Dressed Like a Mom or a Hippie?

“I am not a typical teenager, okay? Everyone always stereotypes teenagers, and we are not like that!”

I nodded (sagely, if I might add.)

“And I am not a drama queen! “, said the teenaged daughter stamping her foot dramatically, though I could already begin to see glimpses of her impish smile twitching there on the corner of her lips. 

“Of course you are not!” I said rolling my eyes, which she promptly caught. “So, when you remember what you are upset about, will you tell me?” I asked her.

Cheeky as she is, she had the good cheer to see the position, and she chuckled. 

“I don’t suppose it is fair for teenagers to be judged this way, especially when they do nothing stereotypical like buying MOM jeans!” I said pushing relentlessly to clinch the deal. 

The chuckle changed to full blown guffaws at this, and she rolled on the bed laughing.

“Appalling those jeans are! I never wear anything like that, and yet you had the cheek to go and pay more for them, and they are called MOM jeans for God’s sake. Not stereotypical at all, my dear!”

Timbered richly with the sound of her laughter, she agreed. “The jeans are pretty terrible! But I took a poll on Insta, and everyone agrees that it is a very good idea. Hippies do dress like that. With a tie-dye t-shirt and a flower headband, it’ll be lit!“

Lit, I am amused to hear, does not mean that she will be lit up in those little fairy lights. In today’s lingo, “Lit means like Awesome, you know Lit?”

“So, Lit is good?”

“Yes! Sheesh!”

We were discussing her proposed ensemble for Halloween. She wants to dress up as a hippie, and went out with her father and bought MOM jeans. In all fairness, she asked me for them, and I said, “MOM jeans?! Why not just wear my jeans with a belt?”

Ever the voice of reason, that’s me.

She rolled her eyes  (not in typical teenage fashion, since we are on the point of not stereotyping these saintly marvelous children)


Her creative side was in full blast. All she had read in her Greek myths, watched in her television shows: shows with raucous characters & sketchy parenting; combined to give her the idea for her Halloween costume. The idea was soundly seconded by her little Gryffindor brother, and her could-have-been-Gryffindor (if only he resisted the idea) father.

What blows my mind is how Marketing departments function. They took a bunch of overstocked baggy jeans that were languishing in the lots ever since the skinny jeans came into fashion, and gave it a name called MOM jeans and these children are willingly wearing them. I must learn some of that for my own sake. I have some long skirts that apparently are “Not Lit!”, that just may be made “Lit” again. Let’s see.

Should I dress as a teenager? Accessorize with sass, punch with pizzazz and cut being droll like a troll? That’ll be like totally lit!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Distressed (in) Jeans

Regular readers know I take a commuter train into work. Folks have asked me to describe it and I often feel like a tree being asked to talk about the weather. I mean, no day is like any other. There are changes to atmospheric conditions, air quality, moisture, noise levels, pollution and climatic conditions.

Ever since smartphones arrived, most folk surrender to the phones and I am left looking to find a few folks like me who read a book in the old fashioned manner. The trains have been getting more and more crowded too, and to see folks standing from the first station is not uncommon.

So, obviously, one day when I walked into the train, and not only found a place to sit, but also a thick-ish Vogue magazine lying on the seat, I was happy. It seemed like an empty day to commute into the city, and I called my brother. I try to avoid making phone calls on the train (There is an interesting blog absolutely rattling in my head about phone calls, and one day I shall have to simply shake myself like a dog stepping out of a swimming pool after being flung in, and let the contents spill out, but till then read about the Hippoceres Effect).

I must confess that Fashion is not my area of interest. I have been known to wear clothes stitched from curtain cloth and fit like pillow cases. So, I was obviously intrigued to see what appears in the Vogue. Vogue, I hear, is like the Taj Mahal of fashion magazines and so on.

As I was idly swapping stories with the brother while thumbing through Vogue, I noticed that Fashion must be a terribly sad and serious business. One did not have to be perspicacious to notice that. It is no surprise that folks like me don’t set store by it. All the women models looked they had been through the most trying times in their lives. They looked abused, beaten, sad, morose or downright pugnacious. The men looked unshaven, querulous, cunning or sulky. Some of them wore torn jeans (I have been told that these are called Distressed Jeans – it certainly distressed me.)

And the poor things all looked like they could use a good meal. I am glad to see I am not the only one who thinks this way.

The book had about 400 pages and there were no smiles there. Talk about sombre reading. If it were not for the fact that I was chatting merrily with the brother, I should have sobbed. The torn clothes, the misery in their eyes, the tortuous moments captured on film. Heart-rending I tell you.

