So, I am not a size L. What do you plan to do about it?

And I am a size XL. Which also means that I can never walk into a store and look around imperiously, grab the first thing that hits my eyeballs and walk out without a ‘trial’. You know. I miss those days. When I would ask the shopkeepers in arrogance of slimness. Medium hai na? And they would nod in the affirmative, rendered speechless by my perfect proportions, and not need to even gently hint towards the dratted trial room. Yup. The room named appropriately. Tis a trial to get in there. I got inside one yesterday. Under much duress. Read the salesman almost had to frogmarch me inside one, something he managed to accomplish by surrounding me with other sales staff holding out what they saw me leaning gently towards. So that was how I found myself in a tiny cubicle with a three way mirror and too well lit for comfort. I have many rules for survival in such extreme circumstances. The first is Thou shalt not look at thyself when stripped to essentials pre trial. Of course I broke that rule immediately. Accidentally ofcourse. And then collapsed in sobbing mound of lard on the floor of said trial room in mourning for the complete demise of figure. Alas, my waistline. How I miss you. I will never know the pleasure of wearing a pair of trousers without worrying about rolls hanging over the waistband ever again. And are those my thighs. Or was a chicken defeathered and its skin slapped onto mine.

And then the actual trials. You think the clothes have a hurried whispered conference and decide to do a shrinking act between the time they are on the shelf and the time they get into the trial room, and refuse to go anywhere past your wrists, and allow only half your head to get through the neck. If a top. And even if they consent, through determined wriggling and jumping and huffing and puffing to get up the thighs, if trousers, they suddenly contract on your body like cling film making it impossible to get both sides of the zip parallel enough to close.

I was there in said store yesterday to pick up a top to be worn on a momentous occasion. The fifth birthday of the fruit of the womb. Wherein, being gracious hostess, I would be compelled to outbling every other lady on the premises. Therefore. I was picking up tops with the kind of golden embroidery that in normal circumstances I would bypass without a second glance. And given that they were all in chiffon type materials to be worn with chemise type thingie inside, the concept scared meΒ  Dare I risk be convicted of spreading pink eye disease?

With tremulously swallowing of ego, I handed out the pile loads I had taken in to said sales staff, waiting wringing hands in anticipation outside for spectacle of fat woman emerging in too tight outfit and making complete fool of self. No ho, I am smarter than that. I asked for kaftan type tops. You know. Resort wear. Fringed with some sequins. All concealing. All forgiving. In XL sizes. XL has a certain ring to it that L doesnt . It sounds like the size of a determined woman. Who has ascertained her place in the scheme of the world and is determined to hold on to it, unlike these mediums and Larges who are wishy washy and cant make up their minds whether they need to be gorgons or gnat like.

I finally settled for a brocade patchwork kind of button down the front jacket. Perfect. No bling. No clinging to lumps that once were sharp waist indents. And no need of camisoles to accentuate where the fat has settled in and is throwing house parties. No need to dislocate vertebrae through constant craning of neck to check where the damn thing has ripped as one reached to pull squabbling kids apart. You know.

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About Kiran Manral

Author of The Face At The Window, ( 2016), Karmic Kids, All Aboard (2015) , Once Upon A Crush (2014) and The Reluctant Detective (2011).
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17 Responses to So, I am not a size L. What do you plan to do about it?

  1. No no no its Mumbai sizes…I think there are some mean fashionistas out there who are conspiring to keep some styles for themselves…they just want to punish anyone who is happy with their lives and have love in it or who has had breakfast, hence stitching brocade pillow cases and slapping XL on them. Jealous witches na ho all of them.

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  2. N says:

    I agree with Aneela.. it’s something with the mumbai sizes.. in delhi, I could try on a pair of jeans and like easily (after only 5 jumps) fit into it.. in mumbai i could not. ofcourse, between the delhi and mumbai trials was a huge chocolate cake.. but that part is unimportant.

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  3. Aathira says:

    I have even started to assume that the jeans will surely become more comfortable with time (after wash) hence buying a slightly (read really) tight pair is not that bad.

    This has sometimes worked… and at times it does not! Think its brand dependent!

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  4. RaisingT says:

    ha ha.. I think Delhi sizes are meant to handle XXL pujabi aunties πŸ™‚

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  5. Sure Raising T….point noted…and Mumbai sizes for stick insects who get all their carbs from licking candy wrappers right.
    Now I know what the salon minion in Mumbai meant during a waxing session ‘aap Marathi nahee ho na’ and I was like and why would you say that..and she said something like ‘Aap healthy ho na’, hmmmph…not that Im Punjabi but I feel the pain!!!!

