Shopping for clothes – India 4

14 09 2008

Broom was immune to my pleas for mercy.

“I’ll just sleep. ” I said through lips that felt like super putty. I tried to shake off the haze and bring her into full focus. “You guys go without me.” Broom rolled her eyes and lifted my arm. It slid out of her grasp like a limp eel. She clucked her tongue in that way she does when she’s getting impatient and annoyed. And then she unleashed that terrible weapon. The one thing that could motivate me to drag my rag doll limbs out of bed and wobble into my clothes with great grunting effort. It is the thing that works on absolutely everyone from every culture and every walk of life. The most awesome and powerful force in the known universe. Guilt.

“My mom took half the day off so she could spend time with you and you’ve been asleep all afternoon. ” She said matter-of-factly. “She’ll be hurt if you don’t come out with us tonight. ”

We drove through streets teeming with brightly-lit shops and stuff-wallahs showing off their wares at traffic lights. Broom’s dad dropped us at the entrance to one of the newly built shopping centres and drove away to find parking. We showed the contents of our purses to the security guards and then made a beeline for Broom’s favorite clothes store. One whole floor was dedicated to kurtas, patialas, salwar kurtis. I was drawn to the bright patterns and soft brilliant colors that adorned every rack like a moth who had just discovered lanterns in the darkness. Broom’s mom was eyeing each of the kurtas I picked out and commenting on the choice of color or the particular pattern. “No that is not your color.”, she said when I held up a rust colored shirt with bright yellow leafy patterns bordering the collar. “try this one.” She pulled a deep emerald green shirt from another rack. I held it up to Broom and she screwed up her face and said “Such a dark green. It’s too depressing.” I sighed and thought it would be a long night.

As it turned out, the time went by very fast. Before long, Broom’s mom was enthusiastically picking out outfits that she thought I would like. She asked me if I wanted to try the patialas to go with some of my shirts and she said that the puffier more arabic style were in fashion. I was infected by her excitement and decided to try them.  After all, I thought, I really didn’t have any clothes that were good for the stifling humidity and heat.  She had the sales staff running all over the store to find particular colors and sizes that would match the Kurtas I had already picked out. I left the store with 3 large shopping bags of new clothes, excited to be wearing them on the trip to Delhi the next morning.