Monday, 25 July 2011
My New Spiritual Home
Well! Unless you unleashed me in a chocolate factory with a spoon I couldn't have asked for more! We (me, The Toyboy Trucker, Elle and The Doctor) went to Southall Broadway to shop for wedding clothes... And I was entranced, bedazzled, completely overcome with dizzy excitement. So many fabulous shops. All those rainbow colours... All that glitter and sparkle and twinkle... Total, absolute bliss.
The Doctor's brother is getting married next month, in a traditional Hindu/Jain ceremony - which involves several events (not just the wedding - and even the reception takes place the day AFTER the nuptials) so we needed suitable outfits - naturally. Well, The Toyboy Trucker and The Doctor are wearing suits, but Elle and I felt that as "family" we should be bedecked in as much Indian splendour as possible... It wasn't just an excuse for yet more clothes shopping, honest...
So, we went to Southall to buy something stunning and authentic - and I absolutely adored it!!!! It's vibrant, jam-packed, lively - and looks and smells and sounds as if you've just stepped into a Bollywood movie. There's no "death of the High Street" in Southall, I can tell you. And oh, what bliss to be served by people who actually cared. Who were interested in what we bought and why we were buying it. Who said - and proved - that nothing was too much trouble.
Elle, determined to look fabulous and girly and not at all like a marquee (even though she will be nine months pregnant on the wedding day) homed in on swathes of sari silk in lilac and silver, turquoise and gold - all of which floated and fell beautifully round her bump - set off by matching softly-gathered salwar trousers encrusted with sequins and embroidery - and the most fabulous matching dupatta stoles, and looked like a princess. Albeit quite a large princess....
I settled on a salwar suit in purple and gold... I'm now convinced that I shall live in salwar suits for the rest of my life. Why have I never discovered them before???? So comfortable, so elegant, so flattering, so pretty - they're light and drifty to wear, hide a multitude of sins, and made me feel like a - well, no not a princess (too old, too fat) - maybe a sort of Bhangra Queen Mother????
By the time Elle and I had ooohed and aaahed our way up and down the Broadway, and eventually made up our minds, and then dived in and out of a zillion jewellery shops for the necessary matching multiple bangles and ear-rings, The Toyboy Trucker and The Doctor had become a bit bored with all the glitz and glam and girlie shrieks of glee, and wandered off to Jalebi Junction, one of the most famous food stalls Southall has to offer.
Jalebis are sticky, glorious, made-on-the-spot sweets. Spirals of fresh dough are piped into boiling oil and fried while you wait and watch. The dough takes on the characteristic orange colour in the deep frying process and is then dunked into another container of sugar syrup. The jalebis are then cooled on a wire rack until they can be popped into a brown paper bag and handed to you with the warning that they're very, very hot. Yes they are, but I defy anyone not to eat them while they're very, very hot. Even though you can't speak and get covered in syrup and look pretty disgusting... They're the most delicious things I've ever tasted - well, apart from the Gulab Jamons of course (the nearest thing to Rum Babas - and heaven - I've ever found).
Eventually - after eating our body-weight in an Indian veggie buffet restaurant - we made our way home, tired, full-to-bursting, and deliriously happy. All I hope now is that the baby stays put and we can wear our finery at the wedding - otherwise at the next Romantic Novelists shindig I'll be the fat one in the Salwar Suit and far too many bangles....