It was September the last year. The lazy month when we start forgetting the onslaught of heat & start making plans for the Delhi winter – of all the heritage walks we will complete, all the parties we will host, the delicious food we will eat etc.
It was the festival of Teej, not the Delhi one, but the Bihari one. Oh yes, there exists a difference, but that is an altogether different post, isn’t it? I chuckled – a ‘feminist’ like me observing Teej! But I’d my reasons – being a feminist did not make me love my husband any less. If by giving up food for a day, I could add a year or two to his life, why not? Also, such opportunities to deck up came rarely for me – so why not make the most of it? And lastly, I would not miss an opportunity to detox, eating only fruits through the day.
So, here I was, ready in a pretty green cotton sari, brought by the husband from Bangladesh. I looked fresh as dew & lovely as a doe. (Hey! I do think well of myself!) It was a working day but I did not mind that a bit – office meant compliments. The only thought nagging my mind was the ill-fitting blouse. It went beautifully with the sari, but it was a little tight, and, in any case, the cup-blouses made me squeamish. The zip on the side was oh-so-difficult to manage. However, style demanded I throw all caution to the wind. Ah, we women!
So, off I was to my workplace, gathering admiring glances and words of praise from colleagues. No matter how self-assured we are, a little external praise always boosts our morale. I got through half the day, almost floating on clouds. I imagined myself as Sushmita Sen from Main Hun Na. Vanity makes you do strange things, doesn’t it?
In the second half, I rose from my chair to walk up to a colleague and just then, heard a rip. I froze. I quickly took the sari ‘aanchal’ and wrapped it across my shoulder. My ill-fitting and ill-fated blouse had ripped along its zipper. My left flank was exposed but thanks to God Almighty for the sari ‘aanchal’. No force on Earth could make me leave my seat now. No supernatural force could make me raise my left arm. My head, which had blown up like a balloon, made a deflating sound. The last time I was this conscious was perhaps on my wedding day, when I had realised that 300 pairs of eyes were solely on me.
With my vanity out of the window, I cowered on my seat and finished off my day’s work quickly. Intermittently, I chided myself – ‘It is just a small gap and you have covered it well. Stop fretting.’ The next second, my face would become red with embarrassment. I felt like the model that has a wardrobe malfunction on the ramp. I made a mental note to never ever ridicule celebrities when they have a bad dress day.
Minutes ticked slowly (or does it just seem that time moves slowly when you want it to pass quickly?). An hour before the official closing time, I decided I had had it. I mumbled some excuse to my boss and left. Walking up the stairs with three bags and then walking on the road till my car was another nightmare. I thought everyone was staring at me. Well, everyone was staring at me but it was due to the sari (which people rarely see me in).
I heaved a sigh of relief only once I entered my house. Off you go, ridiculous blouse! This was the day I vouched to not wear anything ill-fitting. All those clothes which I was struggling to fit into headed to my tailor for alteration. What also got altered was my attitude – Comfort & Style have to go together. If one comes at the expense of the other, it spells disaster. The blouse may not have fit right but it certainly set my brain right!
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Featured image courtesy wittywomanwriting.com.