It all began one afternoon when son came home from college. As we sat to have lunch our conversation drifted from his college rendezvous to everything else. Suddenly he said, ‘You know ma, my friends asked, ‘How old is your mom’ and I said, ‘She is 55’. When I said this, my friends almost chorused… ‘Is she 55? Doesn’t look it man’….and he smiled at me!
‘WHAT? F i f t y f i v e?’ I said aloud, the bitter gourd curry I was chewing suddenly seemed to taste even more bitter. ‘O, come on Ani, am I 55? I’m really shocked that you don’t even know my age!’ ‘Aren’t you 55? Don’t tell me you are not’. He sounded even more shocked! What made him think I am 55, if am 55… what should be your Dad’s age etc… questions popped up in my mind?
‘It’s ok ma, now tell me your exact age’. He asked in a very casual tone. ‘Am 52 Ani’, I said loudly. ‘That’s all. The way you reacted, I thought you were much younger… I have added 3 years extra, that’s all, it doesn’t make much of a difference’, he said. ‘No Ani it does matter’, I said to myself because I didn’t have the courage to say it loudly.
After gulping down cold water, we both didn’t speak for a while and continued to eat.
I wanted to tell him something and I thought that this was the right moment. I said with a glee on my face, ‘Ani, in another two days I have a photo shoot at home from 10AM to 5PM’.
You should have been sitting with me to see what happened next. He burst out laughing so loudly repeating the sentence I had just said and didn’t stop laughing…
I said, ‘Ani, I did not tell you a joke’. ‘Ma, give me a break, photo shoot… you, at this age? What’s happening to you ma, you are so busy in life yet how come such a weird thing came to your mind’… still continuing to laugh… ‘Ok Ani, think we should change the topic’, I said.
It was “me time” for me and he feels its “weird”. To each his/her own, I thought.
Next day, made myself very comfortable in my room, switching on the AC and lights…I opened my wardrobes , shifting through my sarees and started running my fingers like how we do it on a key board ….ting ting ting ting ting…..right to left and left to right and seeing what to wear for the photo session.
I had read somewhere that if you don’t wear a particular attire/saree at least once in 6 months, then donate it…. O God, what about my Kanjeevaram sarees collected over the years… no way. “Whoever said that, let them do it”, I thought. As this thought ran through my mind I picked up a few from the hanger and put it on the bed. Ok, done. I will wear all these, 10 am to 5pm; I can at least change into ten sarees… I gave a smile to myself looking at the mirror.
Son laughed at the thought of my photo shoot? Well… wait until you see what your mom can do at her age. This thought crossed my mind.
I had a date with “myself”. I wanted to have some ‘me time’. At 50, 52 or 55, do what you like unless and until you don’t harm anyone else in the process even if you are a mother, grandmother or whoever. This is my take.
Before I write any further, let me tell you what I’m subjected to on a day to day basis here at home in Bangalore.
Every morning, as soon as I get up, I open the windows and there it is… standing beautifully lifeless and staring at me. I started observing them after a few months of living in our home. It looked different every day. Most of the times beautifully decked up. In the beginning I would never give a second glance but succumbed to it because of the close proximity I live in. By now you might have guessed what I’m talking about.
The mannequins in the saree stores next door!
I call them the lifeless beauties. I go to the terrace in the morning, as I go about doing my daily chores, when I sit on the sofa next to the window to gaze at the traffic , last but not the least, when I go for my walks I see them. Now tell me, how in the world will they not have an effect on me? Thank God, am not attracted to the mannequin that is bang opposite my house, it’s a size zero one and always displaying sportswear!!
So, as I had the daily ‘darshan’ of mannequins, I decided in retrospect, how will it be if I stand like one and click photographs? It would be fantastic! I thought. Called up my sister and she too immensely liked the idea of “me time”… being precious and all. When I told my husband, his reaction was, “Asha come on, grow up and laughed; though not as loud as my son, thank god for small mercies. But, when I told my mother, she remarked, “You are alone here, that’s why you think of doing such things”. Point noted mother.
“Whoever said whatever I am going to do’, I thought.
The day dawned, my fashion photographer friend arrived with her camera and all and my bedroom resembled… no… no… I will just describe and you imagine. The sarees were ironed and kept neatly one next to the other, the jewellery was also displayed and to top it all I danced at the thought of posing from morning till evening.
My friend who has a pleasing personality was as excited as I was and the shooting began. We went to the living room, here, there and everywhere, my friend pulled one sofa, pushed one more, re- arranged the cushions, opened and drew the curtains and I stood and aped the mannequins, lifted my right arm, twirled and turned, sat and stood, stretched and smiled…. I will tell you something… its very hard to smile artificially and stare at the lens without batting your eyelids… and that too for these many hours!!!!
If you have a mind to do then you will do, these minor facial skin stretches albeit too much or too little are bound to happen. Well, all the minor glitches were enjoyable to say the least.
Every time I gave a shot, I thought… ‘Sunny boy, wait until you see these pictures’ …. After every shot I would vanish into my bedroom to change and my friend geared up with the next shots and so this went on till 5PM.
That evening my son would return from college at 5.30 PM and before that I would change into my daily wear and sit as if nothing has happened. This was my plan and I executed it perfectly.
He came home, had his food, and went about doing his things and all the time I would smile at myself at the thought of pulling off such a thing and behaving and looking normal with him. He asked me, “Ma, how come you are wearing make-up at home?”
Busted! GOSH! “He caught me “.
‘Remember son, the photo shoot’, I said. He gave me a Colgate smile and said nothing. Did that smile mean anything? That’s ok with me.
This question keeps popping in my head. Now why do people hesitate to do what they want to do?
If someone wanted to ride a bicycle, do it. If you want to wear a track suit, wear it. If you want to dress up differently do it. Why does everyone relate things to his/her age? Why does my son who belongs to this generation think this way?
Am perplexed by this question every now and then, people are bound by so many things even before they think of venturing out. Life is short and as one crosses fifty, nature takes its own course of dealing with one’s body. So when ones’ body is fit and mind is fine, do it.
In the recent past, I met a very dear friend of mine (who was more than a friend) to iron out our differences and to get back the good times we had had. Sadly, it didn’t work, because the other side of the friendship door was already locked when she said, “Everything is over”. It’s sad. Never mind, I gave it a shot and am at least happy for that but in this process, I lost yet another friend!!
Now, coming back to my “me time” escapade, it was a wonderful day, well spent with a lot of good cheer, yummy food and of course hectic activity of changing into yards and yards of different fabric … SAREE.
Are you curious to know the comments and compliments I got from my family members when they saw my photographs … my next blog post will reveal it all.
Until then, A VERY HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY ! I love you Anirudh.