Sri Lankan belle of the ball|
Posted On » July 11 - 17, 2012 (Volume:10 / Issue 80)
In Bollywood, draping yourself with a sari may be the finest way of introducing an exceptional piece of clothing, but for 18-year-old Afra Cader, wearing the six yards of pure elegance was a way of finally saying goodbye and leaving her school years behind, writes May Al Mousawi.
The British School of Bahrain (BSB) held its Masquerade-themed Leavers Ball at the Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain where the Sri Lankan former head girl stepped out in traditional attire and walked down the red carpet into the Al Murjan Ballroom.
For teenagers, the final school ball is a rite of passage, a time to break out their most stylish get ups and empty their parents’ wallets, as well as saying a final farewell to friends and teachers.
And for Afra it was no different, sending her mother on a six-hour shopping spree in Sri Lanka to find her the perfect sari to ensure she made an unforgettable last appearance.
Afra, from Barbar, said: “My mum ‘video called’ to show me the saris she had picked out, but in the end my auntie found the perfect one for me. All I needed to do was go to the tailor and make a lining.
“The sari and the tailoring cost me just BD90. I wanted to be different and stand out. Many at the ball wore the same kind of thing; I brought my culture into it. I wanted to wear a sari at last year’s party but decided to save it for the final ball and leave with a bang! I ended up going for the ‘Bollywood theme’.”
Afra made her way to Reflections Hair & Beauty Salon in Saar, where many of the stylists are also Sri Lankan, to start her three-and-a-half-hour preparation for the big night and GulfWeekly tagged along.
The beauty experts helped her to get dressed and look traditionally stylish. Afra received a French manicure for BD3, her hair styled for BD10 and finally, her sari draped for BD5. Make-up wasn’t an issue because Afra applied it herself, reinforcing her ‘simple’ look.
“I picked an easy hairstyle because I wanted something simple, like Bollywood actors’ hair,” she explained.
“My mum found out that some of the staff at the salon were from Sri Lanka and that’s why I decided to go there, they really helped me create my entire look.”
Afra’s outfit included her own accessories alongside her mother’s silver bracelet, which she explained was a way of having her mother with her while she was at the ball. The only thing she had to purchase to compliment her sari was a headpiece, which was a snip at BD3.
Afra attended the annual ball for a third year running. She was on the organising committee last year but this time she was much more relaxed and able to enjoy the occasion without any added pressure.
She gave up her role as head girl in April after a year-long reign and said: “It was very upsetting leaving the post because I thrived on being productive and I worked better when I had a lot to do.
“The head boy, the deputies and I worked very well together and we were well coordinated, so it was really sad to leave them all behind.
“I’ve been at BSB since Kindergarten. I’m saying goodbye to the only life I’ve known so far.”
Afra seemed particularly calm for someone who was going to be giving a speech to groups of Year 11, 12 and 13 pupils and her teachers, as part of a traditional duty performed by former head girls.
Her mother, Shireen Cader, an invigilator at RCSI Bahrain, explained how Afra had always shown remarkable composure and confidence gained through her love of drama and sport.
Both she and her husband, Hilmy Cader, CEO of MTI consulting, are proud of their daughter’s achievements. “I’ve always encouraged Afra to take part in subjects that build her character. She was on the Bahrain national team for netball in 2010 and received the best basketball player award in school. The group sports and her drama skills have proved useful,” said Mrs Cader. “Afra is a very smart student. She will be following in the footsteps of her father and will study something business related in the future.”
Afra aims to attend the Australian National University where she will either go on to study Business Management or Environmental Management.
She hopes to one day make the world a ‘greener place’.
All dressed and sparkling in her stunning piece of fabric, Afra was taken directly from the salon straight to the ball.
However, the time she took getting ready for the occasion meant she didn’t get to go to the venue in a luxury limo as planned. Instead she had to be dropped off at the hotel in her mother’s Mercedes.
Luckily, she later managed to travel with her friends in Bollywood opening night-style to an ‘after ball party’ at BedRock Discotheque.
Her final ball outlay came to a conservative BD111 and mum and dad can now start saving for that university graduation ball in a few years’ time.