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  6. preetischronicle says:

    Hi Kiran,
    I was just goin through the October 08 issue of Time n Style from Times of India …and …on page 35…Big on Bags…’Kiran Manral delves into the deep recesses of international bag houses to tell us why we can’t do without this chic accessory’
    The moment I saw your name..i jumped and got my laptop here. I am just about to read it now! πŸ™‚
    cheers
    Preeti

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  7. preetischronicle says:

    I just finished reading it! I didn’t know at all about these exquisite one of a kind bags were made!
    You can imagine how much a CA could possibly have any knowledge about fashion..sigh sigh. I am a zero at that.

    Interesting read and fascinating facts!

    Like

  8. chandni says:

    LOL!!! You are too cool a writer!!

    I just convince myself that the brands have go the sizes all wrong πŸ˜‰

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  9. Shilpa says:

    I hear you. Let me tell you, its not you, its the clothes. I have always been a kahti peeti ghar ki looking and wore large sizes. After I came to the US I lost a lot of weight and went home in 2006, a US 4 size. What would you know? I walked into lifestyle and picked up the prettiest and skimpiest S size top and it wouldnt fit beyond my neck! I was mad..mad mad mad mad mad! Turns out, even now, L or XL fits me. ANd these sorry salesmen tell me ‘aapka size nahin hain madam’,,…WTH. I look fit, I am tall, but I have a broad structure, not teensy weensy like the average indian girl so I wont find my size? Fine, I will shop in the US where I am S or sometimes even XS!

    DOnt take these shopping trips to heart. FInd a good tailor and get your clothes stitched!

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  10. blinkandmiss says:

    you for one, couldn’t be wearing XL Kiran! you’re just saying it to make it sound funny, aren’t you? if you’re wearing XL, just what on earth am i wearing? a shaadi ka shamiana?

    i have a very stupid trick that i use often at these stores. i say i want to pickup a gift for someone. coz that way those @#$@#$@#$ saleswomen will at least let me BROWSE through the larges and the XLs peacefully, without giving me that horrible no-way-you’re-going-to-fit-into-that-you-fatso look! one day i took the husband shopping with me. big mistake i know. so i say the usual “i’m looking for a gift” line to the salesperson and hubby says “get something for yourself also na babe” and the @#$%@#$@ salesperson says, sorry sir we dont stock XXLs.

    that @#$@#$@#$ i am telling you. he must be having a very bad case of the hiccups. i “remembered” him so much after that. i have made sure no one i know e ver goes to that shop ever again. but at this rate, i’ll probably end up banning the entire market πŸ™‚

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  11. Devaki says:

    I will second BlinkAndMiss – we have seen your snaps lady! You are no XL or there’s something wrong with the sizes you are trying on. But you sure know how to exaggerate and make all of us smile and laugh and get complacent about our own size!!! πŸ˜‰

    You know, in the US, there is a misses section and a ladies section – I barely manage to fit into the XLs in the first and have to hunt for a XS in the second… you can guess where I end up shopping now! πŸ™‚ But I like the misses styles so much better – sigh!

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  12. preethi says:

    I think here in the US they just reduce sizes so women can feel better about themselves.. if you were a size 8 and fit into a size 6.. no reason to rejoice like I did. the size 6 is bigger than erstwhile size 10!! And I thought next I would be shopping in petites!

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  13. goofy mumma says:

    My God, this felt like I was reading about one of my own horrible experiences at shopping in Bombay stores. Delhi is much better with the sizes I feel. I even get ‘rasta’ stuff to fit me.

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  14. Gigi says:

    I wonder why vanity sizing hasn’t caught on in India πŸ™‚

    Like

  15. sraikh says:

    Ohh Kiran dont go shopping in Bangkok.
    As soon as I walked into shops, “Solli madam no have your XXL size”
    I wanted to slap their smiling faces.

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  16. krishnapriya says:

    Have you ever noticed how most of the lovely designs you saw in S is never available in XL?? How fair is that? I went on a crash diet after my first delivery just to get some decent clothes! And now, after my second, its back to XXL again!!! Loved your post.

    Like

  17. Dipika says:

    haha! The whole trial room description is just so true. I like your writing style!

    Like

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