From Frumpy to Fashionista

Okay maybe not fashionista, but this is as close as I am going to get. Life is short, this may be my only chance to be cool. Or at least convince a couple friends I’m cool. So I am owning it. Excuse me a second while I cut off a really bad hangnail…aah that feels so much better. I couldn’t find the nail cutter so I just used my teeth, you’ve all done it too so don’t judge me.

Anyways. I was that frumpy kid in the class. The brown girl. The one whose immigrant parents went shopping to the equivalent of what is now …um…actually I don’t think they have anything that bad anymore. Oops never mind, God bless the internet, Google has informed me that Bi-Way is going to be resurrected. I am so sorry all you children of immigrant parents, I feel for you. I was there. I got through it. You too will survive. Maybe even become a fashionista. I was the brown girl with the bad haircut in dark green nylon bellbottoms. With shirts that can’t even be described.  It was traumatic. I still get nightmares. To top it off it was the 80’s. Even the fashionable fashion was something you never want to remember. Those awful white short shorts that George Michael wore ugh I bet he’s rolling over in his grave right now. RIP George, I will speak of it no more.

So back to the point, yes I do get distracted, because life is short so I’m cramming, gotta get all my thoughts and memories out there. Don’t want to miss anything. I am now a fashionista. I know this because I go to a lot of events. I mean like there are some weeks where every night is spent out. That’s a lot of events for the lame brown girl turned fashionista. At these events, ladies will come right up to me and tell me they love what I am wearing. Then they will happily listen to the story behind where this incredible said outfit came from. That makes me a legitimate fashionista. So I have started reading up on fellow fashionistas. I don’t understand the language, or I do but don’t want to admit that I don’t exactly fit into those categories. For example, Queen of Fierce Outfit Inspiration, um no I need way more clothes than that, that is something that most people don’t even dare to wear at the beach. Also me+hijab. Total Boss Girls With Badass Style. I guess not. Not boss girl, even my cats don’t take me seriously.  Bold Prints, Graphics and Cuts. I don’t even know what that means. Monochromatic Street Style. I am too old to get on a skateboard and I don’t know if insurance will cover all the damage.  So where are the women my age? The ones who wear normal stuff and still look nice but all the cool people refuse to acknowledge? Is there a name for us? I will be fashionista to the underrepresented and marginalized. I have made my own category and I am going to own it. #fashionistatotheunderrepresented because that sounds better than #fashionistatothelame

My fashionista outfit for today’s event, the Arts on the Credit Tour. It got many compliments, thank you very much. I also wore it to an Opening Reception at Artworld Fine Art. Yes, I repeat outfits. So does Kate Middleton. I bought this gorgeous blue printed silk dupatta (long fabric draped over shoulders) in Lahore once. I have had it for years ( I will not admit to how many) when I recently went to Karachi I took it with me and bugged a tailor till he caved and sewed it to my specifications. He doubted my fashion sense at every step. I wish I could go tell him I was right and he was wrong. Whatever. I wore it with a neutral coloured tee shirt and creme coloured cotton trousers because it is still summer. I don’t care that pumpkin spice everything is now available.

This long cardigan style thingy can be worn over anything and make it look super elegant. I could wear it with ratty old jeans and a dirty tee-shirt and still look decent to go to a party. Also dangly earings help. When all else fails pull out the dangly earrings and wear them. Plus to all my fellow hijabis, turban style hijabs are life. Wrap that scarf around your head like a queen and no one will know you haven’t ironed it ever. Do wash them sometimes though. Please. No one wants to smell that unwashed hair aroma.

How gorgeous do my paintings look on those walls?

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You know you are Desi when…

I don’t want to make other races feel left out or anything and I am sure a lot of you could relate to the following traits, but there are just some things that really let you know you are desi.

You know you are desi when…

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“We are out of groceries” looks like this.  Desi people have this insane fear in the back of their cranium somewhere that when the apocalypse comes we won’t have enough groceries. So we should always be prepared with a surplus, no amount of groceries are ever enough.

