22 January

It had not occurred to me that a visit to the Prospect’s house would also entail elaborate preparations beforehand that would entail a full-fledged shopping trip. But knowing Comma, I should have expected it.

First, we discuss for several afternoons what she needs to buy. And she makes lists.

Then, we discuss over several phone calls when we could go shopping. And we make plans.

Then, we do go.

Even a long day at Court and Neem has not quenched Comma’s energy while shopping. We buy for her:

1. A short chiffon kurta in mehndi green with a green and orange Patiala salwar and dupatta.
2. Green and orange glass bangles.
3. Orange chandelier earrings spiked with green, and a matching necklace.
4. A green and orange bindi.
5. Green slip-ons.
6. 5 blouses to be worn with jeans, each one classified as To-be-worn-on-the-Bhopal-flight, To-be-worn-for-a-casual-visit-to-his-house, To-be-worn-one-evening, To-be-worn-on-the-Mumbai-flight and An-extra-one-in-case-of.

And while we are at it, we also buy:

1. Some make-up, a new lipstick, blusher, and mascara.
2. Some new lingerie. Of course.
3. And even a new nightdress.

Since it isn’t a negligee, I know Comma has no naughty plans for Bhopal. In fact, it is a staid T-shirt and long track pants, (in pale pink with brown teddy bears!) possibly for the benefit of her aunt, the one we are going to stay with.

Even the roadside stalls on Linking Road is shutting down before Comma is satisfied that her pre-marital trousseau is complete. I don’t complain much because she makes up for me trudging behind her and holding her shopping bags by treating me to a spicy Goan fish curry and rice in Pali Market. She has some beer while we eat.  Later, lighting up a cigarette,

She peers into her shopping bags and says: “I wonder if that guy is worth all this. Do you think I’ll be able to drink beer at a restaurant in Bhopal when we go out? Or smoke? Sometimes, I think I just want to cancel on this.”

Me: “You want to cancel on going? After buying all this stuff?”

Comma: “I can always use it somewhere else.”

Me: “Sure. Let’s not go, then. As it is, I don’t have anything new to wear.”

Comma: “You don’t need anything new. You have loads of good stuff.”

Me: “And you don’t?”

Comma shrugs: “Anyway, I’m the one who needs to impress them. Not you.”

Me: “So you just want me to go along like your lackey? The way I have been following you around today? Anyway, why do you want to impress them? I thought you don’t want to go.”

Comma: “No. I think I’d better. The Prospect would feel very bad if I didn’t show up.”

Me: “So what do you care? It’s not as if you are in love.”

Comma: “No, I am not. But I have to be decent, at least. It’s my small town upbringing. I can’t be callous and heartless like you Mumbai girls.”
Me: “Right. So we are going, then?”

Comma: “Yes.”

As if I didn’t know that, when we began the conversation.

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3 Comments on “22 January”

  1. desi-at-large says:

    Mamma, this Comma!

  2. desi-at-large says:

    Yes, she is quite a character. That detailed description of the shopping trip and her callous practicality (Appi doesn’t need to impress anybody, she does) remind me of a couple of friends.
    But I do remember how she helped Appi shop for a party outfit, so I guess Appi was doing likewise.


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