It was a festive evening. About 20 of us were gathered in a friend’s place to welcome the New Year together. As is the norm, we surrounded ourselves with enormous amounts of food and beverages though I am not clear why since everyone but the Sankaran clan ate like a bird. After the customary greeting at the host’s door involving air hugs and Colgate-worthy smiles, we all settled down for an evening of robust conversation. It is an unwritten rule that once we cross the foyer, we go our separate ways – the macho men to the formal living room and the little women to the cozy family room.
There were new saree fashions on display in the room that evening which obviously required prompt admiration and in-depth analysis. Boutique names were exchanged as well as new tailoring techniques in stitching blouses. A few years ago, a ‘window’ in the back of the blouse was all the rage. Bold women wore big, airy, wide-grilled window styles while the modest sported tiny windows at the top. The ones with the tiny windows were never aerated enough but that is the price one pays for modesty, I suppose. This year, it seemed ‘door in the back’ is the style to die for. I am completely in awe of this new style. It’s like magic. In the front, you can see the blouse but go around, it disappears completely. Exquisite fabrics basically held together by a couple of strands loosely tied with beautiful beads at the end. One lusty sigh and it might all unravel like a badly kept secret.
My experiences with tailors in India have not been good so far. Every time I go on vacation, they seem to want more cloth than before and then give me a small handkerchief-like blouse in return. It is like we speak in different languages. Last visit, I stood before my new tailor and used my skill in playing charades to sign to her that I wanted a blouse that would cover all the front and at least some of the back and the sides. It was non-negotiable. I put my foot down firmly and told her that I was NOT interested in doing any glamour scenes on the big screen and insisted that she used all the cloth that I bought. From the look of the blouses she delivered, it seems my charades skill could use some work.
As the evening stretched on, we realized that many of us were dog owners. Nothing brings people close together than babies or dogs. As most of us were out of the baby circuit, we bonded big time over our four-legged babies that night. We went around the room and listened to each ‘mom’ proudly talk about her dog’s smart adventures. Cute furry pictures were exchanged, tales of housetraining successes were shouted out. We awwwed and ooohhhhed over each tale making every mom brim with pride.
Alas, in all this drama, we neglected to notice one woman in the room feeling lost. ‘I have a fish’ she blurted out suddenly. Conversation stopped for a minute as all confused eyes turned to her. She cleared her voice and said it again - ‘I have a fish’. It took a minute for us to see that we were excluding her in the conversation and being the only woman there who owned a couple of dogs and a fish, I jumped in to set the score right. She and her fish had the floor the next few minutes. With slacked jaws, we listened to her concern that her fish might be constipated. We tsk, tsked and offered to google for some solutions to her fish’s problem. She basked in the attention and apologized for not having a picture of her fish to show us. We wrapped up the ‘show and tell’ part of the evening with her promise that she will whatsapp the picture to us the very next day.