You know you are desi when…

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Your freezer is full of containers that are highly misleading as to their contents.  For example you will not find yogurt, ice cream or cream cheese (who keeps cream cheese in the freezer?) in any of these containers. Surprise! If you are desi you will know that they all contain some type of curry. You can never have too much curry, never know when the zombies might come.

You know you are desi when…

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This is something you use for an earache.

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You have used these for toothaches.

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This solves every gastric trouble in medical history.

And this…

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…is the solution for every other ailment under the sun.

You know you are desi when…

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…every cupboard contains a bag …that contains countless bags. Every. Cupboard.

When the zombies come we will have plenty of bags to tie them up in. Of course up here in Canada we won’t have a zombie apocalypse,  that kind of stuff only happens in America.  We will of course send the bags to our American neighbors. Polite Canadians.

You know you are desi when…

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This bin is overflowing every two days.  I fear the day when garbage pickup will be scheduled for every other week.

You know you are desi when…

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…you still think the kids are feeling cold.

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Dear white lady, please excuse my curry aura.

Rural Indian Woman cooking food in the Kitchen

Desi cooking. It is the epitome of a love hate relationship. Love to eat it. Hate to smell it. The smell of spicy curry on rice is slightly different when it lingers on your clothes. Your walls. Your couch. Damn it even the cat.

It takes a small fortune on fabric fresheners, candles, and what not to keep our houses free from the infuriating curry smell. Curry which we cook many times throughout the week.  Dry wall loves curry. The entire house just soaks all that spicy smell up and that contraption known as the kitchen exhaust is a useless noisemaker.

There needs to be some kind of innovation in house making seriously, special materials for people who do a lot of eastern cooking. Yes I have to include the entire east because our lives depend on garlic, onions, and spices. And bak choy. Have you ever smelt the after effects of cooking bak choy?  Ugh!

We eastern cooking people are the reason the scent industry will continue to flourish, prosper and cause the remaining ozone layer to vanish completely.  We have cans of air freshener in every corner of the house, which we use fervently especially in winter when windows can’t be opened. Winter is the worst when it comes to curry…aromas.

The day of the winter concert my daughters were super excited to be performing (for the one millionth time). We were invited in the evening to watch them. My husband had forgotten about it and suddenly came down with every ailment in the book when reminded of the evening’s agenda.

I let him off the hook and offered to just go by myself. Even I had been trying to talk the girls out of it. (Don’t judge me, I usually get excited about watching them perform every year even after hearing the songs every day for two months from all three of them.)But it had been a very tiring week.

I was running late, I wanted to get dinner cooked before I left so the kids could come home, eat and we could just wind the evening up. By 7pm I am so sleepy I can fall asleep while eating dinner. Curry facials are not good for your skin.

Spaghetti and meatballs for the kids. Desi guy doesn’t like pasta. At all. So I had decided to cook bihari kababs that day for him. Biggest mistake ever. In my haste to get to school I just grabbed my coat after I turned off the stove and ran outside. Ignoring the yells of the spray cans containing various scented toxic liquids that decorated our house.

I herded the girls in the direction of their classes and then went to the gym to await the performance. There were no seats left so I had to stand at the entrance. Where it was nice and airy. Till my friend spotted me and dragged me back with her because she had an extra seat (she pulled her youngest out of said seat and sat him on her lap for the whole evening-I love my friends). It was crowded. Packed. You could smell snow and salt. And bihari kabab.

I felt like kicking myself. I whispered my horror to my friend who smiled and said, “yeah I wondered what you had been cooking. Great korma smell!”

“Bihari kabab,” I said.

“Well I don’t mind,” she giggled.

But the white lady sitting next to me did. A lot. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her stiffen. I saw her slowly rise and leave. To sit on some chair she was lucky enough to find in that packed gym away from me. Dear white lady from the winter concert at the school gym, I am extremely sorry, please excuse my curry aura.

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