*Salwar Kamiz – A traditional dress of Indian women
*Dopatta – A silk or muslin shawl worn by men or women in India, usually worn with Salwar Kamiz
Whenever I see a girl wearing Salwar Kamiz, I always feel there is something missing in the dress. The dress does not seem complete in itself. It took me a long time to find out what was missing. Well, it is the Dopatta. What are left in the dress are only Kurta and its female counterpart. Dopatta goes missing. I do not have a personal disliking for Kurtas, but this does not defeat Dopatta’s importance. Dopatta is like salt in a Barbecue. You cannot do without it. It is the spice. But Dopattas, eventually, have lost their meaning. People have completely forgotten where or by whom they were invented and for what purpose. It does not even matter now. The bottom line is that they seem to be missing from the Bazaars not lesser than they are missing from girls’ dresses. I feel they would be defunct soon. Fastest to forget them, would be females, for whom they had been of any use, if at all. Boys never liked them to be honest. How could boys, even in their dreams, like anything which shadows beautiful forms. Difficult for them, I guess. Perhaps, they would soon be available in the list of rudimentary items updated and maintained by World Protection Organizations. NGO would soon constitute some laws to protect it and fine every girl seen without a Dopatta.
In my childhood, I grew up hearing the importance of Dopatta in a female’s life. My mother used to say, “Without Dopatta, a girl’s attire is incomplete.” Girls just don’t seem right without them. She also used to say that Dopatta is a symbol of girl’s dignity. It is a veil of honor. But it was not her fault. It was also the era when girls had little choice, when it came to apparel. Saris dominated the Bazaars for a long time and were going to be outdated soon. Girls needed a change, and I think we needed it too. Readymade dresses replaced Saris. Soon, they were everywhere. Girls liked them for decades. But the happiness did not last long. Girls found better things to wrap their bodies. Tailors stopped sewing Dopattas. In no time, Dopatta-less dresses flooded the market. A girl might have a second opinion about the Dresses, but the Dopatta part had to go, and why not, it had enjoyed the bliss for quite a while. It had to leave. May be girls thought, it was too much to handle. A Dopatta is not easy to handle. It is not easy to wrap yard long linen around your torso and still walk properly. Dopatta is an obstacle to seeking catwalk. Somehow girls had managed the trick earlier, but you have no reason to push them nowadays. They have too many choices. Even a towel makes a good attire, if you have nothing else to wear. Dopattas took a lot of space and effort and served very little purpose. It was time for change. There was also another issue with vintage dresses. They did not have any pockets. I think they were made for housewives. Dress designers surely dint know that girls would do better in the future. But designers have adapted quickly. Time has changed a lot in last decades and so have Girls and their draping instruments. Ideally for me, I would prefer for History to repeat itself at least in their dressing sense if not in the way they think.
Let’s see what a Dopatta has to say: (Autobiography of a Dopatta)
I was born in a textile mill, all covered with tiny threads and pieces of cotton, when a weaver, took me in his hand. He looked at me closely. May be he wanted to check if I had any defects, or was I good enough to pull through the contemporary clothe markets. I was then tossed into a huge vessel of burning colored water. I thought, I was getting my first bath. I felt a burning sensation. It was a painful cleansing. I laid there for about two days, before I was pulled out by a different weaver this time. I realized I had turned white. I felt I was baptized. It felt great. The weaver took me in his arms, rinsed me dry. I sensed a motherly love in this guy. He kind of loved me. I was being dressed up for my journey towards my first destination.
I don’t remember exactly when, but it was crack of dawn and I had just opened my eyes. I realized only somebody picked me up. I was then creased, and placed in a box. I was not alone here. There were many other Dopatta friends. All were wrapped nicely. I guessed they had undergone a similar torturous process as I had. I made friends with the blue and the green one. The Red appeared too loud and he yelled all the time in the box so we could hardly hear each other. Pink was too soft and cozy. He preferred to sit in the corner and was lost in his charming fancies. Then we all heard a sound of screeching brakes. We heard closely and found out that it was our truck that had stopped made that sound. We had reached our destination. All the boxes in the truck were unloaded in a shop and so were ours. The shop appeared to be a storehouse as well as a big garment store. We were glad but skeptical at the same time to see what was in the store for us. Our box found a place in a dark closet. We were to spend a long time in this shady life span. It was the worst time of my life. There was no light, not a sound. I had nothing to do but to look at the faces in despair, all around me. It was saddening. I kept myself absorbed by talking to the friends I had made in the box. Sometimes rats troubled us during the midnight. I was scared of them. They enjoyed eating us. One night, I was nearly brought to death by a guerrilla rat if my green friend had not saved me. He sacrificed himself. That bastard rat ate almost half of his body. I prayed harder everyday to get out of that shabby place soon.
