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Fashionista? I think not!

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Fashion is such a weird and wonderful thing.  And I speak with all the authority of someone who spent hours watching Fashion Tv when it first launched. Though I should also quickly confess that my watching FTv had nothing to do with fashion and all to do with the gorgeous international models and well, let’s say, slightly skimpy sheer clothing. So as I was saying, there are fashion choices that don’t make sense to me. I mean, yes you need to look presentable. But somehow I doubt walking into an interview in a crisp, new suit with a cowboy hat (as they sometimes demonstrate on these fashion shows) will get you that job. Unless you’re interviewing for the position of Head-trainer at a ranch maybe.  

Though not a fashionista by any definition of the word, having lived in quite a few metropolitan cities, I’ve been privileged enough to observe some rather strange and  unique fashion choices. Whilst I am not going to go into a detailed report of those, I must say this. Perhaps the stupidest fashion choice I’ve seen so far, is this sudden invasion of the low-rise jeans over the past decade. Also known in my world as either “Wanna see my underwear?” jeans or “Wanna see my bum-crack?” jeans, depending on the kind of (or lack of) inner wear. And sadly this “bum-ster syndrome” as I call it, is something that seems to have affected both genders (and others) equally. Anyway I digress.

 

I went shopping the other day. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Now, that’s not a statement that you hear everyday from a man!”. It’s true. I’m not so much into this retail therapy madness. Ok, maybe if I am shopping for gadgets. But for clothes ? Meh. Unless I really have to, I won’t. You see, I’m a rather overweight chap (I prefer the word physically disproportionate or better yet, round. Round is a shape, no?). So finding clothes that fit is, well, an arduous task. No, it wasn’t always like this. But my love for food, combined with a lack of physical activity and a rather severe hypothyroid condition which went undiscovered for several years, all collectively resulted in where I am and my shape today.

 

Back when I was in the UK, finding clothes that fit was rather easy. In a country, where even the average teenager had a much larger waist size than me, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually fell into the category of “normal-sized” people. So in reality, when I suddenly had to go shopping for clothes the very first time since I’d moved back to India, I was quite optimistic. I naively assumed that with so many big brands vying for market share, they would all cater to the needs of people of all shapes and sizes. After all, the labels on almost all the clothes that I had ever bought in the UK, stated proudly that they were made in India. But oh no! I was about to discover a whole new world of shopping pain.

 

As part of this “impromptu shopping spree”, we decided to try one of the larger shopping malls in Bangalore. All the big brands were under one roof and surely at least a couple of them would have thought of catering to the needs of “large disproportionate” men such as myself. So off I hankered into the men’s section. A bunch of salesmen cautiously approached me with their measuring tapes in tow. “Can I help you, sir?” asked one of them politely. “No, I’m alright!” I replied, sharply dismissing them with a wave of my hand. Kind of made me feel like a king, that act. I was confident that I could find a pair of well-fitting jeans in no time. After all, I knew my waist size and height. What I didn’t realise was that my waist size didn’t exist for most of the “ultra-cool” modern brands. Not one to give up hope, I continued to hunt and finally managed to find 3 pairs that boldly announced the waist size that I was after.  With these tucked under my arm, I marched confidently into the trial room. Alas, my nightmare was only about to begin.

 

The very first pair I tried on, never actually made it past my “muscular” thighs. I carefully took them off and looked at the size. Yes, I’d gotten the waist size right. But what I’d missed was this tiny little tag on the label that said “Slim Tapered”.  On closer observation, it revealed all kinds of details about the pair, the key one being - “Slim through thighs”. “No wonder they didn’t fit!” I thought. But then again, I was also secretly curious to find out who that rather unique person was, who had my waist size and such pencil-thin thighs. The second pair fared much better. It actually made it to my waist. The problem started when I tried to button them up. I tried everything I could think of - holding my stomach in and even clenching my butt. But nothing helped. And then finally I huffed and puffed like the big bad wolf in the three little pigs, and managed to button it up. By this point, I was sweating profusely and I wasn’t even done yet. I still had to pull up the zip. After another five minutes of unsuccessfully trying to zip up the jeans, I stopped trying. Huffing, puffing and panting again, I vetoed yet another pair of jeans. Or rather they’d vetoed me. All my hopes now rested on the final pair of jeans that hung comfortably off the hanger. It stared mockingly at me, almost daring me to give it a try. Wondering what fresh hell it was about to unleash, I decided to give it a go. To my surprise, it not just made the journey up to my waist quite comfortably, but I was able to button it up well and good without having to decide which bone in my body I needed to break.

