Festival season blues

It’s the festival season and we all know what that means. No, not endless calories consumed in the form of evil, ghee-soaked sweets and savouries. Well, ok, that too. But it also is the time of the year when we get to play dress up, pulling out those sleeping-in-the-cupboard wedding saris or showing off new buys as we attend various get-togethers.

The fun, you assume, has just doubled now that you have a little girl. By the time your baby is two or three years old, your shelves are probably groaning under the weight of all the gifts she’s received since her first birthday — all those traditional dresses (you even get mini pre-stitched saris… everyone say ‘awwww!’), all those little baubles and trinkets, just waiting to be worn! You can’t wait to try them all out on her, and the festival season seems like the perfect time. Nothing, after all, is cuter than a munchkin all dressed up in a pavadai or a lehenga with her little belly showing. Add on pretty flowers in the hair, some colourful bangles, bright bindis and some tinkling anklets… what an adorable picture, right?

In your head, maybe. Unfortunately, in real life, when dealing with your toddler and not with the perfectly-mannered mannequin of your daydreams, things unravel rather fast. Some dresses are just flat out rejected — discarded without even a trial — no matter how pretty or how lovingly selected. Others are partially rejected. This is somehow even worse than the first case. Then you never had any hope, not after the “NO!” sounded, and the dress was flung across the room to fall in a sad-looking heap on the floor (which might or might not be subsequently jumped upon). But in this case, she raises your hopes by allowing you to put on the skirt of the pavadai set and even cooing, ‘So preeeetty!’, and then dashes them cruelly to the ground by simply refusing to wear the blouse (if you happen to see a little girl with a preeeetty pavadai and a boyish T-shirt on top, you’ll know why).

Let’s say that by cajoling and negotiating and bribing (“You’ll look like a princess!” “I’ll buy you a lollipop!” “You’ll be a princess with a lollipop!”) you actually get her to wear the dress in question. Then prepare yourself for the monumental task of accessorising (since you’re still clinging stubbornly to that image of your dream). Some kids refuse any and all hair ornaments — shiny clips and cheerful hairbands alike — and don’t even think about getting any flowers on there. Others will pull off the bindis, bangles, necklaces or anklets as quickly as you get them on. By the time you actually reach the function, your backseat will be littered with bangles and one anklet will be lost, and bindis will be found stuck on all available surfaces (including on your handbag and your sari) except for the child’s forehead.

And so you arrive red-faced and sweaty to the get-together, toddler in tow. It doesn’t help that other moms seem to have had considerably more success dressing their kids. But then, you realise, everyone is cooing over your little girl anyway. It doesn’t really matter if there’s only one anklet tinkling as she runs about or that the flowers meant for her hair lie in pieces on the floor. It doesn’t matter that she’s not wearing the matching dupatta for her ghagra-choli or that her bindi is dangling off the end of your pallu. It doesn’t even matter that she wants to take the entire outfit off half-an-hour later. Your munchkin looks adorable any which way. More importantly, she’s having the time of her life showing off her outfit (what remains of it), checking out golu dolls and decorations, tasting new savouries (and spitting them out), and running around with friends. That, after all, is the stuff festivals — and memories — are made of.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 6:19:42 AM |

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