Something inside this head has snapped. And it isn’t a very nice feeling. The world and its inhabitants seem a distant lot. To hell with it.
Liz Hurly’s reportedly carrying 13 outfits for her wedding while Lindsay Lohan changed thrice at a friend’s b’day party. These are celebrities and their tantrums. Then there are dappers like my N, who need to change with the times of the day, especially when on a holiday. You’ll never catch him in the same clothes throughout the day. And, it’s not just for the photos, because he’s rarely in them, preferring to click us. Sample this. If we’re going out for a long weekend, which means max three days, N necessarily carries at least 9 shirts/t-shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, a pair of cargoes and a pair of cool linen chinos. Need I say what size of suitcase I need to carry if it’s for 7-10 days?
These are people suffering from Multiple Outfit Syndrome (MOS). They just can’t be happy with what they wear. The Adman that he is, N’s extremely brand conscious and nitpicks while shopping for his clothes. Oh, and it can’t be just the brand. It has to be the right colour combinations, the cut and the style. And of course, he knows best, the long and the short of them. And funnily enough, the man has a body that fits into a 38, a 40 and a 42 size with equal panache. Ok, I’m talking about the casuals here, the branded formals are almost always 40. But if he falls in love with something that he must own, size doesn’t really matter. He manages to fit in, and the snugger, the better.
The story was quite different a little more than a decade ago. (P sits down with her coffee, to tell a long story. )
When we first started dating, or let’s put it this way, when I left him no option but to date me, when he was this bespectacled JUDEan , the norm was a full-sleeved semi-formal shirt, properly tucked in to a pair of jeans or semi-formal trousers. I’d never, yes, never seen him in a half sleeved shirt, torn jeans or any thing else that could be remotely considered cool and casual. Dressing down for him meant at most, a kurta and jeans!
You know what they say about a man being known by the company he keeps, right? So it was my schemes and his brain. A lethal combo that drove him all the way to MICA and, that my friends, was the turning point of this match. In two years, there emerged an ad rookie. Beau Brummel knew all about brands and their case histories, how to position, manage and market them. I gradually found out, he even wore some brands on his sleeve. The man had fallen prey to his own profession and with age, the sense of dressing has acquired a style and class that is most often envied more than it is admired.
The wardrobe which used to have only whites, off whites, pale and pastel shades, solids and checks, now has almost every hue and shades of them from a dark purple to an ultra marine blue in checks, stripes, geometric patterns, floral prints and other weird and stylish prints. Oh and the sleeves have gotten shorter too.
In trousers and jeans, he’s moved over from the staid pleated to the flat fronts, chinos and the cargoes. I see there are courdroys, frayed, faded but not tattered jeans, cargoes with 6-8 pockets ( haven’t tried figuring out why he needs that many) and white linen trousers, which I firmly believe look more like pyjamas, but am told, it’s the ‘in’ thing. Sigh! In short, he hates admitting it, but considers himself quite a Candy man, and knows more about men’s fashion than even my Dad, now!
Ladies and gentlemen, in the last few years, he’s spent a sizeable fortune on clothes and needless to say that he occupies, 3/4ths of the three wardrobes, with G and I just about managing to wrangle a couple of shelves each.
But recently, the man’s not been fitting into his pants, thanks to a bulging paunch. Considering he’s a teetotaler, don’t ask me where he got that from. Something he’s always hated and the only thing he’s been particular not to acquire all this while. He’s been complaining about it for sometime, but of course the fat annual fees at Talwalkar’s is only accumulating interest for the gym, because Beau Brummel has absolutely no time to indulge in such luxuries, bijee man that he is. For the first time today, I heard him resign to fate, caressing his little potbelly, “I hope this is truly a sign of prosperity.”
I hope so too, Dude.
G wants wings so she can fly. Green wings (Environmentalist, that she already is), to be precise. This emanated from a conversation that went something like this:
“Mumma, see mermaid" (pointing to its picture on her fancy glass).
I smile and give a pseudo-excited look with a ‘Hmm’ while trying to shove a spoonful into her mouth.
“Mermaids fly in the water?” (never imagined, but worth a thought now)
“No, Baby, they swim under water.”
“Then, only birds fly?”
With a ear-to-ear grin, I say “Yeesss”. (Hoping I had sealed the Q&A session and could get on with the never-ending dinner.)
“Why do they fly?” (Oh no!)
“Because they have wings.” Then a quick quiz, “What else can fly? Tell me, tell me.”
“Plane (With a very distinct Duh, Mumma! look). You can also fly, Mumma?”
“No, I don’t have wings.”
“Why don’t you have wings?”
