There are somethings in life you just cant get rid of.
A few years back, as a student I went to a tiny tribal village and spent a week there getting acquainted to rural life. It was one of those compulsory study tours one needed to undertake. Just a day before we were to head back home, we were allowed to wonder around a near by town to buy nick-nacks to take back as souvenirs.The town had one highly recommended smallish, family-run shop that traded in fabric. I don’t know if the shop was highly recommended because it was really that good or because there was no other shop to recommend! Since no one wanted to go back home empty handed and this was the only shop available to us, all 30 of us descended on it. The shop keeper wasn’t used to such crowds and catering to a flock of over-excited twenty-somethings was proving to be too difficult a task for him. He therefore thought it best to give us a free hand and let us explore his shop on our own. And explore we did. People were all over his place- draping fabrics, calling out to friends asking for opinions, rummaging through of multi-coloured piles trying to find the “best” gift to take back home. I was a little lost in the chaos and dint know how to shop in such a lot of noise and confusion, but at the same time,I was hell bent to take back something . So as others were paying their bills and filing out of the shop, I hurriedly picked out a sari and dress materials for my mom and myself. The sari was a nice sea-green cotton one with a floral pattern running along its length. The dress materials were a contrast to the sari- one red and the other magenta. Between mom and me, we’d pick whichever we’d decide who gets which fabric, I thought. There was hardly anything for men there, so my poor dad had to go without any gift.
When I showed my mother what I had bought back, she smiled a gentle smile and said she loved everything. The sari she wore a few times but the dress materials remained neatly folded at the bottom of the cupboard. A few months later they were shifted to the bed box where they kept sundry household items company. They remained there, peacefully, till one day I suddenly remembered those brightly coloured fabrics and enquired about them. Not wanting to hurt my sentiments, I had,after all thought of her in that far-away village and had carted her gift all the way to Mumbai, my mom said ” those red and magenta fabrics are really nice…ummmm… but I’m not too sure I want to wear such bright colours. Why dont you chose the colour you want first and I will take the remaining one. You get it stitched, it will look nice on you.” I pulled out the fabrics from the bed box and to my horror realised just how bright those colours looked. No wonder mom had stashed them away. We mutually decided that whenever some wedding/engagement come up in the family , we will get those beautiful bright clothes stitched till then they will remain safely in the bed box. They were too bright to wear anywhere else. So back they went, nicely folded and encased in a plastic bag (we, like all good Indians believe plastic bags are the answer to all storage issues). For the next 2.75 years nobody in the family got engaged or married. Naturally with passing time, the fabrics that were once at the top of the pile, descended to the bottom of the pile and got thoroughly squashed under the weight of old books, daris, odd piece of never used silverware. They suffocated that way, till about four weeks back. That’s when I realised that I was in desperate need of adding a few more clothes to my rapidly diminishing wardrobe. I thought it made sense to use material already at home instead of stepping out to buy more. So out came the red and magenta fabrics. Mom and I spend an entire weekend trying to figure out a fair way to decide who should get to wear which colour . You see, this wasn’t a situation in which either of us wanted to voluntarily choose one colour over the other. After much thought, I settled for the red. Got it stitched, added a black dupatta to tone down the red, but didn’t gather the guts to wear it too work. I was sure it was too red.
A random conversation with my colleague B brought out the topic of the red dress. She thought I was doing too much “drama” over something trivial. “Wear your red dress tomorrow and if you want I’ll wear one of my red dresses to give you company.Its a new dress and I havent had the chance to wear it . ” she said in the bus yesterday evening. With her encouragement, I gathered the courage to put on the dress in the morning. My eyes popped out when I met B today morning. Looking at her was like looking at a mirror. Save for the pattern on the kurta, our dresses were identical. There was so much similarity in what we were wearing and our accesspories, that you could have taken a check list and ticked off stuff on it- Black chappals- check, red churidar-kurta – check, black dupatta-check, black handbag-check, hair tied in a loose pony tail-check, wrist watch- check, no bangles-check. We looked like twins. May be twins look cute when you dress them up identically as children but in the adult world when you do that, you just end up looking idiotic! We were a source of entertainment for quite a few people at work.Some of those couldn’t hide their surprise- they looked at me, then at her, and then back at me to make very sure they were looking at two different people!
Keep aside the high-drama cause by the identical dresses, most people though the ridiculous red dress looked good on me. I don’t know if they were just being polite. But then why would six different people, want to just be polite? Now when everyone is telling me the dress looks good, I don’t have a good reason to put away a perfectly good, new dress. I would just have to wear it now, wouldn’t I? Red is not my favourite colour and never will be, but like I said, some things you just can’t get rid of.
PS:In my defense I must mention that a- I was in a hurry when I purchased those fabrics. My choise isnt that bad usually. b-at that moment buying contrasting colours did seem like a god idea and c- I was surrounded by friends who were useless at shopping. It wasn’t my fault!! And as a parting shot, let me reiterate- I don’t like red!!
Edited to add: With such a fabulous response to such a pointless post, I just had to publish the pictures. They are taken with a shaky mobile phone camera during the bus ride back home. The setting sun didn’t help the situation either. Therefore the “quality” of the pictures should please be pardoned.The initial plan was to get someone to click our full-length picture in office. But we were getting enough unwanted attention and we basically chickened out.
The kurtas- one with zig zag lines and the other with straight lines and tiny flowers.The latter one’s mine.
The black bags. sadly the matching black chappals couldn’t fit into the frame.