses) fit either of us as we are no longer the sylph-like damsels we used to be (plus it’s only 8°C today, no weather for bare midriffs), but we paired up in long sleeved black tops and she demonstrated how to arrange my orange and cream paisley patterned sari and then enveloped herself in teal silk with a slightly lighter border. Do we not look sensational?

Now, I don’t want to be a sad Indian wannabe, and this elegant style of dress is not my cultural heritage, but I’ve always felt it was beautiful and dignified, and wanted to give it a try. And I do feel Chippy as a native of Kolkata is entitled to share it with me if she feels it’s appropriate, and I’m honoured to be allowed to. I’m even more honoured that she’s made me a gift of this particular sari and the petticoat that goes under it, together with a choli that, while it doesn’t (yet) fit, can be adapted with an insert and some embellishment to look quite respectable. I shall be lengthening it to spare the world sight of my middle-aged spread, but that too is quite acceptable. Who knows when I’ll ever be able to wear the whole ensemble, but knowing Chippy, we’ll come up with something!

This afternoon, we will be frosting the cupcakes, then carrying out the unboxing of Chippy’s own version of Aretha. She bought the same machine at virtually the same time, but hasn’t got round to even opening the box, so I’ll be taking her through that, and I do believe she’ll be kicking herself she left it so long…

Sadly, this is our last day here, we’re already checked in for tomorrow’s flights, but we’ve had a marvellous time, and are already planning our next get-together (Dale, take note, we’re aiming for NH in early Feb next year, and maybe third time lucky).

I’m sorry to go, but I’m also looking forward to seeing my furry black companion again; hopefully he’ll forgive us in due course, helped along by lots of extra treats. It’s another long day in airports and airplanes, but worth it.

That’s it from me for now. I expect there’ll be plenty of photos to sort through and probably another post will be forthcoming on the party itself, but for now, Chiconia out.


37 thoughts on “Chiconia meets Kolkata

  1. It’s been wonderful enjoying your trip vicariously and and little less chilly from afar. I’ll yet again pencil a visit in February, while I somewhat awkwardly keep my fingers and toes crossed. However, I’m not sure I can live up to the level of entertainment your hostess with the mostest has provided across your holiday south of the border.

  2. It’s been so good having you & John here with us & as always the time spent apart never feels like that when we get together. I’m going to miss you but thank goodness we have our video chats to look forward to when u get back to your Mouse Boy.
    Melbourne definitely put on its ‘best’ weather for you’ll but it’s not stopped us has it 😃
    Here’s to the next adventure together my friend and May our shadows always stay aligned & never grow less ♥️

  3. Marty K says:

    That was a quick visit! I was hoping you’d get more time together, but definitely quality over quantity. You both look lovely in your saris. I’m imagining all the delicious cooking smells in the house as well. Safe travels home!

    • katechiconi says:

      It was quick, just a few days, but I couldn’t impose on either Chippy or Mouse’s Aunty Lyn any further: “Guests, like fish, stink after 3 days”… and we’re well overdue! Plus Chippy and I talk almost every day. Not the same, but pretty good.

  4. Please pass along my best wishes for a very Happy Birthday Dear Chippy – Happy Birthday to You!
    I love you both in the long-sleeved Saris, you both look sensational!

    • katechiconi says:

      Dressing up was such fun! You forget how glamorous such garments can be when all your emphasis is on warmth or comfort. We’re now considering a big Indian party for her 60th, still a few years off, but that gives us plenty of time to plan.

  5. Dayphoto says:

    Happy Birthday, Chippy!

  6. Going Batty in Wales says:

    You both look great in your saris and as quite a few women of Indian heritage wear jeans and t shirts I don’t think anyone can complain if we occasionally wear clothes from their culture. You sound to have had a wonderful few days.

    • katechiconi says:

      I tend to agree, but there can be a tendency towards cultural appropriation which isn’t always acceptable, so I wanted to acknowledge the issue. The sari is much more beautiful than it appears in the photo; I must do a close up at some point, probably when I show the altered/refurbished choli.

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        I think wearing clothes from other cultures is a good way to get a feel for how the lives of other people are – just as wearing something from a subculture of the UK which I am not part of gives me insights. I have noticed that if I make an important phone call wearing gardening clothes it goes less well than if I dress as if going to the office even though the person on the other end has no idea what I have on or look like. Clothes affect us.

      • katechiconi says:

        Funny thing about phone calls… like, if you want to finish a call and the other party keeps on talking, you stand up, and somehow that communicates itself and you can end it.

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        I hadn’t thoughht of that one but of course it’s true!

  7. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Oh, what a glorious colour combo you two had going on! And how wonderful to finally get to visit with friends! Hope all turns out for your next get-together, & thanks for sharing with us. Happy Birthday, Chippy!

  8. This post makes me so happy. You both look stunning in the Sari’s. I find them beautiful. Now to find out if Chippy puts Aretha through her paces now that you are home. Mr. Mouse will forgive immediately after setting eyes on you. I’ve seen the joy in a small dog when I came home. Mouse will have that king sized version of it. Be prepared. Of course you can get the same greeting coming back from the market. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Mr Mouse is home, and has beaten the boundaries outside, sniffed all his beds inside and is now flat out on his favourite rug. We are not *quite* forgiven yet, but he was very pleased to see us. As for the saris, I agree, they are both elegant and dignified. I really hope I get a chance to wear it at some future point, together with the choli I shall be altering to fit me.

  9. nanacathy2 says:

    I have always thought saris were very elegant garments. You are very lucky to have been given one, in which I might say you look terrific. The greeting Mouse will give you will border on the ecstatic. Safe journey.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you, I’m in full agreement about how elegant they are. Mouse was very pleased to see us, but we’ve had SOME tales about his exploits, together with video evidence! More on that another day…

  10. Debbierose says:

    Glad you had a great (although cold weather) trip and enjoyed some of Victoria’s and Melbourne’s culinary offerings and scenic delights. You both look fabulous in the Sari and the colour delightful.

    • katechiconi says:

      We had some spectacular food while we were there, much of it Chippy’s own cooking. I do miss the variety and choice available in a large southern city…

  11. Raina B. says:

    Coming from Kolkata myself, this warms my heart! You both look so beautiful in the seven yards of fabric 💛

  12. The sari looks beautiful on you, and I enjoyed the festive mood of your party preparations!

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