(Err ummm…) "Because God didn’t give me." (Ok, P, gerrout of the Standard mode and get a wee bit more creative now, willya?) I need to be very careful what I tell G, because, the Resident Lawyer decides to catch us off-guard and cross check every once in a while on certain circumstantial arguments provided to her. And the midget has an elephantine memory. So God help you if you retract or tweak your arguments.
G, very authoritatively, “Tell God to give you wings and me also(sic). OK? I want green wings. You get blue and Puppa will take red! OK?" (shaking the index finger at me)
Wings in myriad hues to take us all where we want to go. How I wish, such wishes were granted. Philosophy was never my cuppa, so instead of indulging in it, I’ve been wondering how to grant G her wish, indulgent Mom that I am. The first thought was to call the Fleeting Fairy for a solution. But she has exams and papers to deal with. Then I considered my very own, 911, the Lilting Lark. But she, I thought would be busy making pasta or solving her anagrams. So wracked my utterly non-creative, useless brain for a change. But alas! I don’t have a green dupatta to make-do with. (Digression: In fact, my wardrobe is devoid of green. I hate the colour as much as I hate the smell of a rose.) So for now, I settle on the wings of poesy (the oft-recited nursery rhymes) and take her on flights of fancy either on Alladin’s magic carpet or on the Prince’s pristine white horseback.
Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax are waiting in the wings with the broomsticks.(P.S.: I just realised, our blogs are becoming very incestuous)
The dancing Toots has revived many a fond memory and I am not sure, I like it. I don't like it simply because I miss it. Once upon a time, it was a passion. The term passion, and its adverb passionately, often express a very strong predilection for any pursuit, or object of taste -- a kind of enthusiastic fondness for anything. -- Cogan.
It wasn't just strong, it was almost a compulsion, a very thin line separated the obsession from the passion. I haven't a clue why my insightful (almost psycho, she just knew everything) Ma admitted me to a traditional Bharatnatyam dancing school the same day I started pre-school at two-and-a-half years. But since then, except for a brief break due to a stomach injury, I have trained in Bharatnatyam for 15 long and painful years; every Wednesday, come rain, sunshine, high fever or whathaveyou I'd go on my weekly pilgrimage to Mastermoshai to exercise my skills in Bhava, Rasa, Tala and Natyam - the core that comprise Bharatanatyam.
Mastermoshai wasn't a very hard task master but a sweet old man who knew and recognised talent. Once I’d grown out of the initial infatuation for the jingling sound of the ghungroo, as a toddler, he initiated me into my first mudras and the first steps of Aduvu. From that day onwards, I happened to be his blue-eyed girl. In the early years, it was more the enthusiasm to learn something new, a little about peer pressure and a fancy dream about being a star performer, someday.
I wouldn't just go to class to learn the steps, it was not just about dancing, but observing the others ( the seniors, really) and making mental notes of improvising certain postures, because the mudras and the aduvus were sacrosanct. They were what comprised nritta, that is dance in its purest form. But it was natya (the dramatic art, a language of gestures, poses and mime) and nritya (a combination of nritta and natya) where one had the scope to develop one's skills as a dancer. That's where my greater interests lay.
With each passing year, as I progressed from Alaripu to Jatisvaram (thanks Lali) and mastered more complicated steps of Shabdam, Varnam and Padam it was more about internalizing my ability to express happiness, anger, sorrow, fear and the works. I realized, they all happened rather naturally. I could do the various steps in my head ten times over while Ma was screaming her guts out at me for not living up to some expectation or another. I could break into Jatisvaram when I was depressed and I’d soon feel better.
By the time I had flexed every muscle in my body and used every part of my face to delineate Tillana, dance had become more a way of life, a spiritual expression of corporeal angst.
I've been on stage since the age of 4 or maybe younger, I don't remember, and from the photographs I recall now, I'd always be centrestage, which meant all eyes would naturally be on me and that I guess impelled me to know, to learn and to imbibe every step that much better.
It’s been over 15 years now since I even attempted a mudra or an aduvu. Years ago, back then in the Jurassic age of classical dancing, I was a bit of a puritan (and a snoot), even as a child, since I looked down upon those gyrating movements that were passed off as dance in Bollywood flicks. Over the years, I have grown immune to the Karishma Kapoors, Kimi Katkars and more recently Rakhi Sawants and Isha Koppikars of the world. But, today, I am forced to do the same shakin’ your booties stuff at sundry discotheques or parties as they do. I don’t like disappointing friends. So I stand amidst the crowd and shift in my shoes.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against modern dance, as long as it has tala, laya, that is it’s rhythmic and graceful. But alas, even those basics are often not there. The TV show Nach Baliye is a classic example to the point. There are couples with two left feet, who can’t dance to save their lives and yet, they are there on stage, making royal fools of themselves, shamelessly so. I feel angry when I see such stuff.
Before anger consumes me, I should end this long rant. But, let me tell you, “I could’ve danced all night, and still have asked for more.”