I have come to the conclusion that I would rather undergo a root canal treatment than to go shopping with my teenage daughter.
She felt, as always, that she had nothing to wear for the informal farewell of her class and wanted me to accompany her for the selection. All my suggestions of the suitable clothes that she already possessed including a brand new black dress that she had purchased just the previous month met with immediate disdain. I was afraid that her scoffing would make me question my inherent sense of style. We both drove down to the nearest shopping mall.
We walked by the entire stretch of the street with shops screeching discounts and offers till she found the exclusive shop that was ‘The place to shop’ as suggested by her ‘well-informed peer gurus’.
She wasn’t sure if she needed to go in for a skirt, a long dress or go for Indian wear.
“Browse through all three and choose what you like best!” was my first suggestion.
She was aghast. “I would stick out like a sore thumb if others are dressed differently…. I will find out what others are planning! ” She whipped out her mobile and Whatsapped others.
I wisely shut myself up before the words; “You should have done this yesterday,” escaped my mouth.
Time slipped by as she waited for the reply and she desultorily saw clothes from each rack. She was back after some time with a more severe scowl.
“What happened?’ was my tentative query.
“None of them are sure! I think they are purposely keeping me out of the loop.”
“Why would they?” I consoled her and then tried again, “Choose a dress, you don’t have,” Holding up a skirt for her, “this yellow one looks nice”
“It will make me look like a new born chick,” she scoffed.
I wanted to remind her that a person who is always mad like a wet hen deserves no better! Holding on to my temper, I tried again.
“What about this?” holding up a beautiful cranberry shaded dress.
“Oh, no,” she shrieked, “it will look like I have recovered from a bout of measles.”
The next half an hour appeared to be never ending, “This dress makes me look fat and that one makes my legs appear too thin!”
It made me wonder how a person can be both fat and thin at the same time. I was foolish enough to ask her for the explanation and she looked at me pityingly and said that she felt that it MADE her look fat!
“Yes, but how can something make you look fat when you are not?” I was fast losing my patience and I felt one need not be an Einstein to come to that conclusion. But it appeared that I was wrong, as always.
“I am not thin, look,” she said gesturing at an anorexic girl walking by. I was immediately transported to Somalia or wherever it was, where there was acute famine. I made the mistake of saying she was too thin!
“She is not! She is perfect and I am fat!” Unconsciously I sucked in my tummy, which had hitherto not affected me and wondered what my daughter must be thinking about me ….. Obese? Bloated?
She pointed out to a peach and cream skimpy affair and asked me my opinion.
“Well…nice,” I told her cautiously, “but where is the rest of it?”
The sales assistant snickered. My daughter was mortified.
“This is the entire dress,” she hissed.
By now my tired brain wanted a cup of tea and my poor feet wanted a rest. I looked skeptically at a delicate affair which seems to be a seat of some sort and with great trepidation seated myself on it and told my daughter that she can come back with her choice, if she made any.
After almost an hour she came back with a far more cheerful mood and said, “I think that the new black dress that I had purchased last month is very suitable… and I have beautiful footwear and other accessories for it too!”
I tried hard to control but I simply couldn’t and my mean bone spoke up, “What if you wake up fat tomorrow?”
Her scowl was back!