Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hollywood, Dhaka, Bangladesh

“I didn’t bring my Marilyn costume,” I replied when Taheera first invited me to the Hollywood Ball. When I saw her at the American Club a few weeks later, she was surrounded by Ball attendees and selling tickets left and right. Without a clue about who I’d dress up as, go with, or what it would be like, I agreed to buy a ticket as well. If nothing else it would be a unique experience.

Once the decision to go was made, the real work started. I needed a dress. I have one at home that I really like, in fact I like it so much I was planning to have another one made here. If I found a Marilyn wig, I could wear this new dress and be all set. Perfect! I asked my mom to take pictures of the dress so that I could take them to Shaheem the tailor, and went out to buy some fabric. Standing in front of the rows and rows of silks and Sopura, I was overwhelmed. Did I want a dusty lavender dress? Should I go mauve? Maybe turquoise? I left without buying anything.

It was Saturday afternoon when Ann and I headed to the tailor. I needed the dress by Thursday. Shaheem advised me on fabric options and told me that as long as I brought the material by Sunday it could be done. Ann and I went back to Sopura and settled on a pale rose silk.

That night I had a change of heart. The wig would be difficult to find and even if I did find one, in this heat, it would be uncomfortable. I was starting to think that Taheera was right, I should just use my natural hair. But who to be? Someone suggested Audrey Hepburn, and though I’d never even seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I was all of a sudden in love with the idea.

I brought pictures of the long black dress she wears as the peers into the Tiffany’s window during the opening scene of the movie, to the tailor the next day. He suggested a fabric and said it would be done by Thursday. We scheduled a fitting for Tuesday and I was on my way.

Going to the Ball as Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly without ever seeing the movie just didn’t seem right. So I went to the video store up the street and purchased the DVD for $1. Though the movement of the characters mouths and their voices were out of sync for the majority of the film, I enjoyed it.

Now that the character study was done, I needed accessories – a tiara, cigarette holder, and earrings (the pearls I already had). The tiara I was told would be very difficult, if not impossible to find. I secured a back up from one of the school staff – it would do, but it just wasn’t quite right. After school on Thursday the day before the Ball, I headed down to Gulshan I shopping mall. On my way I stopped at a party store where with guarded enthusiasm I bought a very kitschy kids tiara. Again it would do, but it wasn’t perfect. The Gulshan I mall is much larger and much more Bangladeshi than the one I’d previously gone to (where Mr. Baker is) – many more shops, sights, and smells. I strolled through the tightly packed alleyways when a little stand caught my eye. I went over to look at some of the costume jewelry that was displayed and to my surprise there were a whole bunch of tiaras in the case. I pounced on it and a pair of pearl drop earrings immediately. I was so excited I completely forgot about the cigarette holder. (We fashioned it using paper, spray paint, and a receipt on Friday morning).

By Friday afternoon the dress, shoes, accessories were ready. I went to Nelo’s to get my hair done. No more than 15 minutes after they started, I was out the door. The amount of teasing they did to my hair was mind-blowing, but the real miracle was that they managed to pile all my hair on the top of my head. Total cost under $5.

Audrey, Jay Gatsby, and a lovely lady from the cast of Mad Men, arrived at 3rd Annual Dhaka Women’s Association Hollywood Ball at 7 PM. Following the red carpet, we entered the reception area where cardboard cutout celebrities mingled with a bunch of dressed up expats and Bengalis. Champagne was being passed around and after the cocktail hour ended, the doors opened and we were lead into the ballroom.

The decorations were great! Fabric and twinkle lights cascaded from the ceiling, red table clothes and matching chair were set up, large Oscars flanked the Gone with the Wind movie poster on stage, and live video of the attendees was streaming to big screens at the front of the room.

Dinner was served and the entertainment began - music performers, magicians, comics and dancers took to the stage. For those of you who have seen Dirty Dancing – Havana Nights, the atmosphere reminded me a lot of the party the main character attends with her parents. As if that wasn’t enough, one of the dancing numbers was to a song from that movie! Once the talent show ended, everyone headed to the dance floor. The evening was a lot of fun!

In other, non-Ball-related, news:

The Bangladeshi postal service works. I received a letter from Flynn last week (Thank you Flynni Boy!) and it only took one week to get here!

I have re-booked my flight home via Thailand. Carly will meet me there and together we’ll travel around the country for three weeks, so I won’t be seeing the US again until mid-May. Very exciting!

The bad news: Bangladeshi cricket team lost to the West Indies, posting the 11th lowest cricket score ever recorded. The good news: I’m actually starting to understand the game!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you go girl ! Audrey Miss .... you look fantastic. Love Mama