When I was first married my mother-in-law sent a few salwar kameezs. She sent some causal wear around the house ones and then she sent two formal wear. With all my husband’s friends we were invited out many times by his Indian friends. Lots and lots of Tandoori chicken. I got into the habit of wearing the salwar kameez and stuffing the dupatta into my purse for the course of the party. The dupatta gets in the way, I thought, why wear it?
One day one of his friends wives who was fast becoming my friend as well asked me where my dupatta was? When I told her it was in my purse she told me firmly to get it out of my purse and wear it. You need to cover your chest she said.
So I did. And it was like a light-bulb appeared over my head. When I am walking around the house what better to dry my hands with then a causal and just made for stains dupatta? What a nice way to hide my hands when I am unsure what to do with them then behind my dupatta?
I also learned that modesty is a big deal in India culture. Wearing your dupatta so it covers your chest is a big deal in India and expected even more so around Muslim women.