Monday, June 20, 2011
The one Weekend we spent in London was truly fantastic---and extremely interesting!!!There was a Cricket Match on T.V. that Saturday---prompting both the Men to stay at home---leaving both us Women to our own devices.Sayali decided that we'd both spend the entire day in and around Central London and she took me out shopping and treated me to Lunch at this extremely chic place called "The Hush Bar"---somewhere in the narrow by lanes near New Bond Street---just the two of us in a very long time!!Conversation flowed uncensored over an extremely well cooked Lunch and we spoke to each other as Friends---and not Mother and Daughter after a very long time.It was during Lunch when she was halfway through her grilled Sea Bass and I was halfway through my succulent and superbly grilled Veal Chop that she told me I'd let myself go and become a "Frump"!!Where was her stylish and sophisticated mother---she demanded???Suffice to say that I continued chomping away contentedly then but it hit me much later---had I changed that much??
I saw myself in a totally different perspective----seen from my daughter's eyes---and let me tell you it was a with mixed emotions---quite a few observations stung---but rang so true!!I married young and the kind of Society I belonged to and the People I was connected to made me very particular about the way I dressed,looked and behaved for those days we all were still very much in the shadow of the British Raj.The old fashioned Courtesy and Dress Code dictated Formal Wear not just for Weddings and other such Gatherings but even Casual Outings like going for a Drive, the Cinemas or for Plays in the Theatres.Even these meant dressing up to the hilt---full Make-Up,fashionable Saries with matching accessories---of course a lot of Fun while it lasted!!
As Sudhir became busier and busier the Fun activity shifted to the Weekends---he'd leave at 8 a.m. and return by 10 p.m.---besides the School Bus coming at 8 a.m. meant being totally prepared and waiting at the Gate---making late night Drives a rarity.So my routine altered in the evenings after cooking Dinner to just washing my face,combing my hair and a change of Casual clothes---"Home Wear" we called it then---I'd relax with my feet up---reading my favourite Authors and listening to the Radio till it was time to roll out fresh hot Chappaties for Dinner!! There was however in all this a certain feeling of wanting to be presentable then!!Weekends and Vacations would be great Fun times---and of course I'd be dressed up most of the time---as we went to the Movies,Theatres and Lunches and Dinners out---only the early morning and afternoon Tea would be prepared at home!!Childhood memories are the closest to one's heart---and it is this image of me that perhaps both my daughters carry in their mind---I know for sure that Sayali definitely does---she just told me so!!!
As the Girls grew up and formed their own circles the focus shifted a bit for us too.After both of them grew up and moved away after their marriages many things began to change.Our lives became our own again and we paced our routine to suit us.Sudhir and I spent a lot of time together.If he had a late Brief in the afternoon Session we'd meet for Lunch outside mostly at the Taj---we really enjoyed our dates together---particularly in the Monsoons---I'd sit there in the Sea Lounge waiting for him to pick me up after Court work was done most times.Those are perhaps my fondest memories before I fell sick and had to live on a Diet---permanently!!
The Traffic increased and going for a Drive meant getting stuck in various Traffic Jams for a minimum of 15 minutes on an average.Visits to my mother's and Sudhir's sisters homes slowly started dwindling due to Road Repairs and Traffic---and where we'd be regular Visitors at least twice each week we began meeting less often---these days we meet only for Festivals and Birthdays--- contact is mainly reduced to Telephonic conversations-----the pains of negotiating the Roads and the Traffic have put paid to our visitng them!!Our Social life started shrinking and with it the desire to dress up and go about too gradually receded.My heart attack literally put paid to our Lunches and Dinners out----besides most of what we order has to be parcelled and brought home we eat so little of it whenever we do go out!!These days we attend the odd Wedding or a Family Function---dressed far more casually than one would have even dreamt of then!!
All through this I too was growing older and my tastes were changing besides the shadow of The Raj too was receding---and fast!!Instead of the rich,heavy Silks/Chiffons/Chinons/Crepes handwoven Cottons had begun to make their mark---and being colourful,trendy as well as immensely comfortable I was carried away by them!!I love our Traditional Handlooms---I still adore Silks and the rest but these need a lot of Maintenance.On the other hand Cottons are a boon!!They come in such vibrant shades and designs----and the Price Tags can range from the extremely expensive to being absurdly affordable---cut out for one and all!!My gradual shift from dressing up with these heavy Silk Saries with heavy,ornate Jewellery to the equally expensive but more comfortable Cottons and Pearl Jewellery instead of the Gold or Diamond Sets to these Functions has shocked Sayali---she feels I've turned into a "Frump"!!On the other hand I feel I look sophisticated and dignified----and that this suits me and my personality better!!Today I'm always well dressed and presentable in comfortable hand woven,hand embroidered Cottons.Damn it---- I pay bloody 20 pounds for an Apron in Waitrose to wear over my beautiful Cotton Salwar Kurtas----and I still wear expensive Lipstick and Deos and Perfumes which these two gift me----I still accessorize my wardrobe to match---and yet I look like a "Frump"!!I agree that I've started wearing Saries rarely---but this is because since my Chemo and Radiation Therapies I feel more comfortable in Salwar Kurtas---and since I suffer from plenty of Hot Flashes thanks to the Tamoxifen I'm prescribed I stitch these a bit loose---again a throwback to the 3 months during and after completing Radiation when I wore Tent shaped Kurtas!!Well I'm sorry---there's no going back for these days I value being comfortable way too much to be bothered about being a "Sophisticate"----guess she has no choice but to lump it AND like it as it is!!