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Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets. Tulle, netting, lace, chiffon and organza veils are common bridal wear. How to Get the Yellow Out of a Veil. How to Dye Tulle. Brought to you by LEAFtv.
Items you will need White towels Measuring cup Plastic container Color-safe oxygen-based powder bleach Plastic spoon Bath tub Latex gloves.
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Warnings Never wash a brittle or fragile antique veil, or a veil that has delicate beading or wax in the trim. Let a vintage restoration specialist handle fragile veils. Never use bleach, especially chlorine-based bleach, on silk or rayon veils. Let a professional cleaner tackle these fabrics. There was nothing that could match it for daring. It was the most routine, inevitable thing a girl could do. And the most terrifying. After that, what move could possibly be as bold? It would be her destiny as it had been theirs. The songs had featured in the Bollywood movies screening at The Astor, the cinema house in New Amsterdam, the town nearby.
The boys in the village would skip school to catch the pivoting hips, but that was their privilege. As a girl, how did she dare? A good girl from a good family, she would never settle into a scarlet cushioned seat next to boys who might wonder how precisely the veil had become stained: Was it from sex or violence? The image had come from Kabir, a saint-poet from the land that her ancestors had left generations ago. As Rani sewed in the yard, or helped her mother grind dal in the kitchen, she would chant:.
These words, written some four centuries earlier, would fly away from her as she mouthed them, their meaning difficult and strange. When she was big enough, the old women tried to tell her how to make sense of the poems. Trust was their instruction and refrain.
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When you go to your marriage bed, they explained, the stain will be the spot that proves you are pure; but know also what Kabir knew, that the besmirched veil is the physical world, the impure body that we must all cast off in death. Did death and marriage call for the same song? Rani might have been forgiven for wondering, as she intoned:. When Rani arrived at the little white house standing on stilts, so like the bandy-legged egrets that alighted in the rice fields, her in-laws were kind.
They were not the cruel ones foretold in so many sasurals , the ones where mother-in-laws slapped their daughter-in-laws for failing to make perfectly round rotis or father-in-laws loomed, with the rancid smell of stale bush rum on their breath. Ma and Pa doted on her. Ramchand was both loving and not. It was easy to admire him. He looked like a matinee idol, with thick, oiled curls and a cocksure grin that betrayed his knowledge of just how convincing his jawline was; on his face light and motion played, in eternal boyishness.
What dealt the final blow, making him irresistible, was the vulnerable undertow in otherwise scampish eyes. They wanted better for him——and Rani was definitely that. Her family had some position. Their business, though struggling then, had once been robust. As early as the thirties, Mohabir Enterprises was exporting rice overseas, all the way to the islands; they had an office in New Amsterdam, and it even had a telephone.
At eighteen, what did Ramchand have, besides his ambition and eyes that seduced? When she arrived, with a spangled chunari well too proud to be stained, he had Rani. To have her, as his wife, was one path to the prosperous world that his confidence had marked as his own.
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Success was rightly his. And when he removed her veil that first night, it was with a tender kind of possessiveness. Whose woman was she? She and all that she represented was his, to do with as he pleased. He could not have learned it from the Bollywood movies at the Astor, with their strategic cut-aways, leaving kisses suspended in the imagination, somewhere between intention and execution.
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There were no scripts for it there, nor in the songs that Rani was taught. She knew only that she liked Ramchand and wished to please him. She knew, too, that blood rushed to her shoulders when he took her by the hand and led her into their bedroom.
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The sensation was bewildering, a strange kind of levitation, as if she were both anchored in her body and floating outside it. The command was gentle. And he spoke softly to her, admiring her beauty, expressing wonder at the depth of innocence in her eyes, telling her how proud it made him to nuzzle a nose as sculpted as hers. Again, her fair shoulders blushed. He undid her blouse to reveal them, a few shades less scarlet than her sari, and instead of turning those innocent eyes away, she looked directly into his own.
They had a liquid quality that made her dissolve, but in that instant they crystallized with purpose, as if before him lay an impossible target that he had to apply every muscle and all his wits toward hitting. It was that single-minded look, fixed with determination on his sudden goal, that she would most remember about their wedding night. This stalactite quality in the eyes would appear again during the course of their marriage.
It was there when, on the edge of orgasm, lying on top of her, he yanked at her hair, giving her an unexpected thrill.
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And it would be there the time he had her on her hands and knees, and she looked back over her shoulder, to hear him express an intention that she could never have imagined him expressing, much less with such blunt, profane brutality. How dare she deny him? In a fit, faster than either of them could register it, he completed an act that he would, much later, recognise required forgiveness. It provided some comfort to him to remember that, afterward, he had held her, stroking her hair as if she were a bruised child. He had been, at once, her violator and her protector.
And she, like him, would for a long time afterward tether and untether feeling to fact: How could she have fought him?
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