Story so far: Sumati is the brains behind Indian Ladies Club where men from all walks of life gather together to become the woman of their dreams. Sumati is assisted by her very good lovely friend Anjali in setting up her apartment for the ILC meeting. Madhurima, the senior most member of the club joins them to manage the special event.
Recently, the “ladies” at ILC had welcomed a new member Anvesha through a very special ceremony of her transformation into a princess. Towards the end of that night, Madhurima announced that Sumati will no longer be able to hold ILC events at her home since she is getting married. Thus, ILC meet ups won’t happen until they find a new place. Anvesha went to a late-night party with a few ladies of the club, along with Sasha and Soha.
Next morning, when they woke up, Sumati realized that she had become a woman overnight. Anvesha and Sasha experienced the same thing. They thought they were turning crazy. But the world around them had changed, and the world seemed to always remember them as women, and never a man. Becoming a woman was going to bring challenges in their life they never imagined. Sumati, for one, was soon going to get married to a man named Chaitanya, and her in-laws were here to take her for bridal shopping.
It’s a dream of almost every crossdresser to dress up and become a bride one day. While becoming a bride can be the most fascinating fantasy, the experience of the shopping for the wedding itself can be one of the most memorable experience. The joy of visiting shops with brightly colored sarees and lehengas on display on mannequins, where several women gather to find the outfit for their most memorable day of life, is unforgettable for any woman. They get to hold, touch and feel the most luxurious sarees which they would, otherwise, not wear in their whole life. The ladies get to chit-chat and share their experience of their own wedding while the bride-to-be gets to be at the center of attention of all. While the bride-to-be tries the heaviest, the prettiest and the costliest sarees and lehengas available in the shop, the ladies around her admire the new bride each time she tries a new outfit. The bride smiles and her face glows with happiness, while other ladies remain in awe. Not many crossdressers get to do that. But Sumati, she was going to experience all that which no crossdresser, in her knowledge, had ever experienced.
It wasn’t like Sumati had never been to saree shops. But all those times, she was a man pretending to buy a saree for his wife or girlfriend or mother. And this time, she was not going to pretend. She was going to buy a saree very proudly for herself as a woman! She felt such a joy that she had completely forgotten that she was going to get married to a man.
Sumati was now in a market street popular for bridal saree shops. She was walking with Prashant and Kalavati (her in-laws), Rohit (her brother) and Chaitanya (her fiance). She had walked on this street before. And as always, she was mesmerized by the beautiful colorful sarees and lehengas that were on the display in a series of shops. The street was buzzed with many other brides like her who had come to do bridal shopping with their families. The happiness could be felt in the air. And certainly could be seen on the smiling faces of Sumati and Kalavati. These women were happy and excited to shop.
As they walked, Sumati peeped into a tiny shop where a salesman was showing a saree to a few women. He had made the pleats on the saree and was holding it around his waist to show how it would look when worn. The women were touching and feeling the fabric of the saree while they decided if it is worth the purchase. Sumati smiled to herself. She remembered how many times she must have felt like becoming a saree salesman so that she could get to be around women’s clothes all the time. And she would never have minded putting a saree on herself like the salesman did. In fact, she would have worn it completely.
As they were walking by several shops, Sumati started thinking about where to begin her shopping. There were so many shops to look at. “Each shop seems to have a lovely bridal collection. If I look at every shop and try several sarees on before making any decision, it would take several days to complete my shopping! I always thought I knew what I would like. But god!! Looking at these pretty sarees hanging in the shops, I want to try them all before I make any decision! Should I purchase a lehenga? Or should I try sarees and lehengas both? And see which I like better? No no… that will make it even more time consuming task. I am going to focus only on sarees.” Sumati’s mind was contemplating what she would do to be efficient in her shopping.
“Listen, my dear husband. I am warning you that I am not going to spare any expense today. I have got only one daughter-in-law and I want her to buy anything she likes, no matter how much it costs!”, Kalavati said to her husband Prashant. She was being a little dramatic.
“My dear Kalavati ji. Just like you, I have got only one daughter-in-law as well. But that’s not the point. Who told you that I am not going to spend money for a very special day in the life of our lovely Sumati?”, Prashant responded politely. Both Rohit and Chaitanya were smiling at their conversation.
