The Screaming Closet

1

Creak, crack, burst and snap,

Screams my wardrobe, threatening to unwrap,

Numberless clothes stuffed into the bends,

Jeans spurting and tees stuffed into the ends.

“ Is this a garment factory ?” the closet pleads,

“ A shop for your greeds or an auction for proceeds ?

How can one person need so many clothes ?

Even if you wear a dozen, layer and superimpose.”

 

I smile sheepishly and try to reason,

For a woman needs attire for every season,

Western and ethnic, casual and formal,

All necessary, straightforward, and normal,

Work clothes, evening gowns and a night dress,

Scarves and accessories, but nothing excess.

 

“ Hahaha !” the wardrobe cackles in amusement,

“ You are serious and this, is your excusement !

Let me break this down, and make it simple to understand,

How about an impromptu Q and A in this garb(age) wonderland ?”

“ Oh sure, let the war begin,” I retort in reply,

“ I will burn you in this tete-a-tete and silence you into a tongue tie.”

 

“ Let’s start with the tops and tees; how many do you have and how many do you need ?

Coz they never seem to stop and only multiply and breed.”

“ Oh please !

You only tease,

A miscalculated notion,

Always blowing things out of proportion.”

“ True, I have tops of every hue and colour,

But would you rather I dress up pallid and duller,

One needs them in different prints, and fits – slim and loose,

And of course, in every fabric, collar and sleeve length I can choose.”

“ That’s balderdash, and you know it well,

Why do you need twenty-odd purple tops, pray tell ?”

“ As usual, you exaggerate,

They are not twenty, as you narrate,

And not just purple; but mauve, lavender, aubergine and lilac,

So do your homework properly,” I protest in a comeback.

 

“ Well, I may not know the palette a-b-c’s,

But I know you have a hundred tees,

And these you don’t even wear to work,

They lie there, staring, in every corner with a smirk.

And let me not spill the beans,

About your dozens of dresses and blue jeans,

Waiting to be worn on that elusive weekend,

Which you, in bed and torn shorts, most often spend.”

“ Oh my God, you’re funny !” I fake a laugh,

Thinking of an answer and escaping a gaffe.

“ You may joke, my dear, but a day may yet come,

When I can afford a vacation, or a weekend getaway, from my unspent income,

And then I shall wear these clothes proud,

Crop tees and distressed jeans, unbowed.

This, my lovely, is what I recommend,

Stock up on things that are in trend,

For you never know when you’ll find,

Those jeans – tattered, embroidered and boyfriend, ever redesigned.

And how do you know I might not go on a date ?

When that midnight blue dress I bought yesterday, would look great,

Or indulge in a trip to the park in that floral skirt,

Which, filtered into an Instagram pic, would never hurt.”

 

“ You are the queen of excuses, I bow in respect,

An amiable foe, in every aspect.

But let us now digress,

Look in the ethnic corner and reason a guess,

Why, after so many tops and trousers, do you want ?

These kurtas, kurtis and suits to flaunt,

And don’t even get me started on the bottoms,

Leggings, palazzos, pants and salwars in viscose and cottons.”

I close my eyes as I try to compose,

An argument to counter and propose,

“ Surely, you can’t only wear foreign brands,

And need to support the local artists in our lands,

Look a little desi, once in a while,

Wear a bindi with a coy smile.

And have you noticed, that Indian clothes make you look mature,

Taken more seriously at work, that’s for sure !

Do you think in western clothes I’d be heading,

To the family friend’s daughter’s wedding ?

Or to a prayer, meditation, bhajan or some such meeting,

In a tank top or shorts with a Namaste greeting ?”

 

As I see my wardrobe begin to lose ground,

And find my confidence rebound,

“ What’s with your matching obsession ?” I hear her squeak,

“ Matching coats, matching scarves and matching bags,” she speaks with tongue in cheek.

“ Well, with the garments come accessories,

And with them, I must fill my treasuries.

Wearing a black coat every time wouldn’t be proper,

For I’d dare not be known as a miserly shopper,

Nor would a brown bag go with every dress,

Not if you wear to impress.”

 

“ Can I ask you something,” the closet lifts up her head one last time,

“ Why am I filled with clothes, of all conceivable sizes of the size chart paradigm ?”

“ Oh you innocent fool !

I don’t mean to ridicule,

You know nothing of these clothes’ history,

And hence the perplexing mystery.

You see, Small are the clothes I wore in college,

And that they inspire you to lose weight, is common knowledge,

Medium are the clothes that carried me in masters,

And the best size I could dream to reach, claim the forecasters,

Large was the size I was, a few months back,

And I promise to reclaim it before you come up with a wisecrack,

Extra large is to accommodate the present girth,

And is flowy and comfortable, for all it’s worth.”

 

“ O Khaleesi, I cannot win this war !