 

Whilst I was standing there with the triumphant look of finally having managed to find a pair that fit me, there was a loud knock on the door followed by a rather melodious “Are you done yet Sid? We need to hurry!”. I smiled and quickly bundled up the “fitting” pair of jeans. But not before I glared at the other pairs that were now hanging off the hooks. “Jeans - Zero, Sid - One” I said out aloud as I quickly walked to the counter to pay the rather exorbitant sum of money for this single pair of jeans.

 

divider A couple of days later, 

My wife and I had planned to go out for a nice dinner and I decided that this was the best time to cavort around in my new pair of “branded” jeans that I’d paid a fortune for. Just like in the trial room, the jeans once again, slid up comfortably. Quite pleased with myself, I turned around to look at the mirror to admire my rather snug fitting profile. And that’s when I noticed that my boxers had made an appearance, peeking rather coyly over the waist band of the jeans. Wondering why I hadn’t noticed this the other day, I did what any self-respecting man would have done.  I tried to pull up the jeans at the waist. But no matter how hard I tugged, the jeans refused to rise enough to cover the label and brand of my inner wear. As I frantically tried to think of ideas that would help me cover this up, I noticed a tag on the jeans . In bold red letters they exclaimed, Speciality Low Rise jeans - for the man who likes to flaunt.

 

As someone who hated (and still hates) the concept of low rise/waist jeans, the irony of the fact that I now had to settle for these sort of jeans, was not lost on me. So what did I do? Well, I did what any sensible man would do. I’m now the proud owner of a number of Calvin Klein boxer shorts. After all, the world says “If you've got it, flaunt it!”.Except that in this case, “It” refers to an expensive pair of intimate wear. Fashion is a weird thing indeed.

 

 

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Let me leave you with this parting image. Tada - the future of jeans :)

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I don't know how she does it !

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I am a hands-on father. But I confess, my morning duties with my son are largely restricted to packing his school bag, combing his hair (which is one of the toughest things ever) and taking him downstairs to wait for the school mini van. Collectively which takes, say 15 minutes tops. Yet, I complain. I complain because every time I put stuff in his school bag, he deems it necessary to pull something else out. I complain because every time I lay the comb on his hair, he wiggles his body like jelly. I complain because when I take him downstairs, he is running around in circles and jumping up and down the steps instead of waiting quietly. And when I return from this fifteen minute trip, which to me, often feels like an hour, I often spend the next 10 minutes complaining to my wife, that it’s so difficult and I need a break. My wife, J, who’s often just finishing off her morning coffee (which has been reheated at least three times since it was made) before leaving for work, often just smiles at me and says “I understand, Sid!” before she bids me goodbye for the day.

So imagine my surprise, when she suddenly informed me that she had an early office appointment on the 5th of the month, and hence I’d have to take charge of all the “morning rituals” for Rishi. She also added that she could get someone else to “help me”, to ensure a smooth flow of all the processes involved. Though the idea of getting someone to help did sound appealing initially, I vehemently dismissed her suggestion of “help”. After all, she did it alone every single day, along with getting herself ready for work too.

“How bad could it be?” I thought, with a smirk on my face.

On the day, i.e. today, J left quite early. And to help “facilitate” the morning process, as she called it, she’d left me with a detailed note, including the time it took for each activity, just to ensure that Rishi left on time. Of course, I didn’t need the note, but since she’d taken the pains to get it done, I thought I should at least give it a one time read. Now, whilst I am not going to detail the list here, I will give you a snap shot of what transpires daily in the morning, at least as far as Rishi is concerned.

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Pretty darn efficient, right? I mean, how difficult could it be? I was just about to discover the answer to my question.

Since it was my first attempt in singlehandedly trying to get Rishi ready for school, I decided to try and wake him up about 15 minutes early. After all, I didn't want him to be late on my watch. Curious to see how the “usually efficient time management system” worked for me? Read on.

