The kind of moments that remain etched in your memory like those smarmy comebacks that are just perfect and guaranteed to sting the other into pulverised silence but which come to you around 30 years too late and when you’re in the shower, and Mini, who ticked you off about eating before saying your prayers has probably already been beatified.
The other moment that comes to you too late. The what I should have worn moment, which strikes, years later, when your fashion disaster moment has been captured by professional photographers at family wedding type event and framed up for posterity. I have plenty of those. Ive lived long enough to. And frankly by now, I am beyond caring. If you remember me with the tights that were actually black cut off panty hose pretending to be tights, and the panty line skimming top, remember that was not me. That was my doppelganger. Down to the hair that had just been frizzed with an expedient finger stuck in an electrical socket plug turned to on. So there I am, with the face pancaked to the Bride of Dracula levels in a gold outfit that was supposed to be Shantung oriental but ended up looking like sofa material ripped out and restitched by a cobbler to make a look that was straining at the bustline, and had so many multiple creases under the armpit that I could have just worn an accordion and no one would have been wiser. Of course, except the mother, who would hiss, stand straight, stomach in, shoulders out, to me having visions of me flinging parts of myself around the place while a frazzled photographer picked up the pieces and attempted to stuff them back into shantung golden oriental disaster. And the next time, the mother would hiss, it would be better if you came to the tailor for the measurements.
If you’re as old as I am you probably came to pimply aged adolescence during the eighties when the height of chic was Footloose and ankle warmers and one shoulder off oversize sweaters cinched at the waist with a belt and high top sneakers. Well in India, I did try the look out. The mater threatened to lock me in the loo before she would allow me to step out disguised as a woman of a certain profession (my dubious emergent skills in the make up department and sorry choice of the brightest pigments on offer). And having one shoulder off in an oversized sweater cinched at the waist made me look like something just begging to be kicked to a goal by men in padded shouldered tshirts, and helmets and knee guards and groin guards. And then there was Madonna. So I did the best I could to look as ridiculous as she did, with hair messed up and tied with big lacy bows, lace tops and short skirts that had much of the neighbourhood adolescent and non adolescent males strategise about how to fit mirrors onto their shoes and have a casual conversation with me not suspecting anything. And of course, I didnt suspect anything until recently.
Anyone remember stonewashed. The kind of denim that had very bad bleached effects done by people who had probably drunk half the bleach themselves and had to be carted off to have their stomachs washed out? I had plenty of those jeans. Two to be precise. Each a work of random white patch art. The kind only extreme youth and extreme confidence carried off without looking ridiculous. Cant see myself wearing anything other than deep indigo dyes these days. Of course, the girth of the thighs now demands deep solid colours in order not to have one carted off to an abattoir.
And the wedding of a friend. Where, me in my youthful arrogance, landed up in a jacket and a skirt. Yup yup. They probably thought I wandered in from an interview for the position of personal assistant to very busy and important senior management type. Or an intern from the catering company who had outsourced to them catering colleges. Is that why guests kept handing me their empty glasses?
The most recent blooper? I wore black to a white do. A brunch. Everyone floated in white and lineny and long necklaces and gold gladiator sandals and there was I, black tshirt, deep indigo denims, leopard skin tote and leopard skin sky high wedges. But strangely enough, it didnt feel wierd. Or maybe Ive grown up enough not to care about fitting in. Dont tell that to the other guests though, they had their dose of daily entertainment by moueing around me and sympathising about my faux pas. It made them feel good. It made me feel better. The next brunch I go to, am gonna go with rani pink sequinned salwar kameez. Cant deny them their little joys. Maybe I wont get invited again.