Noida resident makes wedding wear ‘dream’ come true for the underprivileged
Come wedding season and all the would-be brides and grooms go all out with their near and dear ones to buy that one wedding outfit--shimmering with hues of gold and glittering with artificial stones---- that will make them look like a princess or prince ‘straight out of a fairy tale’ on their special day.
While everyone tries to look like a “dream” on their wedding day, for many under privileged people, it is actually a ‘dream’ to wear such lavish clothes, which are out of their budget.
However, Anoop Khanna, a resident of Noida’s Sector 47, is now making their ‘dream’ come true with his wedding wear bank. Here, residents can donate their wedding dresses, which are then lent to the underprivileged for free for their wedding and are returned to the bank.
With the wedding season underway, a number of men and women are making use of this unique wedding wear bank.
Started in 2017 with one bridal dress, the bank today has 15 bridal lehengas and 20 sherwanis that are lent for free.
Niharika Maheshwari, who earlier stayed in Noida, was the first to donate her bridal lehenga to the bank.
“I did not want my bridal wear to go to waste sitting in my wardrobe. I felt it had become dead to me after my wedding and if it can be used to put life to a poor girl’s wedding, there will be nothing like it,” says Niharika, who has now moved to Delhi. Back then, her lehenga cost her around ₹70,000.
Sector 51 residents Rahul Thakur and his wife also donated their wedding wear two years ago.
“I read about the initiative on social media and decided to donate my wedding suit. My wife also liked the concept and donated her wedding dress. We had invested around ₹1 lakh in both the dresses but it was of no use to us anymore. It feels good to see that in the past two years, our dresses have been used for four weddings,” says Thakur, who works with a private firm.
Khanna started the initiative out of his chemist shop in Ganga Shopping Complex in Sector 29.
“In 2017, Niharika gave me this idea (of a wedding bank) when she donated her wedding dress to me asking me to use it for the wedding of a poor girl. Since then, the dress has been used for the wedding of three girls from nearby slums.It took me sometime to spread word about the initiative and it is only in the past one year that the initiative has become so popular among the people of Noida,” says Khanna.
He says his shop also gives a choice to people to choose from different styles and colours.
“If you decide to give a sari to your sweeper or domestic help, you are not giving them a choice of style, design or colour. They have to accept whatever you give them. However here, people have the option to choose,” says Khanna.
However, there are some rules to borrow from the bank. Anyone who borrows the dresses has to return them back to Khanna after getting it dry-cleaned. But, how does he ensure the dresses loaned for free are not misused?
Khanna says he has some rules in place to check this.“A person who borrows a dress from us cannot loan another one for the next 15 days. We always take a guarantee from the person borrowing the dresses by either taking their Aadhaar or ration card,” said the 60-year-old. However, no misuse has happened since Khanna started the initiative.
After the pandemic, the bank was not much in use in 2020, said Khanna.
“Last year, most people opted for low-key wedding celebrations. Hence, none of the dresses were borrowed. But this year, at least eight of the bridal lehengas have been booked. Most of these bookings are from women who are domestic helps, sanitation workers or small scale grocery vendors in the city” he said.