Friday, June 09, 2006

My fetish for clothes

I have spent 7 important years of my life in an all-girls convent boarding school. Since there were no men to dominate and belittle us, we did as we pleased. I wasn’t expected to dress like a girl or walk like one or talk like one. I did as I pleased (that’s why I am so stubborn and bone-headed). Most of these years were spent in uniforms… we had school uniform, games uniform, walk uniform, office bearer’s uniform. So, I have never dressed like a girl.
When I joined engineering, this is how it went.

Me: hey, nice tee shirt.
Friend: thanks. See that red blotch?
Me: yeah, looks kinda cool. Where did u buy the tee?
Friend: hehehehe. That’s a ketchup stain. Hey, nice jeans.
Me: thanks; I have been living in them for the past week… literally.
Friend (impressed): wow. I love your dressing sense.

This is a typical scene when I went home.

Me: mom, where are my clothes?
Mom: what clothes?
Me: my jeans. The ones I wore yesterday.
Mom: I have thrown them for wash.
Me (horrified): wash? But they are jeans. You’ll spoil them by washing them.
Mom: but they were dirty and they were all sorts of stains on them.
Me (in tears): mom, it took me 6 months to get those stains on them. You have ruined them.

I had a relative visiting me when I was in engg.

Me: hi. Have you seen the stinking pile of clothes I left on the bed? I was hoping to wash them today… I am tired of locking the room to prevent the smell from spreading.
Masi: oh, is that what the smell is? I thought it was a dead lizard.
Me: oh, the dead lizard. I disposed it in the neighbor’s backyard as a revenge for the dirty looks she gives me every time my guy friends visit.
Masi: umm, I thought the clothes needed ironing. So, I ironed them and put them in the cupboard.
Me (hating the nosy and helpful female): umm, well… thanks. But I never iron my clothes, it doesn’t go with the image and there is no point in stacking them in the cupboard… eventually I have to remove them. I might as well leave them outside, it is more convenient.

So, you can imagine my plight when I joined Taj for my summer training. I had to spend a week during October and get an idea about the functioning of the organization. On the very first day, the manager blasted me because I was wearing, in his words, “slacks (my expensive wills lifestyle trousers) and a shirt”. I was expected to dress modestly in a saree. That one week I managed in 2 sarees (I tend to over pack for such contingencies), which were tied, up my friend Dee who turned up early to work to help me with it. I went back to Taj in April loaded with 6 sarees (one for each day).
My conversation with Dee before leaving for Chennai.
Dee: hi. Packed?
Me: yup. You?
Dee: yeah. (Looking straight at me) and the saree?
Me (overconfidently): oh, I’ll manage. How difficult can it be?
Dee (shooting down my confidence): sure.

Everyday I thought I would try tom, but that tomorrow never arrived and finally I was at Chennai without any saree draping skills. The lady at my PG came to my rescue. But one fine day (actually night), we had an argument. The next morning I did not seek her help. “Hum sar kata sakte hai but sar jhuka sakte nahi” (unless absolutely necessary). And guess what… I managed pretty fine.

At present I am almost an expert (being too modest here) at tying a saree… one more feather in my cap.