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And then I glance at my watch. It boldly states the time as 09:05.

As I walk back to the flat, my phone beeps. It’s a message from J. It says “Hope everything is fine and Rishi left on time !”

After contemplating for moment (and also catching my breath from all the rolling  and tumbling running from earlier), I reply “ Managed somehow. I seriously don’t know how you do it!"

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I hereby dedicate this to all the amazing MOM's that I know (and one's I don't too). If it weren't for all you lovely women, our kids probably wouldn't have made it to school on time. Ever. Oh, a big shout out to all the fathers who help too. And I have a pretty awesome kid too.

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Mr Murphy gives me a flight to remember

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I let out a sigh of relief. My international flight was scheduled for take off in an hour and I was thanking my lucky stars that I had been able to make it to the airport, even if it was with minutes to spare. I was flying back to London after a short break with my parents in Dubai, and despite having made the journey from my home to Dubai International Airport numerous times, my father had somehow managed to take a couple of wrong turns, which meant we ended up travelling half the way to Abu Dhabi (another emirate about 150kms away) before we were en route to the airport. But I really can’t blame my father entirely on this front. There are days when everything can possibly go wrong, and today was just one of those days. In retrospect, I should have guessed that something was going to go wrong, the moment I put my hand into the toiletry bag and realised that my shampoo had leaked. But being optimistic, I didn’t take it to heart, and just blamed it on my “rather unprofessional” packing skills. Of course this meant that I not only had to change my toiletry bag, but also my suitcase, since there was a large off-white stain seeping through the top, which I wasn’t keen on having to explain to anyone. So after 20 minutes of hastily re-packing everything (or as my mother calls it - dumping everything haphazardly) into  another suitcase, I was finally packed and ready to go. The only thing that was left for me to do, was to quickly change my clothes and we could be on our way.

Having broached the subject of clothes, there is a confession that I must make. Whilst on long-haul flights, or any flight that’s over three hours in duration, there are only two T-shirts that I prefer to wear. Since I’d worn one of them on my flight to Dubai a couple of days ago, this only left me with one other option. Of course, I had plenty of other shirts and tees, but consider this one of my, let’s say idiosyncrasies (though some of them call it being superstitious - a word that I vehemently dislike). As I pull down this particular t-shirt over my head, I hear a loud ripping sound. I glance down, only to realise that there was now a large tear where I had grasped the t-shirt (probably too tightly) to pull it down. That should have been my second sign, that the day was not really going to go according to plan. But once again, optimism took over cynicism and I swapped my torn T-shirt for another shirt. An hour behind schedule, we were finally on our way to the airport.

After the ceremonial good-byes were said and tears shed, I quickly ran to the baggage drop counter. Usually the queue for this counter is the fastest moving one, regardless of which airlines you’re flying on or which airport you’re flying from. I mean, that’s usually the benefit of having checked in online, isn’t it? And since I’d made it to the airport before the check-in counter closed (even if it was just minutes before), I was sure that my ill-luck was going to turn around. Alas, fate had other plans. The queue was moving at a snail’s pace and I was starting to get really impatient. I quickly waved to one of the airline support staff who was shepherding the queue and informed him that I was running really late for my flight. Though he initially gave me a look, which I could only construe as “So? That’s not my fault !”, I suspect good sense prevailed and he helped me skip the queue and drop my luggage.

As I quickly rushed through security and immigration, I heard a strange name being announced via the public-address system. It sounded strangely familiar, but vaguely alien too. After a couple of repeated hearings, I suddenly realised why the name sounded familiar. It was my name, but coated in a thick Arabic accent. I rushed up the escalator in an attempt to find a directional signboard which would direct me to my boarding gate. I quickly glanced at my boarding pass, which boldly announced my boarding gate as C49. I looked around to find out where I was, and noticed a large interactive panel, which stated “Looking for your gate? Find out here!”. Thinking that it must be a sign from above, I let the strange looking machine scan my boarding pass. And then it loudly announced, with almost a Scarlett Johansson-esque voice  “You are approximately 20 minutes away from your boarding gate. The gate will close in exactly 13 minutes”. Cursing my fate again, I take a deep breath, and make a run for it. Now, since I’m largely overweight, and can be categorised under the shape “Round”, I suspect that for an on-looker, I might have appeared akin to a rather large beige snowball, rolling towards its destination. But one thing I’ve always prided myself in, is the fact that I can run pretty fast. Well, faster than what you’d expect from a fat person. You know why? Because I always assume that there’s some lovely food waiting for me at finish line. And my "athletic" skills didn’t fail me this time either; I reached the gates (albeit huffing, panting and sweating like I’d just run a marathon) with 2 minutes to spare.