You know, how you smile when people point a camera at you? In fact, I smile when I am taking a picture of somebody. None of that. There were even shots of a wedding where the bride looked she was going to be pelted with stones in one direction, and chased by a pack of wild wolves in the other. Not the radiant happiness one likes to see in brides in other words.

I pointed it out to the brother that none of these models looked happy and he wisely said, “Well, I don’t think they are supposed to be happy – they are going for the Sultry look.”

Maybe one day in the far future when people can split their time amongst different careers, modeling days could be the days one feels like a distressed jean trying to clothe a hippo’s legs.


The Affectionate Amby

I suppose this always happens in the world of fashion. You look at skinny models in high heels tottering with the confidence of a skyscraper on skates, and you see the perfect lines, and flatbeds where ordinary people settle for curves.  Then you stop to wonder what the competition is about. Sometimes, you pause enough to look down at your own feet and the sensible footwear below the matter-of-fact trousers with extra pockets for carrying the cellphone. Then you think, why isn’t there glamour in practicality?

Why aren’t the world’s most stunning personalities cased in things that the everyday man and woman wear while they go about their lives?

I often think that way in the world of cars too. I remember the first time I showed my mother a Ferrari on the streets of USA. “Where else in the World, other than California, would you find a Ferrari parked on the street between a BMW and a Mercedes Benz?” I asked her, clearly excited to be showing her the sights.

In her typical fashion, she looked critically at the car, and said, “Looks like an expensive car.”

“Of course ma! Do you know how much it costs?”

“Doesn’t matter what it costs! It looks like we can’t fit our groceries in the trunk. So, what is the point?”

Sigh: There is a reason, I find glamour in practicality. It is called ‘instilled values’ folks.

Anyway, applying practicality to cars, it looks like the show Top Gear finally sees sense in my argument. Those who have traveled in an ambassador car in India would be thrilled to note the humble car mentioned. For what else is a car by looks, a horse by power, a bus by capacity, an optimist in attitude and a dog in loyalty?


The Amby
Ambassador alias Amby

The Hindustan Ambassador is the King among Taxis. The only car where restaurant signs can be reused in a car: Seating Capacity: 30

The Car, that in most families, is known affectionately as the ‘Amby’.

I have a story about the time my grandmother came to my sister’s wedding in an ambassador car, but I will save it for another day. That is an entertaining read for sure.

P.S: I have since seen the video clip of the Amby winning that race and it seems to be because all the others crashed into something or into one another. Nevertheless, the Amby it is.


Black Duppatta becomes Red Hot Fashion Icon

With all the festive spirit, I walk around like a Christmas Tree. I don’t have the frightful blinking lights on me, but only just. I have equipped myself with a bright red coat – a beastly red, and a slightly long one at that, just in case people don’t notice. Yesterday, I stopped a trucker in his tracks – silly goose was trying to drive at an even pace in the city. I stared at him with piercing eyes, and after the effect of the coat had worn off, he noticed the wrath in the inner eye and skimpered down. I saw him sink an inch into his seat.

I shook my head stoically, and gave the fellow a warning look. Don’t let me catch you speeding again, was the general gist. Next time, he steps on the accelerator, he shall remember. That was the look. I saw a policeman look on most approvingly at the color choice.

IT frightens me to know that I have since become somewhat of a fashion icon in my circle of influence. I can right-away imagine a couple of damsels giggling hard thinking of me as the fashion icon. I admit to being guilty of passing pillow cases off as dresses and using large sheets (Queen size) as dupattas. But those days have passed. Couple of folks came and told me that I am a trendsetter!

I now freely pass on fashion tips to folks on platforms.  The other day, I decided to give the red show stopper a break and cloaked thyself in a dull grey. A  girl on the train asked me if I was the red coat lady, and what happened to my coat. Flattering, I tell you, flattering.

I might start a  fashion blog if this trend holds out. I am also freely giving advice on the choice of scarves and shawls to fellow sufferers. You see, I like wearing scarves over plain clothes, and now a fair few have shown interest in that direction as well.

All very complimentary of course. As girls, the sister and I were lovingly nick-named by the scoundrels on the wayside as “Black dupatta”, since we had 2 sinister dupattas – one black and one white to go with any dress – cream/pink/mauve/beige/crimson/teal. I found black went with more clothes and also required less washing, hence “Black Dupatta”.

Who would have thought “Black dupatta” would wear a bold red coat and stride forth with the head held high? Yet, here I am.

Merry Christmas – HO HO HO!