My office is a fairly laid-back place, sartorially, while being a frenetically busy one work-wise. So, while I started my job two years ago (almost to the day!) wearing formal clothes and make-up, and ensuring my hair wasn’t mimicking a bramble – that state of affairs didn’t last.
First, I stop straightening my hair. It took too much time; Mumbai is too hot for open hair; it is bad for my hair; blah blah. Next, the make-up went, much for the same reasons. Finally, I stopped bothering with accessories. My transformation was complete – I became a tech (WRITER!) bum.
My clothes had become a de facto standard: I wore those floaty, floral, printed patialas from Fab India—I LOVE those—and t-shirts. And then I bought jeans which caused a mini fuss, nothing too dramatic. It was a change, and it took a few comments for it to die down. But, again, not too dramatic.
The next change was when my mom brought me back anarkali outfits from Jaipur. They were colourful, twirly, and as unlike jeans as imaginable. That caused a HUGE fuss. Some of the responses:
“You look like an India TV reporter.” *pauses* “That’s not a compliment.”
“Is it your birthday?”
“Are you going on a date?”
“Are you going to meet a suitor?”
But today takes the cake. I had a morning meeting with my lawyer, and I took the trouble of getting cleaned up a little. A little lipstick, eyeliner, and straight hair. Only thing is, I usually wear lip gloss, but I’d recently handed those tubes over to my aunt, and my make-up kit only had lipsticks. So I had picked up (what I thought was) a neutral shade of brown. No. It was a milk chocolate colour, and stood out immensely.
I walk into work, oblivious to this, and my boss asks:
Him: “Did you have a morning date?”
Me: “Um, no. Why?”
Him: “You look different!” (Please note: not ‘nice’ but ‘different’)
Me: “I had a meeting with my lawyer.”
Him: “Is he a bachelor?”
I barely recover from this salvo, and another colleague says:
“Why do you look weird today?”
Kill me now.