The pretty looking airline ground staff took one look at me and slightly wrinkled her nose. I knew why. No amount of Davidoff Cool Water or Armani Code perfume could mask that lovely odour that I was giving out. Silently I followed her through the air bridge and into the aircraft, where a pleasant looking steward directed me to my seat. As I walked down the aisle, I noticed that almost everyone was staring at me. I timidly walked up to the row that I was designated to sit in. As luck would have it, I’d been allotted a window seat. And not just that, the seat next to me was empty. I almost squealed with delight, because as any experienced air traveller can tell you, having two seats to yourself automatically qualifies you for an enjoyable flight. But again, fate, or in this case I call it, Murphy’s law, decided to rear its ugly head.

As I buckled up my seat belt, and took deep breaths to calm myself down, I heard the muffled sound of pointed heels against the carpeted aircraft floor. Assuming that it was the stewardess bringing me some water, I looked up with a smile on my face. But alas it wasn’t the stewardess. Rather it was one of the most gorgeous looking women that I’d ever seen (Of course my wife is way hotter). Now here’s a bit of insight into men and air travel, or rather any kind of travel. If we’re travelling alone, every one of us (and I mean every one) secretly hopes that we have a pretty companion as a co-traveller. If it’s someone who can also indulge in a bit of chit-chat, then trust me, we are really happy campers. And as a man, I couldn’t believe that I’d struck what we called the “travel-lottery”. Alas, it was one of those days when I could have really done without a pretty companion, or any companion for that matter. But Murphy is evil. Not only did he seat a gorgeous woman next to me, he seated a gorgeous woman who was talkative and rather flirtatious, next to me. And here I was, unable to continue the chit chat because I was conscious of my rather dishevelled appearance and body odour.

With a heavy heart, I excused myself, plugged in my headphones and pretended to fall asleep, all the while cursing my bad luck. Ironically, I did actually manage to fall asleep, and when I got up a few hours later, my pretty neighbour was deep in flirtatious conversation with a rather dapper looking gentleman, who was sat in the aisle seat in the next column. “That could have been me!” I thought, once again cursing Murphy and his dreaded law. And that’s when it struck  me. I did have a spare shirt in my hand luggage and all the other luxury toiletries that I needed, to re-invent myself and make an impact on this damsel. With that in mind, I gathered my spare shirt and the toiletry bag, and popped into the aircraft washroom. Now, if you’ve travelled by air, you’ll know that aircraft toilets have severe space constraints. So trying to dress up there, is not really the best option in the world. But since I didn’t have much of a choice, contorting my body in almost impossible ways, I managed to change my shirt and freshen up.  And that’s when I heard the familiar ding of the “seat-belt sign” chime.

Content that she’d have to put on her seat belt and hence couldn’t stretch over and talk to the other man, I happily walked over to my row. I heard a melodious giggle from the row of seats adjacent to mine (yes, the very one that that dapper man was sitting in). And that’s when I noticed that the pretty damsel was no longer sitting next to me. She was sitting next to the man, giggling away at what I can only assume was one of his jokes. Sighing, I glanced at what was originally her seat, i.e. the one next to mine. Sitting there comfortably with her librarian glasses and reading the bible, was an elderly nun.

Cursing Mr. Murphy once again, I slowly slid into my seat. It was going to be a long, lonely flight.


