AFOR | Column | Asia Samachar | 18 April 2015
How often have you ladies been cornered in the gurdwara by some neighbourhood aunty or third cousin who almost always begins the conversation with a comment on your weight gain/loss followed by an ‘observation’ that you’re wearing the same suit you wore at the function held at some mutual friend’s home three weeks ago? I know I’m not alone here.
I’m always dumbfounded as to how to continue the conversation from there. Here are some of the more stellar exchanges in my experience.
1) Aunty: You’re wearing the same suit you wore at the last program.
Me: Oh, am I? Well, it’s one of my favourites.
Aunty: I can see that. The colour is fading. Wasn’t the design originally in a darker blue?
Me: Oh yes I think it might have been.
Aunty: I’m sure it was.
Me: You must be right.
2) Aunty: You’re wearing the same suit you wore to my program last week.
Me: Am I?
Aunty: Yes, yes. I clearly remember it.
Me: You have great memory.
I sometimes wonder if these ladies like me at all. Some part of me is convinced that they are deliberately out to get me with what I see as barbed comments. Some other part of me counters that they might not even realise that I find their comments to be deeply offensive. After all comments on my weight from almost total strangers do not faze me in the least as the practice is considered as socially acceptable as talking about the weather in Malaysia.
In many cases, the women who engage me in these conversations are repeat offenders hence justifying my sense of irritation (in my head at least). If that’s all they had to say to me, why start a conversation in the first place? Are we so devoid of conversation topics that we must resort to attempting communication through veiled insults? Where is the manual that dictates how many programs must go by before I can repeat the wearing of a suit? And the one lists how worn a suit is allowed to get before it must be disposed of?
Nevertheless, I do commend these women on their memory power. They could probably give some guys at MENSA a good run for their money. They would be better employed letting examination year students in on the secret to their astounding ability.
After some deep contemplation, I have come up with the following list of possible solutions to this problem.
1. Start spending some time in meditation in the hope of becoming more centred and connected to my higher consciousness so that the problem ceases to become a source of annoyance in my life.
2. Take off running from all programs at the end of the ardaas thus enabling avoidance of social interaction.
3. Whip out my trusty smartphone to take pictures of these ladies suits at all programs where I find them in attendance so I can catch them in the act of repeat suit wearing! (Note: This option would require strict adherence to excellent record keeping. When the lady is finally caught in the act, I must be sure not to brandish my phone with its photographic evidence in all its glory as she would then be in on how much her comments really bothered me. This would inevitably result in my total loss of pride.)
4. Admit to an utter repulsion to hand washing my suits. I will follow this up with an inside secret that there might be a suit in my hand wash basket that has been lying there so long I forgot I owned it. The big finish will of course be an admission that the suit serving as the anchor of this conversation is in fact the only suit I own that can be safely tossed in the washing machine.
5. Start a #Iwearthesamesuit3timesinarow movement to increase awareness of the need for reform in ‘socially acceptable conversation’ between women after these programs. (Note: I need to come up with a more catchy # for this option to work)
6. Wear ridiculously garish costume jewellery with my suits to detract attention from them. (Note: I will have to investigate the very likely probability that these women will then begin keeping a log of my costume jewellery instead hence adding salt to my wounds.)
7. Make like a chameleon by mixing and matching dupattay, suit tops, and salwara to confuse my adversaries.
8. Claim to have gotten all my other suits taken in by 2 inches in a desperate bid to force myself to get smaller.
The list could go on but, believe it or not, I do have other concerns that occupy my mind.
This is the maiden column by Afor, short for Anonymous For Obvious Reasons. Let’s see if she gets spotted again, with the same outfit, at the next gurdwara function. We’ll keep you posted!
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]