There is truly, nothing, you can’t answer for,

And that I’m cramped for your need,

Is something I’m willing to concede,

But don’t you fret or stress,

And let not the sprees take a recess,

For I’m sure that in your house, you’ll find,

A family member’s closet, to raid, you mastermind,

And none, may dare, counter your claim,

You, the greatest guru of this game !”

A difficult woman

3

 

Haven’t you heard about the difficult woman ?

That eccentric and finicky human,

The one you have to deal with at work,

Bossing around with a frown and a smirk,

For she has such quintessential traits,

And for you, reader, let me lay those straight.

 

If she is a team leader and seems exacting,

She is fussy and overreacting,

A crazy and hyper human,

She is, a difficult woman.

 

If she loses her temper at the job,

She is hot-blooded and a snob,

And she being a woman, it’s probably her raging hormones at work,

Menopause, PMS, or something to do with her cycles, that she is such a jerk,

A crazy and hyper human,

She is, a difficult woman.

 

If she strives for perfection,

And encourages others in the same direction,

She may think that she wanted to give it her best shot,

But she was over-demanding and impossible, is what we thought,

Oh dear, that crazy and hyper human,

How does she manage to be a difficult woman ?

 

If she does things in a systematic way,

And doesn’t take any short cuts come what may,

She is a pain in the butt exasperating,

And in no uncertain terms, irritating and frustrating.

If sloppiness at work she doesn’t permit,

And doesn’t take any lame excuses or bullshit,

She is the dirt of the ditch,

In the mildest of words, a nasty witch.

A crazy and hyper human,

She is, a difficult woman.

 

If she works long hours and expects dedication,

Diligence at work, and no procrastination,

“ No wonder she’s single !”, comes the cognition,

For her personal life, the most logical explanation.

If she seems impatient, and ‘loses it’, once in a while,

Furrows her brows, looks annoyed or drops the smile,

The reason is most definitely, a spousal strife,

And she is, without doubt, ‘frustrated’ in her personal life.

Oh that crazy and hyper human,

She is, most certainly, a difficult woman.

 

If she gives orders, she throws her weight,

If she questions an order, she is insubordinate.

Belligerent and argumentative, if she raises a concern,

Obstinate and headstrong, if she doesn’t back down in an argument and turn.

She is a crazy and hyper human,

Alas, a difficult woman !

 

If she tries to show her mettle, in a work ‘not meant for the ladies,’

Well, she is odd and peculiar, coz she should be making babies.

Dresses up and she has put on airs,

Dresses down and she needs repairs.

Oh that short fused, overreacting, stubborn human,

She is, such a difficult woman !

Metro Womaniya

metro

 

Beware the female, on the Delhi metro scourging,

In the ladies compartment, surging,

In pursuit of a glimpse of an empty space,

Attacking at a frantic pace,

In an already packed coach,

She’d aim for that wedge to encroach,

Between two women, sitting together side to side,

And head straight towards the mark, glue eyed,

Like a missile launching towards its target,

On a blazing mission, not for the faint hearted.

 

She’d trap you with an ishaara, a wave of hand,

Urging you to move away, in the direction fanned,

No please or thank you, just a gaze, chilly and still,

Hinting, that move you have to, and move you will.

And if you pretend, to suddenly acquire a squint, and look the other way,

Or act dumb, and not understand what she would say,

Pat comes the nudge, and the shove, and the retort,

“ Arey, adjust kar lo na !” she bellows like a fiery sport.

 

If you’d be so lucky, and be a little fat,

Well my dear, you have an upper hand in the combat,

For the predator would tend to look the other way,

And direct her effort towards the slimmer, frailer prey,

Jabbing and bulldozing the hapless commuter,

Ambushing her victim, the victorious sharpshooter.

 

What I can’t seem to discern,

Is that for all the trouble, and the heartburn,

All that is achieved, is to park half an arse,

Uncomfortably lodged in that space sparse,

Which is not pleasant, given the length and breadth of it all,

Vexing the co-passengers, and which is more, boosting self’s cholesterol.

And oddly enough, to manage to get a ‘seat,’

In this modus operandi, is often considered a ‘triumphant feat,’

No wonder then, that I am awed by this ‘lady like’ resilience,

And the metro trips give me a ‘Chak De’ experience.

Wondering frantically in my head,

Glancing at that superwoman with dread,

“Iska pair left ki taraf muda hai, yeh left mudegi,”

“Par iska face to right ki taraf hai, yeh right chalegi,”

“Lekin iske haath meri aur bade hain, ai khudaa,”

“Yeh to seedha shot legi, hai rabbaa mainu bachaa !”

 

So fear the womaniya in the metro,

She may seem feeble, with mellowness aglow,

But give her, in the train, an inch of free territory,

And you’ll see her unmasked, preparatory and predatory,

As she scorns at you with disdain,

Looking contemptuously, at the game slain,

Her thoughts screaming, “ Look sharp. Make haste.”

“ Let not, a nanometer of bench space go waste !”