For the love of red

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.

29 thoughts on “For the love of red

  1. i know!! i even have a pic-terribly taken, but still… had added that to the post but it got deleted by mistake..will go home and add it…
    btw, thanks fr doing that tag 😀

  2. LOL Mandira, that was one funny stuff that happened. I know it gets embarassing at that point of time. just like the times when you dress up a bit more than usual, and start feeling out of the place. But it must’ve been fun, turning all heads towards two reds(that rhymed!)
    Post pics soon, so the we know how much red is too much red! 😉
    BTW I’m also quite apprehensive of wearing red. But I do wear sometimes. They say it indicates that you are being bold. I don’t know!

  3. lively- yup sure was funny..at least for others…red is supposed to be bold..but then who ever said i was bold!!?? it really isnt my colour…

  4. LOL!! I think you just be looking good in Red 😛
    Me too thought that I would look bad in red – but, the Red salwar I had looked great
    So, now I actually like wearing Red – though my husband still hesitates, even though my Wedding Reception Saree which he bought me is Red!!! 🙂

  5. hmmm…may be the colour doesnt look bad on me…
    but pixie, wearing a red salwar is very different from wearing a all-red dress!! im sure if you match up the red salwar with a different coloured kurta, it looks nice…bright but not overly so.. 😀
    may be if i keep wearing this dress i’l start liking it!

  6. Ship it to me lady!!!! :))) I love red!!! absolutely adore red. actually, i love all colors but mustard yuckieheidk1fdufi! yeah u get the point.

    beautifully written. loved reading it. 🙂 did ur mom get one stitched too then?

  7. LOL ! Good one! 😀 the matching-matching stuff was hilarious! And you’re right, it looks good on kids. Definitely not on adults!:D

  8. Wow…matching matching with best friends haan 🙂 Sometime me and my friend used to co-ordinate our colours and wear it to college.It was fun actually. Red isnt my colour too.I dont have a single red in my wardrobe….though I like maroon.Do post a pic….would love to see it.

  9. Hehehe!
    I think it’s rather embarassing to be wearing similar kinda clothes with someone, you’ll look like you’re from the same dance troupe!
    I love red!
    In fact half the furnishings in my room are red!
    You still don’t know what being too “red” is unless you see my room, trust me!

  10. apologies for the delayed response folk!!!

    @roop- interestingly mustard i like!! lets strike a deal- i’ll send you my red dress and u send me whatever mustard clothes u own( if any.. i doubt u own any actually!)
    yup mom did get that magenta thing stitched..she added white to tone it down..its not all that bad, i think.. but then i’m trying to sell my product here!! thank you for appreciating this post.:) when i re-read it, i realised it had quite a few typos,wonder how they went unnoticed earlier!thanks for putting up with them- they are a pain, i know!

    @SnS- 😀 as adults we just look weird when we are colour coordinated!! though this colour coordination has happened a few times in my family members- in an unexpected, unplanned manner, its never been as bad as it was with that red dress!

    @chandu- what can i say? you are a ‘bold’ girl!;) im wondering if i shud ship that dress to you instead of Roop..wat says you?

    @burf- 1- honestly i don’t remember the name!! my short term memory is really short!! it was somewhere in chhattisgarh. do you really want to know the name? i could ask some friends…
    2- have added the pics..go see

    @homecooked-i dint have a single red dress till now either! as a crazy teanager, i have bought clothes identical to my friends once or twice. fortunately i outgrew that strange behavior.

    @nidhi-*hug* u always say nice things to me!! 🙂

    @niveditha-it was really embarrassing.. so roop, chandni and you are a team, eh? the red-lovers!red furnishing , you say? i need to visit that room of your’s…

  11. LOL>……

    U shud have posted ur pic dear…all RED RED gal:-))))

    But u njoyed it na?? althou was a bit embarrsing fr u…but sometimes to pamper urselve… hmmmm….I just love it..:_))

  12. chakoli- basically it was super embarassing.. but may be there was a wee bit of fuin somewhere!
    the pics that hv been put up are the only ones available.

  13. Ohhhh….:-(((
    wish I cud see u in red sarree….I actually love that saree…wore it on my big bs wwedding… and people said that I was looking good;-)))

    u njoyed it na…these things remian in memory frever na…:-)

  14. chakoli- a red sari,eh? on weddings they look fine …but imagine wearing it on a regular day?

    yup…this is one of those memorable days…all in all, it was kinda fun.. 😀

  15. i know!! i know!! i like them tooooo!! and they keep changing every few days..plus they are so much better than my pics! 😛

  16. But what’s wrong with red? I have many red T shirts, a red blazer (my favorite when it was new), one red jacket, many red formal tops (two actually), one red sweat shirt, red saris and dupattas. I even have a pair of dull red trousers. I think red. orange, deep green, navy blue, magenta, carrot red, rust, mustard etc makes Indian skin look nice. Oh but then you are a Taurean bull !

  17. @IH- i have it in my head that red doesnt suit me.. i think it a bold colour n iam not too sure if i can carry it off well.. i hv a few red t-shirt as well.. but an all-over red dress is smthing else!! mustard, orange,deep green and navy blue look good , i agree… red , i have or rather had reservations against!

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