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Trendsetter of the Week

Nilam Thaokr

By Sydney Brown
On April 19, 2011

The most beautiful part of the University of Bridgeport is our diversity. Although we may speak, dress and worship differently, we all are connected through this campus. The International Festival is the perfect picture of unity at UB. Our trendsetter this week shares what is unique about the fashions and the customs in her Hindu culture.


Name: Nilam Thakor

Year: Junior

Major: Biology

Hometown: Baroda, Gujarat, India

Heritage: Hindu


Do you incorporate your Hindu heritage into your clothing?

After coming to the states, I'm not using the Hindu heritage that much compared to when I was in India. In India, we have so many functions and get-togethers every week, so I was more into cultural and traditional wear there. After coming here, it has reduced a lot but I do wear it in specific functions, like for the International Festival.


How is fashion different in India compared to the United States?

India is growing, so people are accepting the Western culture—even the clothing and style. But in India we have small religious groups that still only wear the traditional dress; they won't wear the Western outfits. The place I am from, girls are totally free and wear everything, it's about 70% similar to the states. But the girls there are not as open-minded as the girls are over here; they can say anything in front of everyone, but over there the girls are a little more shy. The low-cut shirts, micro-minis or even the bikini, aren't acceptable. Only Bollywood actresses can wear low-cut tops, micro-minis and bikinis because they are acting in the movies.


What is a typical outfit for a man or woman in India for a special occasion?

If it's related to marriage or even engagements, men wear sherwani, and women wear gagra choli with a dupatta covering their head.  In puja, which is a religious ceremony in the temple, men wear kurtas and women wear saris or salwar kameez. For parties, the girls wear clothing similar to what the girls wear here, but with limits, like Western dresses but that are not low-cut and not too short.


Are there any colors that symbolize special meanings in your culture?

For marriage in our culture, we have different functions. One of the functions is called Mehendi, for that function girls typically wear green—that is the symbol for Mehendi. For the marriage ceremony the bride will wear red. For funerals we wear everything totally white. Black would be used for parties. 


What is your favorite part about being Hindu?

We have lots of respect for our elders and we are so family-oriented. For our elders, we literally touch their feet to receive a blessing. Here, if you are 20 or 21, guys usually separate from their parents and have their own lives but in India we have a joint family system. So in India, after marriage, the guy lives with his parents and the girl leaves her home and moves in with his family and accepts his family's culture.

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