Come winter and I am on tenterhooks. It is sweater time, see? He has a special thing about this item of apparel. I take all the care to fold/hang them right so that he wouldn’t wear them inside out. And do you know what he does? He wears it the right way. So what are you cribbing about woman, I can hear you asking me. Wait. He can’t keep wearing it all the time, right? When he takes it off at some point he flings/hangs it someplace.
Now comes the crunch – the next time around, the sweater goes on inside out, with the stitches and labels showing in all their glory! With sweaters it is – the right-side-out- once and wrong-side-out the next, unless I remember to fold them the right way every time he takes them off.
I know I shouldn’t be lazy and remember to turn the T-shirt, vest or sweater the right side out while folding them. So what’s the big deal, you can always turn it the right way before wearing it you say, right? Wrong! Not if you are the L&M. He wears it as he finds it. While it happens to the rest of us once in a way, it is a routine affair for the L&M. Can you believe it that he actually doesn’t notice that the item of clothing is inside out? Even that’s ok compared to his wearing his vest or round-necked Ts back to front and not notice it. Can you believe THAT?
Apparently it is a fashion trend for youngsters to wear their clothes inside out. But then it is a deliberate act. With the L&M it is more of an unselfconscious thing, something he does without giving it another thought. I never cease to marvel at how nonchalant he is about the whole thing. I really envy him this yogi-like detachment about his appearance.
The other day we went to the vegetable market. One of our neighbours, a talkative old lady collared me for some gossip. The L&M was busy lovingly picking out vegetables, completely oblivious to the jostling crowd around him. Just as he bent to pick up a cauliflower, I noticed it. I had not seen it when we had left home, not all the way to the market, but there it was now staring at me, the label at the neckline — which should have by rights been inside was outside! In fact, it looked as it was winking happily at all and sundry for having got a chance to see the world! The L&M was wearing his T-shirt inside out. I would have happily dug a hole right there and buried myself in had it been possible. I frantically disengaged myself from the old lady and hurried the L&M away post haste from the place, surreptitiously glancing at everyone, expecting them to be smirking at him.
Once inside the house, I began nagging him for being so careless about his clothes. He didn’t turn a hair. So what is the big deal? Why are you so upset? Tell me who cares how I wear my clothes?’ He asked me. I rolled my eyes.
Actually I shouldn’t be complaining about him, not me. I have never been a spiffy dresser at the best of times. Even in college, while my friends dressed to kill and some, I made do with the minimal wardrobe of a handful of saris not bothering even to match them with the right coloured blouses. A single long plait completed my ensemble. Over the years I have sort of reformed, or so I would like to think. My friends and family beg to differ though.
You would have all heard about how a couple becomes increasingly alike in their behaviour and mannerisms over the years. I can vouch for it. For though I admittedly am a shoddy dresser, I take care not to wear my clothes inside out even at the worst of times. That is something I must have ‘caught’ from the L&M, I’m sure. My poor eyesight is only compounding the problem. But while he is unconcerned about it, I can’t help feeling self-conscious and embarrassed if I ever do it.
You should see the trepidation with which my daughter-in-law waits for me to get ready every time we go out. She has good reason to feel apprehensive. The other day while we were leaving for the Indimeet, she gave an approving look at my matching sari and blouse, hair all set…and then, ‘Amma, your sari is inside-out!’ she exclaimed. Thank God she was around to caution me or else I would have graced the occasion in all my inside out glory!
I remember another time when I had gone out, a shawl hurriedly thrown over my kurta. At the bank, I noticed nary a thing amiss and happily completed my work and then chatted with the clerk while she got the print out of my statement. It was only when I came out in the sunlight that I suddenly noticed – the inside out kurta! Having traipsed all over the place till then completely unaware of the tiny embroidered flowers blooming the wrong way, I suddenly became conscious of it and tried pulling the shawl over the offending garment futilely tying to hide it, thanking my stars it was winter and for the shawl. I am sure all the pulling and covering must have alerted the passersby around me to something being amiss, if not the actual slip-up.
I sometimes wonder if the L&M doesn’t have a point – who has the time to look at you? Don’t people have better things to do than wonder about your appearance? I guess we are too egoistic and tend to imagine that we are the cynosure of all eyes. While it is true that an outlandish appearance or a garish make-up might attract attention, a simple thing like an inside-out T-shirt or sweater might just go unnoticed unless you make a big deal out of it. Come to think of it, if everyone thought like us, they would be equally self-conscious about their appearance too, wouldn’t they? I am by no means justifying shoddy or careless dressing, but….
Now all of you who are reading this, please do me a favour – don’t let on to the L&M that I find merit in his point of view, or else he will completely stop bothering about how he is wearing his sweater the next time we go out. And the winter has only just begun!