“OK, dear. But tell me are we going there or not?”, Kalavati enquired. “Yes, my dear wife. We are going to the shop you like the most.”, said Prashant.
That street was lined with an impressive series of shops for bridal shopping. But one shop stood apart from all that. Once Sumati reached at the front of the shop, she could not stop gazing at the way the designer sarees were on display at that shop. Sumati wished this was the shop Kalavati was talking about. And to her surprise, Prashant said, “So should we go in or are we going to stare at the shop from the outside?” Sumati almost had tears of joy in her eyes. She wanted to say, “Thank you very much, Daddy.” But she stopped from saying that but her eyes conveyed her message to Prashant.
Once they entered the shop, they were taken by a lady to an area where they all could sit on the mattress where the sales people would show them the clothes. Sumati sat next to Kalavati with her legs bent backwards, her back straight and her arms on her thighs. She always knew how to sit like a lady, but in a woman’s body, it seemed far easier. There are differences between a man’s body and a woman’s body. The wider hips and a more flexible waist makes it easier for a woman to sit on the floor. Realizing that the shopping process has begun, Sumati started blushing. Kalavati, being the only woman with Sumati, was there to ensure that Sumati doesn’t feel uncomfortable among three men. Men can get impatient while shopping, and Kalavati didn’t want that to pressurize Sumati into hurrying up her shopping.
“Please show us some bridal sarees in the shades between orange to maroon, preferably in red.”, Kalavati said to the salesman. “Sure, madam. But please have some cold drinks first. I will show you all the best items we have. Do you have any price range in mind?”, said the salesman.
“Do not worry about the prices, but don’t show us anything exorbitantly expensive.”, Kalavati said with a pride on her face.
“Alright, madam.”, salesman said and went to get a few sarees. He came back after a few minutes, and began to show sarees. “Madam, this is a Kanchipuram silk saree. It is very fashionable to wear in south indian weddings.” It was a very rich magenta-pink silk saree with floral and temple designs weaved in golden threads. It came with a heavily embroidered blouse piece. “Wow”, that’s all Sumati could think of when she looked at that saree. Any woman who would wear that would get to feel like a queen. South indian sarees are really classic. The fabric when touched felt really luxurious. Sumati’s own saree that she was wearing at the moment, seemed like a very poor one in comparison.
“Madam, this second sample is a gota patti saree on a pure georgette material. This type of saree is very popular in our area.”, the salesman showed another beautiful saree. It was a dual color saree in orange and pink. It was adorned with zari, sequins, stones, and stones. It wasn’t a silk but a little transparent georgette material. “This feels pretty royal. Can I hold it?”, Sumati said. “Of course, madam.”
“Woaahh… This is really heavy.”, Sumati’s delicate hands could not handle the weight of that saree. “Huh.. just until yesterday, I could have easily handled the weight of saree like this.”, thought Sumati.
“Yes, dear. The heavy embroidered sarees like this with stone work are usually heavy to carry. But they give a very regal appearance when worn. You must know that these are very popular nowadays.”, Kalavati added her two cents.
Of course, Sumati knew all that. Searching for bridal sarees used to be one of her favorite activities to do in her leisure time. That saree was indeed impressive, but she didn’t like the dual color sarees as much as a single colored saree.
The salesman opened another saree and said, “Madam, this one is a zardozi style saree. This .. ”
“No. No. We don’t want zarozi sarees. Can you show me the heavy embroidered sarees with stone work in a single color?”, Sumati said.
“Looks like somebody knows what she wants.”, Chaitanya giggled.
“Of course, my dear hubby-to-be.”, Sumati didn’t mind laughing with her best friend from her childhood. “If you know what you want, then this shopping will be over pretty soon. Good for us.”, Chaitanya said on behalf of the men sitting there.
This process of looking at sarees continued for more than three hours, and the two ladies must have looked, tried and discussed the pros and cons for each of more than 50 sarees they saw together. There was always one quality missing in one saree which they would find in another. But then, they would find something in that saree that they did not like. It was not the case that those sarees were not beautiful, but when you are shopping for the wedding, that saree has to be perfect. There cannot be any compromise on that. The guys had nothing much to say in the matter, nor they had any right to do so.
