The Dupatta Symbol


I think, one of the most interesting and (later on) confusing aspects of Pakistani culture was the dupatta. My mother did a splendid job on telling me about its cultural and apparel importance along with its imperative nature in most regions of the country. In her ever subtle manner, she explained to me that as soon as a Muslim girl grows up, she is required to cover her body modestly. Initially it was more like a rag around my neck but as soon I began “blossoming”, I loved my dupatta like a police officer loves his gun. We all know how our Pakistani men are notorious for their staring stamina and I had my fair share of lewd experiences. That is when the dupatta came to my rescue. It’s like, you’re buying clothes in the bazaar and you can feel the salesman visually examining your curves and arches. What does a typical Pakistani woman do? She fixes her dupatta with a scowl.

I’m going to buy a DSLR some day and make a collage of the mentioned scenario. You will thank me. I know you will. But first meet Dupatta.

After accepting the dupatta as my savior, I began taking note of how girls adorned their feminine-beauty-covering buddy. I realized that every style left a message about the girl’s personality along with how the society perceives the young lady. There are five distinctive styles I cannot forget. Here’s an analytical(?)  note on each one of them.

Exhibit A: TRA LA LA LA LA Dupattay Wali


Probably the most hilarious kind to have ever existed. This is the TRA LA LA LA LA Dupattay Wali. She barely knows she’s wearing one. It dangles off her right shoulder, slipping to her right wrist while the left bit goes flying in the air. Sometimes her dupatta is on the floor while other times she’s simply too busy TRA LA LA LA LA -ing to notice where it disappeared. This kind (no offence) attracts the most eve teasers in the bazaar. In addition to that, the TRA LA LA LA LA Dupattay Wali is constantly chased by her worried mother who, in her earnest intention of covering her daughter from South Asian male interest, will end up buying a chadar for her in a week or two.

Exhibit B: Linear Dupattay Wali


Some of us love precision. But nobody loves accurate lines and measurements the way Linear Dupattay Wali does. She studies either in Beaconhouse School System or in Lahore Grammar School and is most probably the Head Girl of the senior section. She will take 4 minutes and 36 seconds to use at least 52 safety pins on her dupatta. And if it doesn’t look straight enough, hell is on its way. 

Exhibit C: Paindu Dupattay Wali


Paindu, a commonly-used term in Pakistan, is the only word that will explain this girl’s fashion sense (or lack thereof).  That’s right. This kind won’t shift their dupatta just a bit here and then there to look presentable. Indifference to fashion keeps them going.


Exhibit D: Bhangra Dupattay Wali or Intellectual Aunty



This kind will always leave a smirk on my face. The Bhangra Dupattay Wali is either a tomboy or an intellectual aunty or *drum roll* a dyke. You’ll find her usually debating the complexities of philosophy and literature. And as soon as she moves her muscle, you’ll think, “BHANGRA TIME” but she’ll explain her take on feminism instead. They’re not well-endowed either. Yeah, I’m a perv whatever.

Exhibit E: Daredevil Stylish Baji

I congratulate you if you wear your dupatta like this because no matter how pretty someone tells you you look, they’re probably calling you “shameless”  behind your back. This kind is, I guess, the daredevil. Their dupatta sticks to their necks and never goes down. So if a guy leers at them, they’ll probably gasp and ask, “Why must he stare like that, you know?!” in their Pakistani accents.

———————– ———————– ———————– ———————–

So what kind are you? 🙂


8 thoughts on “The Dupatta Symbol

  1. Oh my lord! LOL I could think of at least 1 person for every type. This is hilarious! The author actually taking the time to draw those sketches was really dedicated to the cause. Wonderful post. Well done.


  2. there is another kind flourishing now a days “invisible dupatta wali” (i just saw a girl on tv hosting some morning show wearing qamiz shalwar without dupatta)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s