Sartorial maladies

Let me begin with a confession. I have horrible fashion sense. Now I know many guys out there have this problem, but I’m beyond help. I once wore a red cargo for over a year (not continuously though!) that would put Govinda’s fashion designer to shame. I have always relied on my mother’s & sister’s help (did I say help? I meant total dominion) in this department.

Cut to a scene of me shopping with my aforementioned fashion-nazis. Mom says, “Take these pants and try them out.” I proceed to the trial room like a man about to get the ultimate punishment for a crime he committed.

I hate trying on clothes. I enter that tiny room, which is built to house only those with bodies so perfect that they don’t need to try out anything. As I take my caricatured self into one of these enclosures, I spend most of the time on self-appraisal in the mirror. I check out my teeth, smile, give the evil grin, and frown. Finally I come out with the pants only to see my sister armed with a couple more, giving me a critical look (which suggests unadulterated disapproval) that says, “The only thing worse than those clothes on your body is your body itself!”

Mom beckons, and I obey—she asks me embarrassing questions about the fitting of the pants at various places. I always nod in assent, whether true or false, simply because I’d rather face lifelong discomfort than the ordeal of ramp-walking for my mom and sis.

They argue about the fashionableness of the clothes, sis always suggesting that mom’s taste is too 80’s. This argument ends in one of them admitting that I don’t have what it takes to pull off a crisp look. Salesmen stare.

I get more clothes to try out; some t-shirts this time. Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘How can anybody mess up t-shirt fittings?’ Well, that’s because you don’t have hate-handles.

Meanwhile dad is looking for a parking space on Gokhale road.

The thing about memories is that that the average ones keep flitting on and off, the good ones rarely remain clear except the feeling, and really good ones stay fresh (for easy recall when a train journey is long and there are twenty people sharing standing space on my toes); but the really embarrassing ones stick. My attention to detail is poor, but these examples of sartorial ignominy are etched inside my skull.

Giving in

I opened the door and went in,

With a guilt inexplicable within;

To get something I knew I wanted

By giving in to temptations undaunted.

The old lady saw me and smiled.

She knew I vacillated a while,

Knew how much I resisted coming,

And yet she knew what was forthcoming.

There was a finality in her glance

As if she knew I had no chance

Of limiting myself, of tethering myself,

Or ever winning a debate with myself.

She had an expression of disapproval

As if, since last time, I’d grown a soul

And decided against this path again.

She would oblige me but with disdain.

I told her what I was looking for

She sent me to a corner unseen before

I went obediently and stood aside

To let hedonism and resistance collide

With a clear winner, as always

Favoring satisfaction over malaise

I took what I wanted, the heathen pleasure

I felt satisfaction beyond measure

During my vulgar enjoyment of my fill

(Must every desire we fulfill?)

When I was done I considered me

With utter revulsion and some pity

I had self-control and discipline

But, for this I knew I would give in

I exited the place with irritation

(This was of course an aberration)

I swore in life, I’ll do anything

But I’ll never go again to Burger King