Last evening I had to avail the service of my driver to attend a Toastmaster’s meeting. His first words upon me entering the car were, “Mashallah, make-up, aaa!” As is my wont, I blurted, “So what the heck…” when I heard him ask, “Why don’t you go to work dressed like this?”
If the same point made by many, several times over, warranties your attention, then he deserved my dignified silence.
My mom was the first to say this more than a decade back… “Put on something nice.” My husband has wondered aloud [I’ve lost count]… “You shop like crazy, but when you go to work, it’s the same tattered ones. Why are you collecting all these for?”
A senior acquaintance once sat me down, when I complained that I was over-looked for an internal promotion. “Why do you wear these worn-out jeans to work? And you go in these flats!! Dress smart. When you walk in, people should turn their heads towards you.” I’m yet to figure out the connection between dress and promotion, though.
In my first job [as a CSR at a logistics firm], my colleague, who later became a good friend, had all heads turning towards her each time she walked out of the cubicle. There were rumours of warehouse operators fined for misplacing and damaging cartons while they ogled at her from atop their cranes. She was always in chiffon, halter-neck & strapless, knee-length dresses accessoried with 5-inch-and-above stilettos and her basic two-piece inner.
Since I left her to join the media industry, I’ve been editing others’ words to keep the wolf off my door. A desk job that requires me to use only my upper compartment. The most I interact is when I ring up reporters – who go out into the world meeting, greeting, collecting stories – to check on facts. Else, I’m tapping away at my keyboard 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, editing and re-writing articles for people to read, ignore, appreciate or criticize, in no particular order.
I’m invisible. So how does it matter, if I’m in my birthday suit earning my living. Journalists are one casual breed! Also, my workplace is a freezer. My first task every morning is to top myself up in multiple layers of winter clothing even before I log in.
|My work station, with three pieces of winter clothing on the chair
Well, I believe in being presentable. But I’m a strict minimalist. Hence, I adorn comfort and decency with a touch of Issey Miyake. I can’t have cat paws on print-outs and stained coffee mugs on my desk. Clutter and dirt stain the brain – whose clarity is the PIN for my ATM.
I salute women who are productive sitting squeezed in hip-ripping skirts, breathing through bosom-gaping tops, balancing atop ladder-like shoes, managing to keep their tresses off their eyes while checking files. Not me!
“That’s dressing smart, mama,” exclaimed my pre-teen daughter.
“I’m not ubiquitous as the furniture, either, else the cleaner would have dusted me,” I said, to which she replied… “Mama, every morning, after you so-call dress-up [with her four fingers curling in air], why don’t you take a selfie and post on FB? When you get yucky comments may be you’ll change your mind.”
I remember my childhood days. Whenever mom made anything special, she would offer the first piece to Ganesh [The Hindu elephant-deity] and only then was the dish open to the family.
Today, Lord Ganesha has rivals in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…
I wonder how obsessive can people get to post every activity of theirs… post the vegetable before they cut; the food before they eat; the pajama before they pull it up; the child’s first nappy…
Well, I’m happy the way I dress as long as my work speaks louder!