14 deg cel. The sun is shining away, making up for lost time, urging the daffodils to bloom (they've succumbed and how)! I've got ladybugs crawling on all the windows – polka dotted little buggers with orange and red wings. The tree next to my home is still bare, yet all kinds of birds sit and trill as if in anticipation for the spring leaves to show up. It is indeed the kind of day that makes you sing ‘pehla nasha’.
My heart was filled with a heady cheer. So much so, I looked forward to doing the most mind-numbing, boring chore – ‘cleaning up’ the wardrobe. I threw open the wardrobe doors with a song on my lips. To the untrained eye, it looks like a decently organized wardrobe. Ah! But let me tell you the secret. In the darker recesses of the wardrobe, there is the forgotten Pile. These are clothes that don’t fit me anymore. Some of them are brand new. But a size smaller. Instead of returning them, I thought to myself - three months on the treadmill and I can fit into it. Since then, I guess it’s been three centuries; and now, these new clothes are a part of The Pile. And then, there are clothes that have been bought keeping in mind some imaginary occasion. Like a full length maxi so ubiquitous to English fashion. Yeah, I thought I could wear this when I walk on the moors of Pembrokeshire, in anticipation of a Mr.Darcy-type taking a similar nature walk. But today’s sunshine cleared my vision. Walking on the moors require solid boots. Boots and maxi...yew! Criminal fashion faux pas. And apparently the moors have gusty winds. So maxi is out of question – we wouldn’t want Mr. Darcy-type to have a glimpse of the sturdy, tree-trunk legs now do we?
An integral part of The Pile is a million tops – shirts, tees, tunics, kurtis. They’ve been relegated to the recesses for such a long time that I’ve forgotten about them. The forehead wrinkles. Now, what on earth is wrong with this perfectly wonderful, copper sulphate blue top? Ah! Memory rushes in. The sleeves. They are a tad tight. Makes me look like Popeye. What about that wonderful tunic with the red and orange checker pattern? Ah! See that stitched-in belt? Makes me look pregnant. What about that brown tee? It does not go well with my equally brown complexion. What about that ivory top with lace trimmings? Yeah...when I act in a period play, I’ll wear this. What about that green kurti? Too much embroidery. As if I am in a folk-dance group in Rajasthan. Why the fuck did I buy all these? Err...they were on discount sale. Oh. Makes sense.
And then, there is The Pile Of Denim. Jeans of all hues. And I don’t even bother to give them a thought. No amount of flexing of different muscles, no amount of holding the breath will help me pull them on.
Of course, there are all the salwar kameezes. Bought from India for ‘special festive occassions’. I cannot wear them in winter because they are too flimsy against the cold. I can’t wear them in summer because – well, they are all silk, and the static makes me rabid.
No! No! This won’t do. I set the jaw in a determined line and excavate The Pile. The Pile is now segregated and arranged into different bags. There is a recycle bank next door – and the clothes, depending on the condition, will be given to the homeless. I feel good about it.
The wardrobe has been sprayed, sanitized and looks fresh. I am proud of my will power. I have not retained even a single piece of clothing that does not fit me. I was not seduced by the ‘what-if-I-become-thin-in-three-months’ thought. I survey the wardrobe with pride. It is empty, barring two pairs of pyjamas and their tops. One pair has large polka dots of different colours. It reminds me of Gems chocolate buttons, and makes me happy. The other one has little clover leaves all over. It’s cute. This, ladies and gentleman, is my universal truth. From now on, I shall be in clothes that maketh The Body happy, namely, these pyjamas. Therefore the mind can concentrate on other important things, instead of worrying constantly if the butt is looking a tad too large in such-and-such piece of clothing. Yes! Yes! These pyjamas are representative of my liberation! They are a symbol of my independence! Oh Yes! You want me? You want my company? Then accept me, pyjamas and all – even if it is a white dinner jacket party.
The mind feels free, the soul soars. I feel a weight has been lifted off my chest. I have finally accepted the reality – pyjamas are my fashion statement. It represents the true me – comfortable, borderline obese, chilled out, err...perhaps with a dash of sloth.
But then, the Corporate Satan swiftly moved in to seduce me. A catalogue has just landed in the mail box. There is this lady – high cheek bones, emerald-green eyes, copper-blond hair as straight as a metal ruler – she stares at me through the cover. Her cherry red lips are parted slightly. She’s reclining in a coracle, and her hands are dangling carelessly in the water. She’s in a one-piece dress that reaches the knees. The black and burgundy patterns on her dress shimmer in the photoshopped sunlight. The dress sets off the golden tan on her shapely legs. The cut of the dress is exquisite. I bet the fabric is as soft as a feather. I bet it whispers as it falls through the fingers. The price is just £25.99. Hmm. It is March now. If I can jog for the next three months, then I can wear this in time for some summer event that’s bound to come up.
And The Pile Shall Be Born Again. And Again.
© Sumana Khan - 2011