The final moment almost arrived when Sumati said, “How do I look in this one?” Sumati asked everyone with a ray of hope in her eyes. She was wearing a magnificent hot pink saree. Women’s eyes can distinguish between various shades of pink such as fuchsia pink, hot pink, baby pink, neon pink, and so on. For men, all those colors are just pink. “Sumati didi, you are looking stunning. You will steal all the attention on your wedding day.”, said Rohit. He really admired how beautiful his sister looked.
“My prettiest daughter-in-law will definitely wear this one on her wedding.”, said Kalavati. “Can’t get better than this dear daughter.”, said Prashant.
“I can’t wait to see you in your full glory on the wedding day when you adorn this saree.”, said Chaitanya.
Sumati blushed listening to all the compliments. The decision was made as the saree was finalized.
“Now that we have finalized the saree, let’s look at lehengas.”, said Kalavati.
“What? There is still more to purchase?”, exclaimed Chaitanya. “Of course, there is a lot more to purchase son! She can’t stay in the same outfit the whole day. She will have to change for different events. We will just get a lehenga today for the main reception, and she can purchase clothes for other events on her own.”, Kalavati almost reprimanded Chaitanya for being impatient.
“Relax, Chaitanya. Mom, I think I know what I want for lehenga. I had been looking at that aisle of hanging lehengas for sometime, and only one has caught my attention. Let me pick that up. I will come back dressed in that in a minute.”, said Sumati.
This is usually a problem when men join women in their shopping. Men get impatient after some time. But Sumati saved their day. She was back soon wearing a red lehenga choli. It was a sleeveless choli, and her soft light skin radiated in that lehenga. Saying that she was looking any less than breathtaking would undermine the truth.
“Beta, please wear your heels to make sure that the lehenga is of right length. “, said Kalavati. Sumati obliged. “Hmm… we will have to get the choli altered to your size. But dear, I am ready to brag to all the women in the town that I have got the most beautiful daughter-in-law.”, everyone laughed as Kalavati said this.
“Wow, I am going to be a bride!”, Sumati was getting excited. At the moment, she was not realizing what getting married as a woman means. She had not really thought this through like how her life was going to change. All she could think about now was how gorgeous her wedding saree and lehenga were. In a way, she was thanking god for giving her very loving in-laws, and especially, a mother-in-law who loved her like a daughter. What Sumati was not thinking at this moment, or what she was desperately trying to avoid thinking about was that she was getting married to a man. Was she ready to become a wife? Was she ready to give herself and her body to a man? Wasn’t she physically attracted to girls all her life? She thought she would worry about this when she would be alone.
After the shopping was over, Prashant and Kalavati informed Sumati that they are going back to their town in about two hours. Rohit, being from the same town, was going back with them. They all had lunch together at a nearby restaurant. They all laughed. Sumati seemed really happy today. And Chaitanya was really noticing how happy she seemed. He felt as if he is the luckiest guy on the planet to have found a wife like Sumati. Any guy loves it when he sees his wife mingling well with his parents. Sumati was surely going to be a good daughter-in-law. But would she be a good wife too?
Soon after the lunch, Sumati and Chaitanya took his parents and Rohit to the railway station. Sumati hugged her brother Rohit to say good bye. This time there was no uneasiness. She was thankful that her brother was there to give her a company amidst a new family. She was now thinking very differently. May be she was getting a bit emotional. And tears in her eyes gave that away. “Please come again sooner, Rohit”, she said to her. She pulled his cheeks and said, “Don’t forget to take care of our parents back home. And tell mom that I am going to come home soon to help her with the wedding preparations.” Sumati was becoming a good daughter too.
Sumati now covered her head with her saree pallu, and along with Chaitanya, she touched the feet of her in-laws. “May god increase the love between you two and always keep you two together happy.”, said Prashant. Kalavati hugged her daughter-in-law with much love and affection.
Soon, Prashant, Kalavati and Rohit boarded their train and the train departed. Sumati and Chaitanya were now left alone on the railway platform. They both looked at each other. They both smiled. Chaitanya pulled down Sumati’s pallu from her head. He then grabbed her hand. Sumati didn’t object. She smiled again. She just felt comfortable with Chaitanya. After all, Chaitanya was her best friend from her childhood. They walked back towards their car in the parking lot.