Monday, May 10, 2010

It's CLAT time of the year again!

The only good thing CLAT has done is that it has given an easy acronym for the law school entrance exam. Anyway, yesterday was CLAT, and Law School was apparently a center for over 700 students (they had seated people in the corridors of Training Center even!).

As I stepped out of my room after lunch to head to Nags, I knew that CLAT was happening, but somehow it didn't occur to me that there would be people all around. Seeing all the students who had come to write it, accompanied by their parents, and in some cases siblings and grandparents, caught me quite off-guard. And it was a little moving for me as well. For one, it was the last CLAT I'd witness being given in Law School, as a student of this institution. And it reminded me of my law school entrance exam. Of all the prep, of the final exam date, the morning before the exam, the light lunch I had before going for it, when I went with my parents to the RK Puram, Delhi center, the duration of the exam that flew by, meeting my parents who were waiting outside, going back home with a feeling of apprehension and relief that it was over. To use the cliche, it seems like it was just yesterday, and yet it feels like another life time.

When I saw the many many parents waiting in the shamiana, outside Acad, under trees, at Chetta, in Nags, I was reminded of how dutifully both my parents had accompanied me to the entrance exams, how worried they used to be, the countless discussions I had had with them about alternate career and backup options if Law School didn't work out. I felt a great deal of longing for those simpler times, and a flood of affection for my parents, who had patiently waited for me after coaching classes, picnics, entrance exams and what not. And then, from nowhere, a totally unexpected thought hit me. That in 25-odd years, I would be taking my child to his/her entrance exam, waiting in the sun with a soft drink while s/he toiled over the paper, hugging him/her when s/he came out and frantically discussed how the paper was, his/her hopes and fears. I am not really sure why this thought of a distant future came to me, and I am not really sure how I feel about even thinking it. But it certainly stopped me in my tracks and made me look at all those waiting parents once more.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I'm Not a Girl...

First of all, apologies for the extremely bad choice of title. For the cliché, or if it misled you into thinking this post was about, err, something else. I just couldn’t think of anything else to title it.

Continuing in the general flavor of reminiscing over the past, I started wondering yesterday as I was spraying on perfume before going out when it was that I made a switch from deodorants to perfumes. And that led me to think about the larger question of when I started becoming an adult, or rather, a woman. I can’t remember exactly when the transition happened. But I can think of some things that very slowly but perceptibly changed.
So the deo-perfume thing is one of them. I don’t know when it became childish in my head to use deo (Suresh, you’re a child only, so it’s okay), and it became important to use good brands of perfume. And of course, it became necessary to smell good all the time. I don’t know if, like most other things in this blog post, I have inherited this from my mother- but yeah, she is a fan of the perfume, and I have been exposed to what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ perfume brands are, how to apply them, how having a signature fragrance is cool etc.  from my very childhood. But I never really paid attention to any of that, it seemed too uncool and adult- why would you want a horribly expensive perfume when a deo did the job just as well? But at some point in the last 2-3 years, I discarded the deo, and moved on to the perfume, for to my mind, there was a difference which was important to me; and the change seemed so natural and seemless, I sometimes still marvel at it.

Another rather womanly attribute that I seem to have acquired with time is a love and appreciation for clothes. I most certainly had none till about 4-5 years ago, when going shopping for clothes bored me to no end, and was something I always tried to get out of. After this new me took over, however, colours, designs, fabrics, cuts, and yes- finishes, seem to almost speak out to me from the clothes. And I have truly started loving them; I enjoy just looking at them whether in real life or in magazines, trying them on, fantasizing about how I’ll look in them, mentally matching outfits- in all honesty, almost obsessing over them. And believe me, any creature who talked like this about clothes would’ve made me puke 5 years ago. My parents and brother are still reeling from the shock (my mother, pleasantly, of course- she absolutely loves clothes- so there, another character trait which is both woman and mother), people who remember who I was half a decade ago ask me when I developed this new interest , and frankly I can’t help be astounded myself. But well, it did happen. Now I can watch hours and hours of Gossip Girl just to look at the clothes.

In the specific area of clothes, I would like to draw you attention to one item in particular- jeans. When, I ask you, did the colour and fit and style of jeans become important?! Jeans used to be just jeans- you buy them keeping in mind your waist size, the general length, try them on once just to make sure they fit okay, and wear them for the rest of your life without caring what goes with them. But now, the style of the jeans, the fit, the cut, the fall, even the colour, have become so important to me, it is ridiculous. When did denims start affecting how fat your thighs looked or how your hips shaped out? More importantly, when did it matter? I used to read in some shady women’s magazines (which, by the way, I now take great interest in, admittedly, mostly for the clothes) about what cut which celebrity was wearing, how it was the in-thing for the season, what heels it ought to be paired with- and I used to be shocked as to why jeans were made such an object of fashion, when they were supposed to be for comfort only. Now I am just as shocked to note that that’s exactly how I think.

Another thing to do with jeans used to be that when the bottom part of the jeans dragged endlessly on the floor, it would tear. And no one really cared about that- it was cool to not care, to not even notice. Only person who used to notice it would be my mother. I still remember a time when she got the torn part of 3 pairs of my jeans chopped off so that I could look like I belonged to a decent family. Of course, I refused to ever touch those jeans again because they looked so ‘artificial’ and ‘properly trimmed’- not at all how jeans ought to look. Recently, I pointed out to a friend how shabby he looked in the pair of jeans he was wearing because the bottom part was torn and dragged on the floor in an untidy fashion, and that I would not go to a good restaurant with him looking like that. It was only after the words were out of my mouth that I was utterly alarmed. I was turning into my mother. And I was turning into one of those ‘artificial’-jeans-appreciating women. But I can’t help it- it just bother me to no end now if my jeans are torn.

These signs of ageing don’t stop just here- I worry about my skin and use creams diligently; I could go for weeks without caring whether my eyebrows were shaped or not- now, even a little growth out of the way has me running to the parlour; the chipping of a nail creases my brow somewhat; bags are an accessory, not just a utility item; fake jewellery is awesome on occasion when it looks good with what I am wearing, but I just can’t bring myself to put on earrings to match my every outfit everyday, as I used to with great fervor till 3 years ago (I groan as I write this because I am reminded of how fake jewellery was yet another thing my mom used to tell me not to wear).Don’t get me wrong- casual is still very important. Only, now it has to be carefully worked on, and made to be casual-yet-elegant or something. And being well turned out, smelling good, taking my time to work on myself as opposed to simply rushing to a place puffing and panting- all these things have just become oddly important.

And I just can’t put my finger on how and why these transitions happened- how and why I went from being this awesomely cool girl who didn’t give a damn about anything, and thought it cool to not care, to being this pruning, slightly fussy woman of just the variety that girl-me would have laughed about and criticized. And more pertinently, on how this change came so naturally, and how I am so very comfortable in this skin now, only faintly amused by the person I used to be, but not having any longing or nostalgia for those careless ways.