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Breaking stereotypes works best when it is done by those in a position of privilege. Here is a son breaking the stereotypes about how a mother should dress.
This month, we invited you, our readers, to participate in the writing contest sponsored by KAARYAH. You had to write a story either fiction/real, in response to the cue: “Beautiful in every size”.
Here is the second winning entry, by Khyati Bheda Savla. Khyati wins a gift voucher from KAARYAH worth Rs 2500. KAARYAH offers wardrobe solutions for all body types.
“Ufff Ma!! Why did you have to tag me along for this?” complained Parth, lifting the dusty suitcases off the cupboard top and plonking them on the floor.
“Something urgent came up at work for your Dad and Payal’s exams were on, so I brought you instead. In any case, I thought you would love coming here after so long. Remember how you could never wait for summer holidays to begin so that we could go stay at Nanu’s place?” replied Ratna, bringing out the washed curtains for drying in the balcony.
Samir Mama (maternal uncle) was visiting India with his family after 6 years and so here they were in Mumbai, sprucing up Nanu’s home. The house was locked ever since Samir, a fashion photographer, shifted base to London.
“Yes, but that used to be so much fun, not doing chores all day like this! I could have come a week later only with Payal Didi once Mama and everyone were here. You have turned me into a cleaning zombie!”
“I am taking a break now”, declared Parth sprawling on the bed and taking out his smartphone. He plugged in the earphones, put on his playlist and started Snapchatting with his friends back in Indore. The phone battery soon went low, so he turned to the bedside table to plug in the charger. That’s when the blue tin box lying there caught his eye.
He opened it and emptied out the contents on the bed — a handful of curios and trinkets, some rare stamps, old postcards and a bunch of photos.
He looked at the photos and was stunned. “Maaa”, he called out impatiently…”Maaaa!”
Ratna came running into the room asking what happened. Parth held up the photos to her and said “Wow Ma, I can’t believe it’s you! How come we never saw you dressed like this?”
Ratna smiled fondly looking at the box and its contents. She sat down next to Parth and said “We used to call this our Treasure Tin. Samir and I used to safely put away all our special stuff in there.”
She was shuffling through the photos the 3rd time when Parth snatched them from her saying, “Tell na Ma! When did you get these clicked?”
Ratna chuckled and said, “Now you know who Samir Mama’s first model was! I used to love dressing up and he was ever ready to use his camera.”
“So this is how you dressed during your college days?” asked Parth in disbelief. “You look like Parveen Babi and Neetu Singh from the old Hindi movies we used to watch on DD! Then how come we have always seen you in salwar kameez only?!”
“Life changes a lot after marriage beta…in a year’s time I was pregnant with Payal and by the time you were born, I had thyroid too. Can’t you see how different I am in those photos – no sagging arms or love handles!”
“Oh come on Ma! Just because you aren’t slim and in shape as earlier doesn’t mean you won’t look good in western clothes. Have you ever tried at least? I always thought you preferred traditional Indian wear and so shopped only for those! But these pics clearly show you love western outfits and carry them so well.”
Ratna sighed and got up…“Tending to home and family hardly left any time to think about clothing my dear, nighties and salwar kameez became the convenient and default choice!”
Handing him back the photos she said, “Chalo, it’s time for lunch now, I will heat up the food. You freshen up and come to the dining room.”
Parth lingered on the bed looking again and again at his mom’s pics. On hearing her call out his name the second time, he finally put everything back in the Treasure Tin and got up.
Weeks passed and it was soon time for everyone to head back to their homes. Ratna had planned a family get-together the night before Samir and family were to leave for London. All relatives and cousins were invited. Since it was vacation time in May, everyone was going to make it and the entire family was looking forward to the party.
Amidst all the excitement, Parth caught hold of Ratna on the morning of the party saying he wanted to go shopping.
“Take Payal or dad instead, I have so many last-minute arrangements to make!”
But Parth was adamant and so half hour later son and mom were in the clothing section of the nearby mall.
“You aren’t even telling me what is it that you need to buy so urgently?” Ratna sounded vexed.
“Relax Ma!” is all that Parth answered. He took her to the ladies section and asked the saleswoman there to show some western outfits for his mom which she could wear at the party that night. Hearing this, Ratna gave Parth a scandalized look. A tirade of whys and buts ensued and finally Ratna found herself in the changing room with a pair of palazzos and tops.
As she reluctantly started to change, a whirl of thoughts filled her head – “Don’t know what is wrong with Parth, can’t he see how fat I am, western clothes won’t suit me now”; “I think I would have gained a couple more kilos in the recent weeks thanks to the mangoes”; “I will make a fool of myself in front of everyone”; “That Paithani saree is I plan to wear is a better…”
She paused as her eyes glanced up at the mirror. She smiled and couldn’t deny the red tunic paired with beige palazzo pants looked flattering on her.
Both Parth and the saleswoman nodded in appreciation as Ratna stepped out of the trial room. Parth clearly noticed how his mother was beaming.
Everyone at the party complimented Ratna and said it felt as if they were meeting the stylish Ratna from olden days. Samir Mama told Parth, “Looks like I need to do one more photoshoot before I leave for London!”
Parth grinned “Sure Mama! For now, let’s click a selfie, I’ll go get Ma!” Seconds later, he posted the selfie on Snapchat, captioning it #BeautifulInEverySize.
Women’s Web and KAARYAH congratulate Khyati Bheda Savla on her win!
Image source: senior woman with son by Shutterstock.
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