“This winter, I will wear Salwar-Kameez. For the first time in my life! No matter what! The fabric is going to be cotswool in earth colours. I know the design exactly and I have finalized a tailor-master from Thakur Bari Road, Patna.
I have waited to get into the comfort dress for almost 10 years. In the beginning, my husband stopped me from wearing it for being “too modern”. Later, I avoided it myself for the fear of being judged as a “fashionable single mother“, which in that time and place was akin to being called “characterless.” As a result, till today I have been wearing crisply pleated, synthetic sarees.
I regret caring so much about society’s approval of my choices. With time, I found the courage to ask my husband to leave and start my career as a beautician. However, I couldn’t find enough of it to dress as I wanted. Starting a career and being a single mother were already giving me sleepless nights. I did not want additional challenges such as people questioning my dignity because of my clothing or profession. I did whatever it took to keep life simple; right from dressing by socially-accepted norms to returning home before 9 pm. I had to choose my battles wisely.
Now that my 19-year-old son has begun college, I feel relieved of my role as the perfect mother figure. I am not concerned about log kya kahenge anymore. Many of my clients are free-spirited women. They often share their stories with me. Many of them battled tough challenges yet have not given up their choice in food, travel or dressing up. I find them inspiring.
I can’t wait for winter to see my photo in Salwar-Kameez on Bindi Bottoms.”