From tomboy to gaudy and garish shades of nail paint to bright earrings. Here’s my “style” story, being written for ‘A Style Of My Own’ contest by Women’s Web and Trishla emart.
I have vivid memories of refusing to wear pink and white fluffy frocks, so that I could wear my cousin’s pants and shirts and look, in my own lisping words, “like a boy.” Much to the chagrin of my mother, who for so long had wanted to dress up her little girl, in her resigned-sounding words, “like a girl.” Tantrums would ensue, with everyone within hearing distance insisting that I wear a frock with puffed sleeves and frills.
There’s only so much you can do to resist when you’re five years old!
A few years later, as I walked holding my father’s hand through the narrow streets of the busy sabzi mandi in Adchini (this was years ago; for all I know, it might be a mall now) in New Delhi. We would walk past the old haveli-like houses, where old men sat outside on charpoys and smoked hookahs, and enter the vegetable vendors’ market. A place I hated going to because of the smell of so many vegetables! One day, in the corner, I saw a little shop. Inside, I saw a stand with so many nail paint bottles. Such colours! Red, fuschia, purple! Bright little bottles. Oh! How I wanted those! I said as much to my mother one day, who then proceed to patiently paint my nails.
The next day, tears welled up in my eyes when my teacher said I could not wear them to school. I must say, she sowed the first seeds of rebellion in a seven year old’s mind!
My mother eventually did get me interested in frocks, but what I always got caught for was nail paint. My nails were always trimmed (long nails, to this day, aren’t one of my favorite things), my hair was always neatly plaited, but I couldn’t resist the urge to paint my nails. I would even sneak out and buy horrid colors (now that I think about it) plus I had another collection which I would have purchased in the presence of my mother. Without fail, the teachers would catch me, without fail, I did it again when I thought I couldn’t get caught again. My favorite was a denim blue shade from Lakme, which looked perfect with my jeans. Thank goodness, you can’t get kicked out of school for nail paint!
Until one day, after finishing my tenth standard, a friend saw green shimmery shade on my nails and remarked, “Now you can wear nail paint whenever you want.”
Needless to say, I rarely wore nail paint after that 😛 And when I do, I don’t wear the terrible colours from my younger days! I have a navy blue and a black that are my “me-colours.” I have a translucent white for days when I must look “pretentiously formal and grown up.”
Yup – pretentious is what I call anything that is trying hard to look too classy and Barbie doll is what I call anything trying hard to look incredulously girly. I have often felt my style is essentially Bohemian, and I’d rather wear some black metal bracelets than a gold earring. A couple of silver loops around my earlobes (which are pierced) and I skip the bottom earrings altogether. Blame it on my tomboyish beginnings, but I often forget to apply make-up cos life’s too short to be bothered with mixing and matching of lipsticks! Give me a bunch of turquoise rings for each of my fingers instead. I might team a pair of jeans with jhumkas, and still feel comfortable. I am so much more Phoebe than Rachel. I am so much more kohl-lined eyes than red lipstick. So much more black metal and bronze than pearls and gold! So much more me… than me on my “pretentious-formal days.”