Monthly Archives: April 2017

Worn Out Clothes

At one point, okay well not one point, at many points in my life, I’ve thought my mom (Amma) must have OCD. Turns out she just has attachment issues. When my mother receives a new garment( she almost never buys for herself, somehow her parents and siblings still spoil her silly ) ….. . Well in short that garment is doomed for life.

And here I begin, the life-cycle of my mom’s clothing.

First the garment is put away for a special occasion. This event may occur in the first three years of the garments life. Do understand, in rare cases where the garment( henceforth referred to as “G”) is purchased by my mother herself, it may escape her clutches when a more worthy ‘someone’ visits our house, and Amma scrambles to find them a gift.  I swear to God, if you listen very carefully, you can hear G showering praises to the lord, and profusely thanking the new owner.

Other unfortunate G’s gifted by near and dear ones, that hold particular sentimental value, unfortunately have to serve their sentence along with the fellow moaning Gs, yearning and discussing their fortune..”Who is next to the island” ( What up ISLAND reference ? and #superwoman #lilysingh ) . I reckon these Gs would have been happier on clothing store shelves, enjoying the view .

In that tiny Godrej Almirah, the Gs would probably discuss salvation as the arrival of Ms.S – the SISTER. Some Gs in the almirah were actually her hand me downs, they would narrate stories of colorful outings, coordinated jewelry, starch stories, and special ‘dry cleaning’ visits . My mom’s sister you must understand is a fashionista in her own right. She spends time to shop, usually releases her purchases within a month, and takes great care to maintain them. This is in sharp contrast with Amma, except for the maintenance part . Well you have got to wear them to wear them out right 🙂 .

So the arrival of the sister is like Diwali . A screaming match would follow soon, the door to the almirah opened. Sighing Ms. S would pull out the new Gs, and beg… more like threaten to see them worn . There would also be a tug of war between Amma and Ms.S , for throwing out the old clothes. The lucky ones would reach the gates of heaven, but the others would be sent to the CUPBOARD .

The almirah, well the almirah housed the special Gs, the Pattu Gs, the expensive Gs. One could equate them to princess Jasmine from Aladdin. Privileged surrounded by riches, and mostly the best treatment, but never let out to the real world.

But the CUPBOARD , what can I say?  ‘thrown in the garbage’ is a much better option than the clutches of the cupboard. You see the cupboard was like the plantation, and its occupants the slave workers. Underpaid, abused and torn . There is not one family member, who has not not mentioned, directly or in passing, that Amma was wearing something torn . For all I know, our housekeepers dress better than her.

These cupboard G’s served as her daily wear, they  would encounter kitchen gunk, that seeped through her apron . (Oh ! the blessed Apron, it deserves a separate life story – but that’s for another day.) , the bathroom trails, the sweaty yoga and well-  life pretty much . If the dhupatta met its kurti pair, it would be like the reunion of Tom Hanks and Kelly Hunt in CASATAWAY. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie picture Maryan – Dhanush and Parvathy Menon reuniting.

I tell you this because the dainty dhupatta would hardly recognize the starved, beaten down, tanned ( well in the case – ripped of color) , gnarly counterpart . These kurtis now incapable of joining their partner, would be sadly seperated, and the kurtis would move on the harder life .. the life of a rag . Every kurti of the CUPBOARD silently prays for a 10 inch gnash, for anything lesser than that would be considered usable by Amma.

Only later, does the now, sliced up kurti realize that life before the ISLAND ( rag) , was far better. Some rags were lucky , if other members of the house picked them up for rubbing of grease and oil, they would be binned immediately.Others of synthetic lineage had better fate, yes the quota systems rocks everyone’s life.

Others went through the horrible cycle of wash, scrub, reuse , and wash again till nothing remained but shreds, and even bacteria would refuse to inhabitant.

The good thing, here in Singapore, the Gs don’t have to go through such a painful life . The main reason why my mother has “attachment issues” , is because she cannot bear to waste anything. She has to extract, everything it has to offer . Thank God to H&M, here at Singapore . All of Singapore’s outlets accept clothes, and they recycle them .

H&M claims that almost 95% of garments that lie in landfills all over the world have the potential to be recycled. This means that, for clothes you cannot donate, – you know those faded worn out ones that fit, you love, but simply cannot wear- well now you can rest them in peace . And what is better is H&M provides you a  15% off discount voucher to buy anything from their store . You recycle, and you even get an incentive.

Don’t be my mom. Recycle !




The Beginning

I remember the nervousness, It had been only 20 days since my wedding, I was late by 8 days. In the pit of my stomach, I dreaded the worst ..

My husband had left me with my inlaws almost immediately after the honeymoon. It was new, unfamiliar terrain, and I felt so sure . I called and texted my husband a few times to speak of my fears . He brushed it aside, he said it was too soon, and I was being too anxious . Truth be told, he was the kind of guy, who didn’t even know that home pregnancy kits existed .

I called my best friend, he was a doctor, tears rolled down as I explained, he found the whole situation amusing . I still can here his casual statement, ‘Go buy a pregnancy test’ . I was furious, this was not what I had signed up for . Marriage was supposed to be, oodles of cuddling, romantic selfies, walking hand in hand , not rubbing my tummy and checking my weight .

It was three days since I suspected, and I couldn’t bring myself to go to a pharmacy . How could I go, how could I ask, and to top it all, I was stuck in this new house. That day after lunch, I burst into tears, my mother in law commented, ‘Oh she must be homesick’. It was far from homesick, I had lost my appetite, my husband thought I was joking, my friend offered to get me a test- how embarrassing, and I couldn’t find an excuse to leave the house . I mean what would I tell them ?

Day 4 dawned, I had given up on my husband, though he promised he would take the flight to Chennai that weekend, I wanted to get it out of my head. I faked a headache and mustered the courage to go to the pharmacy. It was a nightmare .

My fresh yellow mangalsutra shined bright, I felt every eye in the pharmacy was on me. My face was red and hot with embarrassment, and I remember running out the store. The actual test was even more humiliating . Did the instructions really say, I had had to add pee on the stick. ‘Ughh disgusting. That is so yuck’ – that is all that played in my head. Besides how was I supposed to do that ?

A few minutes later I remember being completely blank, staring at 2 lines. Absolutely blank, Oh and then the tears came…