Eventually, my prayers were answered and one morning, I saw, it was light, It felt good. The box was opened. The mutilated body of my green friend brought a growl on the face of the guy that had unlocked me. He disappeared in the store for a while carrying my green friend away from me. I never saw my friend again. I was then wrapped and placed in a polythene case and situated in a light and rat-free closet this time. But this was not the end of good times. My hopes seemed to be responded. I expected better everyday. I wanted to go places. I wanted to see the world.
There was this golden day, when I was unpacked and displayed to a beautiful girl who came to the store. She wanted a Green Dopatta but I sensed she liked me too. But I felt a drop of tears rolling through my eyes being nostalgic about my Green friend. She insisted for the Green color. The shopkeeper presented his best offer. He offered to sell me for two hundred and fifty bucks. He said to the girl, “This white one is good madam; it will suit on any dress.” The girl accepted. I think she was affiliated with me. I loved her. She had occurred to me like an angel. It was a love at first sight. I felt anxious when I could be in her arms embracing her, but she decided to postpone the moment. She wrapped me and pushed me under her arm and left the store.
On the way, I kept dreaming about the girl. I wondered when she would hug me. I anticipated, if she really liked me. After all, Green was her first choice. I was the second option. I wondered if she went to college. I was curious to know how she would look when she will clasp me. She must look like a fairy angel, I thought. She was too fair for me. She was fair as milk. But I remembered my pride that I was fair too. This relationship will last long I believed. The best time of my life had come. I was here with this angel of my life, all free from dark stores, hungry rats and lifeless and greedy shopkeepers. I hoped, if I could stay with her forever.
Well, the blessed moment came in my life. This was everything for me. I had craved for this moment right since when I was born. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, but it was not too hot. She had decided to give me a chance today. She took me out from her personal wardrobe and unwrapped me. She took me in her arms. I felt unconscious in her presence. It was the biggest occasion of my life. A light flashed across my mind and I could not ask for more. Her face appeared brighter than ever. She looked excited. She danced a little embracing me on her shoulders. May be she was trying a walk a little, to see if I was a good bargain. I felt flabbergasted. I was on cloud nine. She walked towards the mirror. Perhaps she was dressing up for a college date. It was a pink bordered mirror hung in the corner of her cheesy room, right outside the smoky bathroom. She had just finished taking a bath. She stood in front of the mirror. It was the time, when I saw myself. It was enlightening. I was too numb to feel anything. I was startled to think how long this moment was going to last. I suddenly felt blue. This time should never end, I begged. The good thing about these moments is that they are so enchanting, so perfect, but the bad part is that they are so few in your life and they do not last longer. They are short lived. You cannot stand on these colossal peaks forever.
The expression on my girl’s face told me that she was quite pleased with me. She appeared satisfied. But I could not take my eyes off her. After all, she had given me a new life. She had bestowed me a time of my life. May be she was the cause for me to be alive. I could not live without her. I had to serve her best, it was my chance.
I do not remember, nor do I want to, how long those lovely moments lasted. I had lived my life, enough to fill my eyes with tears when I would be nostalgic about them. My life was soon going to be over and I had no regrets about it. I am talking about the day when I was tossed on the road was run over by a huge truck, which, ironically, was also my childhood transporter. Trucks, I thought, are meant to carry stuff to places and not to kill. But nothing could be undone now. It was over. I was taking my last breaths. My life flashed before my eyes, and I could see all the good and bad times. I was not surprised to see that best moments of my life were with that angel of mine. I never knew her name. May be she draped me too less for anybody to call her name and I could have heard it. But I had no repentance. I was rewarded much more than I had imagined. I remembered that she only wore me twice, once for a college date, as I said before and secondly, it was a family function, I guess. My life was going to end soon. If I was reborn, where would I go? What would I do? A face appeared in front of my eyes half open. I tried to catch a glimpse and there she was. It was my angel. This was the last time I saw her. My eyes were going to close forever. May be she would ever wrap me again in another lifetime, perhaps. Could I be Green in my next life?