Every time I walk inside Kolkata’s New Market, I feel like Alice in wonderland. There are bags, shoes, junk jewelries, food and most importantly an exhibition of funky under garments. Here are these men standing out with their blushes, bluntness and brutish looks, selling brassieres, camisoles, boy-shots, stockings of unimaginable colours, materials and patterns.
With every visit, I stalk them, I have this acute desire to grab those cute creations and cuddle them to my heart's content. But till this date I have been too shy, lazy and in-doubt about buying those inexpensive cups of desire and I blame it on the elitist shopaholic gene that dominates me. My father had induced in me the idea of expensive clothes being best for our body and my mother and sister too believe in the same faith.
A year back on one such shopping spree, when I was dazzled by the weapons of mass destruction upturned, hanging and giggling at twilight, my sister pulled me inside one of the undergarments showroom. Every other boring and super-expensive product was available there. As we stepped in, we found the showroom packed, salesgirls were busy opening boxes and justifying the price, the quality and explaining the benefit of their products.
My sister left me to find the absolute necessities on her list made back in home. Soon a salesgirl found me and I was already asking for black-bras in all designs and without back hooks, if possible. To this demand she gave me a look that suggested I was borderline insane, only sport-bras came without back hooks. While she busied herself with pulling down boxes, a really beautiful mother-daughter duo stood beside me. They reminded me of mother and daughter from clinic plus ads. In few moments I could totally understand the reason why they were standing beside me.
Obvious reason was they too wanted undergarments, but the main reason was the girl was a pre-teen cycling on puberty and her mom had bought her to buy her trainer bra. The girl reminded me of a younger me, she was grumpy and really not communicating with her mother. It was written on her face that she was against the idea of wearing a bra be it trainer or not. My mom too had dragged me to the shop, to buy my first bra, I was fourteen and was desperately trying to pass camisoles as my bestfriend. So this pre-teen was all grumpy and I could totally connect to her thoughts without even looking in her marble eyes. The salesgirl was showing her all the boring colours that existed in the world.
Though in general I stick to the universal colour black, I have a personal hatred towards white brassiers. I find them vulgar, a colourless creation which makes me feel vulnerable! When the salesgirl popped up a white trainer bra I could see the child pop a vein on her forehead. Her gorgeous mother was too, a little in a pinch. “Thode khush karne walle colours dikhaye na” (Show some happy colours) she kept repeating. But that salesgirl was showing them lacy, cotton, semi-cotton bras but all in white and bloody off-white!
My sister on other hand was collecting a rainbow of undergarments and my salesgirl was unable to find me a single 34b, because it was such a common size that, demand curve was always higher than supply curve. Now the mother had started asking for pretty coloured boy-shots and I could see the girl taking an interest. The woman was really a friendly and outspoken mom, I never found my mother actually calling undies cute out loud. Here was this diva like mom almost yelling in excitement “LOOK! Isn’t that pretty, you love pink beta! We have orange and look red too” the child was little embarrassed. Meanwhile my salesgirl was trying to shove me with 32c and 36a. I wanted to snap her neck, she wanted to me squeeze into a smaller size and next moment make my lovely bounty shag in a sack. The child lost her interest and flared up again when a white sports-bra was placed on the counter and the salesgirl praising that hideous thing.
|trust me they were pretty, my art is crappy...|
The teen and me we both wanted to kill our salesgirls. Her mother was almost convinced by theirs’s that this was the perfect bra for the child. So called made of cotton, white, full-busted with elastic bands, as soon as my eyes absorbed the image, my own anger against the world from my fourteen-year-old self burst forth. “Don’t buy that, that’s a terrible beginners bra” I spoke. Both salesgirls were glaring at me now.
That white devil came with elastic that clung to the skin, the clothe never absorbed sweat or let air pass, the bands never loosened up, there were no adjustment options nor did it stop suffocating after using it for three weeks and tortured the developing bounty. The worst part of it was the elastic which came with semi-circular pattern that cut through the delicate skin under the bounty. The small cups never fitted well either! It was perfect tool to make a puberty stricken person suffer more and make them go crazy. Unsurprisingly one was left with rashes for days. I spoke about each and every flaw that particular hazardous creation had. The child was so happy that I proved all her fears true and the salesgirls really wanted to shoot me down. I had to save the pre-teen because my mom was convinced that this bra was ‘the one’ for me. I suffered terribly with it for a month.
Out of the blue my salesgirl suddenly found a 34b black, forced it in my hand. “Madame please, eta pore dekhun trial roome” (Please try this on in the trial room) she almost threatened me. Meanwhile the elder shopaholic was back and looking at me and was wondering why was I holding one bra. “You are advising that I should not buy this one for her?” the beautiful mother asked. “I am requesting, don’t buy that, go with something less restricting and this white one bites, trust me my mom bought it once, I had rashes for days” I smiled. The woman understood only to turn around at the salesgirl who was back to box hunting fiercely.
After being in queue for a while, I was finally trying my 34b inside the trial room. It was not fitting right, when I re-checked the tag, the salesgirl was trying to pass me a 34c. Size matters the most to me, I was back to my position and glaring holes at the salesgirl. My sister was there doing her calculation, the mother-duo were gone when I looked around. “Yup they left and they thanked you, they found pretty trainers while you were trying yours” my sister informed. “Good, I saved two innocent babies from an abusive relationship” I almost yelled out at my salesgirl. “That didn’t fit right?” my sister asked waving the empty 34c box at me and I nodded.
“Well if you are not buying any from here, we might look at the ones they are selling out on the road for you” though we laughed and walked past the vendors that evening, till this day I haven’t bought those pretty colourful upturn cups on the road. One day I shall stuff my closet with colourful bras, till then I have to stick to 34b black beauties.
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thanking you to bear with me