My favorite purchase of my wedding shopping trip to India was buying my churra. My least favorite part about being married is wearing my churra.
Allow me to explain.
After the stress of selecting the wedding lengha (which you already read all about) I fortunately located my churra with ease. As we entered the tiny shop in Pataila, my churra was right there in front of me in the exact color of my lengha. I loved them. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, I would open my churra box and admire them. I simply could not wait for them to adorn my wrists on the wedding.
The churra are ceremonial bridal bracelets that are traditionally given to the bride the day before the wedding and placed on her hands by her maternal uncle. In my case, my mummaji was not able to travel from India for my wedding. Instead he presented my churra during my India shopping trip. In our own little way we were able to complete this tradition.
Another part of the tradition, is that the bride is supposed to keep her churra on her wrists for 40 days or longer (depending on who you talk to). That’s right. You are to wear your churra at all times for the number of days specified by your mother in law. You are not supposed to take it off for any reason. I repeat. You are not supposed to take it off for ANY reason.
My friend Ranju wore her churra for a full year after marriage. I always thought she looked beautiful showing up to parties and events in her bridal bangels.
What I didn’t know is that this tradition has a major downside. Wearing the churra is a soooooooooooooo inconvenient! It’s hard to sleep with these things. Hard to take a shower with these things. Hard to wash dishes with these things. Hard not to fret about accidently breaking these things (that would be bad!). Hard (and annoying) to hear that shun shun noise every time you move. Hard to find clothes to match these things (I only have so many outfits that match a purple churra). Hard to type on a computer all day with these things. Oh and did I mention how much they make my wrists sweat and how I think they are giving me a rash? Seriously, the list of inconveniences goes on and on. I don’t know how Ranju did it!
After the first few days of matrimony, the charm of the churra wore off and I was ready to take some shortcuts. I want to wear them to please my mother in law. But like all Indian traditions, I decided to modify (just a teeny tiny bit) to suit my American sensibilities. So here is what I do.
1. I take off the churra to shower. Complications abound with the churra in the shower. At the beginning of my day, I really want to shower without complications. So for me, no churra in the shower.
2. I take off almost all of my churra to go to work. Shhhhh don’t tell my mother in law! Here is what I do, exactly (because I know you want the details). I keep my churra box hidden in the back seat of my car. When I drive to work, I stop in the Starbucks parking lot five minutes from my house and I take off all but three of the bangles. The rest are placed in the churra box and re-hidden in the back seat. When I leave work, I sit in my car and put the rest of the churra back on before hitting the freeway. This can easily take me over 10 minutes since you have to put it on in the right order! If you mess up even one they don’t look right.
Pretty much the rest of the time I keep them on. Pretty much. Well…there was that one important meeting this week where I decided to take them all off for an hour. But hey, what is a business woman to do? I can’t conduct a high level meeting with glitzy purple bangles on my wrists, now can I?
Regardless of how I am managing the churra wearing process, my intentions are to keep it on as much as possible. I want to abide by all the pre and post wedding traditions but this one is a bit tough to handle. Only 19 more days to go.
Post Script: My mother in law thinks I wear them all the time so if you see her please not a peep about my modifications to the churra wearing rules.
Post Script 2: I now have a churra tan line.