Friday, March 04, 2016

Some food (and clothes) for thought

I have never been a more curious spectator of the sartorial idiosyncrasies of mommies of a certain demography living in the west, a self-appointed, judgmental vigilante in no way though. Now if you are a mommy whose dressing doesn't stand out when you go to drop your kids to school or the school bus, good for you! Please don't go protesting and shouting, "I don't! I don't! How could you write about me?" here. Really, you are not who I am thinking about. I am merely sharing my observations about mothers of the other kind. 

A month well-spent dropping and picking up the little ones to and from school every day, G's kids actually, and I consistently watched so many come to drop their kids off in their nightclothes. Mostly nightclothes of the desi kind, with a hint of innovation thrown around. Like, a nightie with a dupatta around the neck. Or a pajama I would never wear outside home. As if a dupatta makes the nightie and the pajama more official, almost as if it was never a nightie or a pajama in the first place, but something more formal like a business suit. 

At first, I discarded it as a figment of my imagination. I am sure that the nightie-wearers I see everyday are no lesser mortals; they are entrepreneurs and networkers. They are independent women who drive their Hondas and Toyotas to drop their kids. They might even be frequenting pubs and shaking a leg at night clubs. Yet early in the morning, in the freezing cold, the nightie or the pajama is omnipresent, peeking from the coats and jackets. With the dupatta of course.

Perhaps this is a strange form of liberation for the immigrant woman trying to fit in a western country, or a self-proclaimed liberation from the bondage of being forced to wear something in order to blend in. Perhaps the desire to be the 5% located around the two tails of that "Normal Distribution Curve". Perhaps a sartorial compromise between the past homeland and the current homeland, a thin thread of nostalgia connecting the two. I imagine a dozen floral-printed nighties bought from Calcutta or some place in Chennai (two randomly picked cities) making their way across the Pacific Ocean as a part of a wedding trousseau. As a curious spectator trying to read people's minds, I wonder if it is sheer nostalgia, old habits, laziness, or rebellion to stand out.


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