Thursday, February 02, 2006

Nine yards of memories

To me a wardrobe is more than a structure that stores clothes, bags and accessories. I like to think of them as a repository of memories – happy ones, sad ones, funny and bittersweet ones.

Some clothes have such strong associations attached to them that long after they have ceased to fit or be fashionable I’ve still held on to them. They form tenuous if somewhat threadbare links to my past that I’m loathe to sever.

Like the tiny waistcoat I’ve had for a good 20 years now. In a lurid rani pink, it’s embellished with Chinese symbols and lined in white faux fur. Hardly a look for Spring/Summer 2006. But I remember wearing it to a birthday party (of a person who I can no longer remember) when I was five years old. It reminds me of a carefree time in my life when I could eat all the ice cream I wanted and not worry about the consequences. That’s the beauty of clothes - I may forget faces and names but I’ll always remember what I wore.

There’s the white dress my father bought me after a business trip to London. It hangs in my cupboard, the cellophane covering from a dry cleaning 12 years ago untouched. A denim jacket from my terrible tweens covered in lovingly collected buttons and badges that proclaimed I was ‘Single and ready to mingle’ or ‘One atom bomb is all it takes to ruin your day’.

There are the dresses I no longer possess but still remember. Like the beige and cream salwar I wore on my first day of college. And the leather Fab India satchel I had slung over my shoulder. Desi but not dehaat. Or at least I’d hoped so. The sari I wore for my school farewell. 6 metres of maroon organza dress material that were so transparent I still can’t show anyone the pictures.

There are the good, the bad and the ugly. Brand new, hateful hand me downs and delicious booty stolen from my sister’s cupboard. Atrocious denim capris embroidered with letters of the alphabet circa 1987. A black and red bandhini skirt that I wish I still had. The white chikan work dupatta my sister bought me from Lucknow. Too beautiful to actually wear but regularly taken out and caressed.

And then there’s my wedding sari. Nine yards of peacock blue juxtaposed with a startling red and gold border. Awkward and uncomfortable. Hard to sit and walk in and difficult to drape. It hangs in the dark confines of my cupboard now, taken out once year for Varalakshmi Nombu. During this annual airing I like to pretend that the smell that clings to it is actually from the smoke of the agnikundam and not eau d’mothball. That the small dark stain in the corner is one of the many tears I shed that day and not payasam (kheer). And that every crease and fold that stubbornly stays in place represents a memory that can never be ironed out.

26 comments:

Falstaff said...

Wow! That was beautiful.

You've read Sujata Bhatt, right?

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Thank you! OK I hate to say this but I hadn't read (or heard of)Sujata Bhatt till your comment. But I did google her and read a couple of her poems - one about Saraswathi and another about bathtubs. They were lovely and have definitely left me wanting to read more.

alpha said...

that was lovely shufy! I want to recollect all the stuff I wore too.

velvetbabe said...

such writing!

I wish I had been born Indian.

xxoo!

Anonymous said...

OMG that was awesome.

Ash said...

Nice ! You had a blue wedding saree ? Interesting :)

Shruthi said...

Lovely... more so coz I can relate to everything :)

Falstaff said...

Always happy to introduce new poets. The point of the last comment though was the title poem from My Mother's way of wearing a sari - a good book to get your hands on.

WA said...

Beautiful written Shoefie

Jane Sunshine said...

Nice walk down memory lane.

Arun said...

so beautifully written, i read it thrice.

anjali said...

lovely! rani pink...gosh, i had forgotten that colour!

ugly duckling said...

gosh, that was something else. so touching that now i want to write a blog about all the stuff i wore.do u think that wud be plagiarizing??!! :-)(

Anjali said...

Oh this was beautifully written. I can relate to everything - everything. From the rani pink jacket to the wedding sari. I just threw away a skirt I've had for 20 years and haven't worn for 17 - and it still took some determination to part with it. I have a pair of jeans that I've had since college, which I'm delighted to still fit into ... and which I always hope to fit into.
You're right - clothes are symbolic of so much else, aren't they?

shub said...

*hugs*
u know I'm tired of saying lovely, beautiful etc to all ur posts. those are usually my first reactions. this time just felt like giving u a tight hug! and now I do feel like saying lovely post shoofs! :)

Nessa said...

Jeez, I thought I'd left u a comment... Very nice reading :-)

I thought I had mentioned rage against my Mum on doing away with my lovely denim shorts... I was wrong, I see...

Waiting for more :-)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

alpha - saw the pics on ur blog :)

velvetbabe - :D

anon - thanks!

ash - yes i did! I was quite adamant that it be peacock blue as well - though I have no idea why

shruthi - thanks

falstaff - will definitely keep an eye out for the book

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

WA, Jane, Arun - thank you!

Anjali - I love the way we describe colours - Salmon and Guava pink, kili pachai and my favourite - onion pink

ugly duckling - not at all! I look forward to reading ur post now :D


anjali - i know what you mean - I HATE throwing away clothes - even the rattiest of tshirts are held on to :)

shubs - big hug back :D

nessa - yeah there is always hell when mother's chuck out 'that old thing.

1$ Saint said...

super rache...
jus read it..kinda makes me think abt my wardrobe n its memories..
good one...
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... said...

Now that's a good way to get back at me :-) (for my "minimalist" post). Very poignant post...

I too had a blue wedding saree which I have only worn twice in the past six years.

alpha said...

yeah, my recollections couldn't get past the green skirt.

anjali said...

just saw your response..

i also like mango yellow, chutney green, coffee brown, kumkumam colour..:)

beissirissa said...

Interesting blog about poems of passion, keep up the good work poems of passion

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Phentermine said...

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