JULY 2017
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida



Kiran Bahl


Hello summer! The new season and my favorite time of year also bring more grand news – we are moving and moving up! Starting the first weekend of July, Gro Styles an Indian Boutique is moving to 10919 N. 56th St., Tampa, in the beautiful Sherwood Forest Center. Please visit us there and wish us luck!

Also, this month, I’d like to gently remind us of our heritage. We are mostly South Asian reading this, including Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Many have moved to the States to better their lives and their families’/childrens’ lives. However, I’ve been noticing that many of the same, particularly those that have moved here recently, have decided not to wear cultural clothing.

I realize Florida is hot. I also realize wearing a sari or suit for many ladies seems cumbersome. How pretty though we look in these ensembles! Even a simple cotton kurti or skirt can make us feel lovely; after all, we are the original bohemenians. Not only do we shine in a rainbow of colors, sequins and sparkle, we also stand out in a crowd of the normal everyday Western dress code.

Indian weddings, for example, are long-awaited functions for months, deciding which lengha or sari to wear, and how to match our significant others. We plan each day of the typical big-fat-Indian-wedding-week. The older generation would pull out their cherished clothing and jewelry to display for all to see, while the younger would eagerly go out and buy the perfect, trendiest outfit to show off. Statistics from a survey conducted not too long ago show that 5 out of 10 Indian weddings or wedding functions are cocktail dress/gown themed or semi-formal American. Only five years ago, the numbers were less than half, at only 2.

Of course, another influence for this is the mix of regions at these weddings. We are now global citizens and intercultural marriages of course bring about variety and change to the Indian dress theme. But 8 out of 10 non-South Asians marrying a person of South Asian descent want the wedding to be a traditional, full South Asian themed event, whereas only 6 out of 10 South Asians want it as it usually is. Interesting!

Dinner parties, engagement functions, even larger get-togethers at home have become jeans/T-shirts or maxi dress occasions. It’s easier to be casual, yes, but how about mixing some of the lazy, more modern dressing and adding some beautiful twists? Wear your jeans with a kurta. Men, try a kurta with your khakis. Indian shoes/mojhris look so exotic with jeans and a tank top. Ladies, large Indian earrings with a pretty dress will shine. Anklets, bangles, belly chains all further enhance an otherwise everyday look!

Again, Indian clothing and jewelry is beautiful. Seeing the love for them more than ever from non-South Asians than South Asians has been troubling me a bit. Yes, I was born and raised here in the States. And perhaps because of this, not being amid it all, I still adore Indian clothing and jewelry more than even my own family. I’m lucky to love what I do. Playing dress up, too, has always been a perk – this helps! Try showing off your culture, too, it’ll be appreciated more than you know!

Enjoy your summer and please do visit Gro Styles at our new location. And as always, remember to gro with style!

Kiran Bahl of Gro Styles, “An Indian Boutique” in Tampa, can be reached at (813) 843-9040, e-mail kiran@grostyles.com or visit www.facebook.com/grostyles

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