"My friend Sunitha called me. I was about to call you…then I remembered you had told me that you are busy the whole day" my wife was jiggling with joy.
"Which Sunitha?" I enquired as usual.
"You do not know her. We were great friends in college. Then she took up fashion designing. She is a professional fashion designer now. She was stitching all my clothes before my marriage" my wife was proud in telling this. I did not get why she had to be so proud!
"She is your friend and also your tailor..OK.. what does she want now?"
"Tailor?" My wife’s face turned red. "She is one of the top dress designers of Chennai. Do you know that Jayalalithaa and Khushboo are her customers?"
"What? Jayalalitha? I have never seen her in any dress other than a 15 metre sari. Moreover, she is up with that bullet proof jacket, I have not seen the color of her blouse as well" I exclaimed.
"So what? Sunitha buys saris for Jayalalitha. She designs for Simaran, Jothika, Ramya, Navya…the list is endless…" my wife went on.
"OK, OK, I accept she is a big dress designer… and she called you… now tell me what she said!"
"She is having a fashion show here in Dubai and she has invited me to be present at this special occasion"
"Will she send tickets or should we buy them?" I asked. That mattered me most. It had taken me three hours in office to prepare my expense budget for this month and somebody tries to shatter it just because of a phone call!
"Of course she will send complimentary passes. Definitely two. If you want more for your friends, tell me sufficiently early so that I can try" My wife was beaming in confidence.
"No.. No.. two is enough. May be one also is enough. I can drop you there and go to the dentist. Yesterday also that tooth ache recurred" I said.
"No way!! I have told her that we will be with her till the show is over. She should not feel that we did not support her in a place like Dubai where she is knows no one"
"Come on darling.. she has a show organized here, she must know someone to do that" I tried to find ways to avoid the show.
"No way.. she is not of that sort.. I have told her we will be there, and that’s it." My wife indicated that the discussion is closed.
The show was the talk of the town. Somehow my colleagues came to know that I am close to the organizers and approached me for passes. When requests for passes reached a dozen, I put it to my wife.
"No way… what do you think? The show is already sold out. If they want to buy tickets, I can go out of the way and help them" was the reply!
The day of the show arrived. Believe me, the breakfast, lunch and dinner- everything was ready on the dining table by 8 AM in the morning!
"Send the children to school. I need to go to the beautician" She told and went off like a rocket at 8 .05 AM! I prepared the children for the school. As I was about to drop them at the school bus stand I told them "May be I will be late to pick you up… you better come by school bus"
"Don’t worry. Mama has told us to come by bus and get down at Rahul’s place" told my son. So everything is planned- I told myself.
I was late to office.
"The fashion show preparations are too hectic? I heard three bollywood actresses are participating" commented a colleague.
"I do not have any idea" I told him.
"Come on, don’t act too ignorant. That designer lady took your wife’s name and thanked her at the press conference" This was news to me!
"May be… I was not aware. They were best friends in college" I tried to evade further questions.
One thing that helped me in this hype was that I could get out of office with ease at 4pm.
All I need to tell my manager was two words – "Fashion show"
"I have a ticket… I will see you there" smiled my manager.
The show was to start at 6pm. My wife wanted to be there by 5pm itself. I reached home by 4:30 pm. I saw my wife still busy stitching some thing.
"What happened?" I asked.
She showed me a heap of dress. All those were the ones designed by her designer friend but none fits her now. "I wanted to wear something designed by her" she retorted.
"But these were stitched ten years ago or more ..Naturally won’t fit now… why you want those old ones? Wear something new.." I told with all the seriousness.. Gone are those days when I would never miss an opportunity to tease her for each additional kilogram she had put on.
"She may feel bad if I do not wear a dress designed by her… that’s why I am altering this to make it a little loose here" she showed the dress.
By the best efforts, she could make it loose by two inches, and that will no way solve the problem I thought, but did not venture to make that comment.
"It’s already 5:30pm and you want to be there by 6pm" I reminded her.
"Change your dress, I will be there in a minute" she told and went in.