[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was "Comedy of Errors: Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”]

Sleeping with the enemy

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The luminous digital bedside clock says 01:00. I know, because I’m wide away nursing my right cheek bone with ice. "Oh, that’s going to be one heck of a bruise" I think to myself. Without making a sound, I turn around and glare at the culprit. He’s sprawled on his back, his arms folded behind his head as if he’s lying on beach chair in Hawaii. His legs are still twitching, probably as the result of the after-shock from having connected with my now bruised cheek. I glare at him, almost willing him to go for Round Two. Oblivious to my taunts, a slow whistle escapes his parted lips. I sigh, and get back into bed, contorting my body into weird angles, and try to catch a quick nap before the next attack. Welcome to Parenthood! Oh, and not to mention, the joys and tortures of co-sleeping with your baby. Now, just to make sure we don’t go off in a tangent and start to argue about whether or not co-sleeping is good for your child, let me put a huge disclaimer. I neither advocate nor condemn co-sleeping. Enough and more research has been done on the topic and there are two explicit sides to this argument. As for us, we’ve tried both, and due to a lot health-related concerns, we decided to stick it out with co-sleeping. Atleast for now. But the way things are going, that’s bound to change soon.

Co-sleeping with your kids, especially a toddler, is an art. And along with millions of other parents, I demand that it be recognised as one. To really understand what I’m talking about, you must have slept with the enemy, which ironically in this case, is your beloved off-spring. There are a number of positions that “the enemy” adopts to make sure he/she (or god bless you - THEY) can inflict maximum discomfort whilst they themselves enjoy this little game, so to speak. Of course, keeping with the “law of individuality”, each of them may have different preferences for warfare methodologies. And they change. As they grow, it gets worse before it gets better. So have some sympathy for us parents who due to reasons that cannot be revealed, have no other option, apart from to co-sleep with the enemy.

 

Mine, for example, started off with the “I don’t care about you” phase, where he’d just lie in a corner and not move around at all. To be honest, this was bliss. We were just less than a year into our parenthood at that point, and hence most of our information was gathered from the internet and parenting books. And not one of them mentioned this phase. Needless to say, that was the end of the “parenting by the book” phase for us. And as a new parent, I would find myself getting up frequently in the middle of the night, just to make sure he was breathing, and wonder to myself why he wasn’t moving around as they said in the books. Well, that lasted for approximately 4 weeks. You’d have thought we managed to get some sleep then, right? Oh no, we were still disturbed every now and then, for the feed.

 

That phase soon stopped and gave way to the “If you’re not coming to bed with me, then you have no space here” phase. Strangely enough this ultimatum did not come from my wife, but from my 12 month old son. I’m often the last person to go to sleep in my family. So by the time, I eventually make my way to the bed, I’m dead tired. Having to partake in a power struggle to reclaim my side of the bed was not something I was prepared to indulge in. So as parents do, well most of the time anyway, I quickly gave up my “night-time endeavours” (not what you think!) and joined the family in bed before it was too late. But here’s the part I still don’t understand. How can someone so small, take up so much of space? It truly defies all known laws.

 

But the troubles didn’t end there. Now that I was going to bed around the same time as him, he needed to up the game a bit. What’s more, we re-arranged the bed in such a way that one of the sides of the bed was adjacent to the wall. And then we shifted him to one of the corners which was brilliant in a lot of ways. For me, anyway. It meant that not only could I lie next to my wife (stop smirking!), I was completely away from him. But as some bright and intelligent person once said, never put doing the impossible past a kid, especially toddler.

 

Since then, we’ve been through :

 

  • the “Bridge” phase, where he lies horizontally between my wife and me, effectively shutting us away;
  • the “Over the face” phase, where he lies over my face/neck, sometimes drooling all over my neck, other times, just suffocating me;
  • the “I like your hair in my mouth” phase, where he twirls the strands of my wife's hair with his little fingers and then shoves it into his mouth; Fortunately I escaped this phase.
  • the “I’ve got my eyes on you” phase, where he suddenly sits up in the middle of night, and observes you like a hunter stalking his prey; Trust me, it really freaks you out if you happen to get up and see this.

And now we’re currently in the “inverted phase”, where somehow he invariably ends up lying in a direction opposite to us, so his feet are “scarily close” to our faces. "How bad could it be?" I hear you ask. This phase also incorporates the “Ninja phase” as we call it, where he feels compelled by some un-seen force to throw some savage kicks, which unfailingly always finds its mark - me.

As the clock nears the bewitching hour, I better wrap this post up, eat my dinner and rush to bed before I lose my spot. I guess Charles Darwin knew what he was saying when he said  “It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”. He was obviously a parent :)