So, shortly after I got here eight months ago I wrote an entry called The Hated Dupata. While it was at first VERY irritating it has somewhat grown on me. So much so that when I do go home I will have issues when leaving the house because I will feel like I am forgetting something very important.
I have also begun to notice many uses for a dupata other than the obvious, being used for modesty.
Snot rag - I’ve seen MANY mothers using their dupata to wipe a babies nose when there was nothing else handy.
Cheese Cloth - At Thanksgiving I made homemade pumpkin pie. Usually I bake the pumpkin, but this time I thought I’d steam it because it would be MUCH quicker. However, the problem I ran into was that the pumpkin was then WAY too wet. So, my host mom whipped out one of her dupatas and began scooping the pumpkin into it. We then hung it overnight and by the next day it was ready to use!
Hammock - I’ve seen dupata used as a hammock/baby cradle many times. You simply string it up between two trees or poles and rock baby to sleep.
Towel - When I was in Mumb@i last month we spent some time at the beach but didn’t bring any towels with us. So, we used out dupatas to wipe the salt water from our faces.
Shade - When it is hot and there is no shade in site, fear not if you are waring a dupata! Simply hold one side over your head for instant relief from the hot sun!!
Fan - And along those same lines, you can also use your dupata for a makeshift fan. It’s not perfect, but will work in a pinch.
Noose - Now, now. I know what you are thinking, but this one was not thought up by me. I was talking about all the uses for a dupata with my host mom one day and she said this one.
Washcloth - While a dupata can be used as a towel, you can also use it as a washcloth. If you use one end as a wash cloth then you can use the other as a towel.
Makeshift bag - When Suzy and I were living at the hostel our madam was telling us that when they are worshiping they often bring grain in their dupata as an offering.
Hair net - When cooking it can be placed over the head to make sure no hairs get into the food.
Bonnet - While driving with the windows down, or on a bike you can tie your dupata around your head to keep the wind from messing up your hair.
Camouflage - There are lots of monkeys where we live. And while in the States we admire them in the zoo and enjoy watching them on TV, here they are greatly feared. Many times a bag of fruit has been snatched out of someone’s hand while walking down the street by one of these mangey creatures. So to avoid this fate many woman hide their bags under their dupata.
Head covering - When Suzy and I were in D3lhi one time we went to the Toilet Museum. (Yes, you heard me right) It was slightly interesting(the most fun was the rickshaw driver having to ask several people where it was and the look on their faces) and we learned that while going to the bathroom a woman should cover her head with her dupata. Also, when visiting a temple a woman should also cover her head with her dupata.
So, as you can see, the dupata was at first my worst enemy. But over these past few months it has become a constant friend. I hope you enjoyed reading about the uses of a dupata! I had fun putting the list together. :D