The suit I wore on my marriage was waiting there. I hardly wore this after that; may be a dozen times. It was as good as new but I had grown up everywhere! The trouser simply refused to take my tummy inside.
"This is not fitting" I told at the top of my voice.
"Bring it here, I will open it and increase the waist" told my wife, I took the trouser to her.
She was swift in deed. "Iron this area and get ready I will be ready in flat sixty seconds"
I switched on the iron box. Anyway it will take a few minutes to get hot – How about trying the trouser out now, I thought.
Oops.. still it wasn’t big enough to allow me to put the hooks, but it is so close that I could get the idea that it needs to be increased further by about three inches.
"This waist size is also not sufficient" I told.
"There is no further room.. try a big breath out and pull your stomach in" came the reply.
I tried the same… I got the hook in place but could not breathe any further!
As I was desperately trying to unhook, the hook came off! And, this is not the time I will ask her to stitch the hook and invite trouble…!
"It doesn’t fit.. I will put on the new dress your dad gave me last winter "I told
My trick worked. Any other dress she would not have agreed; how she can say no to the gift from her dad?
"That’s OK, put on that jacket my brother gave" she suggested.
"That is too heavy" I complained.
"You don’t understand.. everybody looks fashionable there. Only you there will be dressed like a joker" pat came the reply.
I kept quiet.
One more thing she remembered something suddenly. "If somebody asks you questions like ‘what does fashion mean to you?’ do not give some dumb answers in front of the camera; remember three I’s: idea, imagination and individuality" or three C’s – clothes, colors and creativity"
We reached the hall, which was almost full. My wife’s friend was right at the centre there. "Oh… you still have this dress?" She recognized my wife’s dress straightaway! There went a big smile and we went to the guided seats. It seemed like first three rows were for the VVIP and we were counted in that category!
I had heard about such shows. I had seen some of them on TV as well; but this one was live! Thirty six, twenty four, thirty six ? all were looking multiples of twelve to me!
"Do not stare at the girls throughout from one end to the other end of the ramp. Just look at them once and that’s it" whispered my wife in my ears. I was disappointed but did not show it.
The show began. Models started to come on the ramp; it was royal catwalk to lovely music. As soon as each girl finished her walk there were claps all around. My wife would bend sideways on to me and tell me "that design was very nice"
After the turn of three or four girls, my wife suddenly stopped bending on to me. There was no comment on the design. She was not clapping as well! It surprised me. Still I kept quiet- may be she did not like the designs or she did not like the way I looked at the girls? She was tense. She sat like a stone without movements… no smiles, no action. I was shocked she insisted that we should attend the show and she is tense when I look at those girls!
"What is the problem?" I bent over her and asked her.
"Come closer.." she said. She will put stricter restrictions on my bird watching I thought. I leaned a little more.
"My top is torn" she told almost in a frightened voice.
"Where? when?" I started to look for it right then.
"Now.. do not make it obvious for everybody" came the firm request.
"What to do now?" she asked me.
"We will go home" I suggested.
"I can’t even get up. It is torn all the way along the old stitch" she said in a feeble voice
"I will go home and get something else" that was the best I could think of.
"Not much time available..Think of something else" She pleaded.
"Take this jacket..cover it up" I do not know from where I got this suggestion.
My wife sighed in relief. "That’s great". I started to remove my jacket.
"Slowly.. nobody should come to know. Take it off casually, hand it over to me majestically, I will wear it slowly so that nobody gets any hint" told my wife. I took five minutes take the jacket off and my wife took another five minutes to put it on.
"God alone saved me from such a big embarrassment" exclaimed my wife.
The show ended. Believe me; we did not see what happened in the show apart from the first few models. On our way out, I met my manager. "It was nice, but paying that money, I was expecting to see a wardrobe malfunction" my manager said laughing.
"In fact there was one, but the lady was quick to cover it up. So it went unnoticed" I told him, winking at my wife.
"Really? You noticed?" He seemed unfortunate that he missed out and jealous that only I had noticed!
"Even I didn’t see.. she told me" I said looking at my wife while she was controlling her laughter.
About the Author:
Author: Gopinath Rao- UAE