The Tale of the Wrath Inducing Sneakers

Posted: January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

It was an ordinary cool evening in Kandy, Akurana to be precise. My mother hails from there, my grandmother lives there, and it is the land of mad almost vertical roads, bumpy broken bylanes, backyards with monkeys in the trees and where everyone knows everyone. I love it.

Unfortunately it is also a land of painfully boring muslim weddings. Yeegh.

Let me paint you a picture, if you’re a noob to boring muslim weddings.

Aunties. Everywhere. Shiny scarves. Shiny bangles.
Bored looking teenagers, too much make up, flipping their hair.
Biriyani, lots of biriyani. Wattalapam.
Fanta and Sprite bottles.
Arabic music as the bride and groom walk down the aisle. Interrupted by Beethoven when they sit down.
They’re on the stage throne, a spectacle in black and white.
Mehendi. Bride blinks against the harsh warm spotlight, hoping the sweat won’t spoil the make up.
Aunties staring, nodding, smiling.
People at tables, eating. Pineapple appetizers. Talking about things to do with nothing.
People leaving, kissing and hugging, or pretending to, sniffing the sides of each other’s faces instead.

In short, it’s a lot of eating and leaving in a flurry of sequined saree hugs and crimson lipstick smiles. The couple are a mere sculpture in the room to be admired on the podium in all their weddingly glory.

Anyway, I had four pairs of shoes, but alas, two are partially made of cloth (I have a weakness for cloth-ey shoes), and they tore because I’m the walking type. All I had left were two pairs of sneakers, one was old and purple and checkered, and the other was red and new.

I wore the red and new ones to the wedding.
And my shawl didn’t even have sequins on it.

Bad move.

Of course, no one said a thing at the occasion itself, and I had a wonderfully cordial boring time. But later my mother gets a call from a concerned relative.

We need to talk about Makuluwo! The way she turned up to that wedding, in her sneakers, just like that, so casual, so nonchalant, tch tch!

And such did the uncles and aunties all discuss, shaking their bobbly heads in disapproval, their double chins quivering in despair. I am so sure they will bring it up a bunch of times for the next few months.
Apparently wearing sneakers to a wedding is a grave offense and I have dishonored the family name.
Okay not really but the grave offense part is true.

Why are people so stupid about what you wear to a wedding? It’s not like I came in my pajamas. Or in dirty combat boots. The sneakers were really new and pretty, not even conspicuous Converse ones. I was dressed smart, just not conventionally. I wore shoes with laces on them instead of straps, big freaking deal.
Needless to say, I just stuck my tongue out and rolled my eyes, in all my 20 years of maturity. I really don’t get it. How does it matter that a random girl in the crowd is wearing shoes with laces on them in a wedding hall? It’s like going to the Olympics and making a ruckus about the camera man wearing a tutu. Does it really matter?
My mother keeps thinking this is a ‘phase’ and that eventually I will grow out of the ‘madness,’ and won’t accept that ‘phases’ don’t last for ten years.

Even my brother makes a snooty I’m-older-than-you face and declares that society has certain norms that one must unquestioningly abide by, you silly naive young girl, you!

All this over a pair of sneakers.
At least now I have an excuse to not go to these blahbaric fiascoes right?

  1. Chavie says:

    You WORE sneakers to a wedding?!?!

    *shocked look*


  2. 😀

    “Biriyani. Lots of Biriyani. Watalappam.”
    Aah, how I love those!

    Maks, I’m with you in your thinking, but then again, I’m labeled as an outcast!

  3. PseudoRandom says:

    It’s not about the pair of sneakers, Maks…it’s about the apparent lack of respect.

    I think the general view is that a wedding is a significant enough occasion for guests to make an effort to dress in a ‘celebratory’ fashion. A lot of people would consider it disrespectful if someone was invited to share one of the most important days for a couple, and they seemingly couldn’t be bothered to make an effort. Also, the fact that, in your case, the ‘inappropriate’ attire was not a result of ignorance could be taken by some to be an insult to the couple (whether it was meant to be or not is irrelevant to them).

    I accept your arguments against these ‘blahbaric fiascos’ as you call them, and if you want to rebel against them, that’s your prerogative…but keep in mind that your mother is the one who has to deal with the consequences, not you. It’s your mother they’ll be gossiping about, saying she hasn’t brought up her daughter properly, not you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care what these daft Sri Lankan aunties say about me…but I get offended if they say anything bad about my parents. I conform (within reason) for their sake.

    • makuluwo says:

      Gee thanks a lot 😛 I don’t think I was being ‘disrespectful’ at all and neither was I trying to rebel – if I wanted to do those things, I would have gone in my bata slippers. The shoes were just as lovely as any other pair of shoes, just that everyone’s got it into their heads that ‘shoes with laces cannot be worn at weddings.’ And if people judge my mother based on the type of shoes I wear to a wedding, those people aren’t worth the attention, I’m sure she’d agree.

  4. Ahamed Nizar says:

    +1 Pseudorandom. Also your brother does that cause he’s gotten enough from us about him not dressing for the occasion.

    And its all about the respect. It’s the muslim community. Don’t worry about it. They just need something new to talk about once in a while.

  5. T says:

    Actually, I’ve seen a lot of boys wear converse with their suits to weddings.. I suppose it’s only a problem if a girl does it? meh.

  6. Jack Point says:

    Hi Makuluwo,

    Sorry to butt in like this but I could not find your email address on your blog.

    Would you care to support a cause?

    I’m not sure if you are a visitor to the Galle Lit Fest, but this year Reporters without Borders called for a boycott of the festival. We have set up a Facebook group opposing the boycott call and we will write to the signatories once we have enough members.

    Sunila Abeysekera, an award winning human rights activist makes a good case as to why the boycott call was a mistake, see her letter here:

    My own post on the matter is here:

    If you think the call for the boycott of the literary festival was wrong, please add your friends to the group below.

    This years festival went well, but if properly organised next years could be sunk by a boycott, which would be a pity. About 312 people so far have signed the RSF appeal, we are hoping to grow this group to something larger than that. If each new member can add 5-6 friends we will be there.

    “Whether you like the literary festival or not, whether you support the government or not, if you feel that Reporters without Borders’ boycott was damaging to the cause of free speech, please join this group, to prove that most people oppose the boycott.”

    Please pass this on


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