Found this pink dress of mine in my mother’s closet. She kept it for 28 years. I don’t have an archive of my photographs through the years. Hopefully words will suffice. Don’t know if this sort of thing is interesting to read but I wanted to pen it down for myself. Chronicle my life so far through clothes.
School uniform of pale blue shirt and navy blue skirt of a certain specifications. Hair braids were compulsory. When not at school, it’s a mix of hand me downs from my older cousin and presents from my aunts who would live in America. My parents lived on a very tight budget and I don’t remember ever going shopping unless it was for a very special occasion – a wedding or a birthday. Also, it was a very confusing time style wise. I lived in a small town where people dressed conservatively and anything ‘western’ was deemed evil. I was once asked to to change out of a dress I was wearing or wear a burka on top, by an uncle. The dress was knee length and he said it looked vulgar. There were strong feminine/masculine associations for garments in my society with no scope for cross over ( at that time ). My cousin lived in the city and her hand me downs were dresses, jeans, t-shirts, etc. I was not comfortable in her clothes but never complained. I spent my time reading and outdoors. A book called ‘History of medicine’ from my fathers library made the biggest impact. I wanted to become a scientist. When I told my dad about it, he bought me biographies of a well know scientists. And would make me read one per month #bestDad. India launched its first PSLV into space and it was an exciting time to dream big.
No more uniform for school meant that I had to choose for myself. My father gave me a yearly clothing allowance. My mother and I, would go to a fabric village to pick out plain cloth by the yard, get some embroidery done and my tailor would stitch them for me. The colors I wear today are from the color palette I discovered back then. The college I attended was conservative. They would chide you if you weren’t covered head to toe. Wearing pants or dresses meant that you will be sent home to change. I was told that I need to should start using fairness creams. I also got told that I need to wear off-white and yellow because of my complexion. I never liked those colors and refused. But I did believe I was ugly. Sort of had no interest in clothing or vanity or grooming. I wore traditional clothing like the rest of the women in my town. And spent my days studying from dusk to dawn to make it into Engineering school. But I did know the meaning of the word – content. I had a dozen outfits in all and never never was in the ‘let me shop some more’ mode. I was very content with what I had. Was a minimalist.