Today, I found myself going to a mall…twice…to the same mall.
The first time was because Buttmunch, an astonishingly beautiful Europen (Luca) and I decided we need to go to the food court (dubbed “food chowk”) for lunch. Buttmunch always throws on some Indian garb (kurthas) when leaving the hostel premises, Luca was in a t-shirt and shorts…and I in lazy touristy white loose flowing COMFORTABLE pants and a shirt (okay, so maybe they’re not THAT comfortable, I’m super excited about being able to squeeze into my skinny sister’s pants…but walking around sucking my tummy in the whole day is HARD WORK). We weren’t exactly our dressed up best…but we happily went and indulged in delicious (but uber greasy) Indian food. I’m pretty sure most of the grease from what I eat travels to my face and settles into a nice layer of shiiiiiiiiine…and, it doesn’t help with my “maybe lose weight in India plan”(…in fact…if anything Mission: Get Ridiculously Dark Without Trying will probably be a successful mission and should be renamed “get ridiculously dark without trying ….and fat too”), and I, who for most of my life, have been pimple free now can now boast a lovely growing colony that is settling on my forehead. (I’ll be sure to give you population updates…I think the big red one is def going to be mayor).
ANYWAYS…there are a few things about this mall I want to point out….it has security… and that’s a good thing, BUT…this place had those walk though detector things that are in airports… multiple security check points (WHHHHY?!!!)…it was just the oddest thing. This mall was HUGE…and had so much luxury. There were cars in the large hallways, there were so many brand name stores with EXPENSIVE products, there was even a mini fashion show for polo happening (I’d feel like such a douche walking on a temporary run way in a mall). I passed a Haggan Daz ice cream place (which made me think of and miss the mother of my ex SO much cuz she’d buy my favorite flavor and leave it in the fridge for me). Anyways, the contrast between this high end mall with its fountains outside and air conditioned inside and the hot outside filled with crippled men with small children and scantily clad street urchins is mind blowing. I felt guilty for denying a beggar some money and then walking into a place that made me feel … under dressed. I’m not sure if being under dressed says more about me or about the mall…this complex was large and I’m glad that Luca knew where to go for food cuz even with my maaaaad hindi skills, it would have been difficult for us to find the eatery (“khana kaha hai?”). For lunch my outfit didn’t feel too out of place, I did, however envy some of the cute shirts that I saw girls wearing (that I didn’t stuff into my one hiking bag of belongings) but beside that it was fine.
(Also…this mall had an interesting art installment with ants that had headlights for heads to be thought provoking about ants and their apparent “humble” nature…how does one deduce humility from ants? “Hardworking” or “communal” I can understand…but how the heck “humble”?!! I should get a picture of this cuz I just didn’t get it.)
What made me feel like an under dressed buffoon was meeting a friend for some snackums. Now, this “friend” (Sunny) is a fellow I haven’t seen in about 3.5 years…and, according to him I’ve committed an unforgivable act of which he reminds me every opportunity he gets.
Let me tell you about Sunny and then I’ll continue about fancy schmancy malls. Sunny went to my school’s sister school in India and is friends with some friends of mine from college. Due to these two connections, we ended up spending Christmas together a number of years ago….of course spending Christmas together meant that we were “tyte” enough for a facebook friendship….an online relationship I terminated a few months ago when I was downsizing my facebook (seriously, we hadn’t talked in years and I didn’t think we’d ever see each other again….aaaaand we hadn’t had any facebook communication so I didn’t think he’d miss access to my profile). But…as life would have it, he spoke to my sister who told him about my trip to Delhi….and after facebook messages, exchanging numbers, and speaking on the phone…we met up today (and yes… I REfriended him on facebook and will NEVER err and delete him again lest we end up in the same city some 38 years down the line.. not that it matters since I’m sure he’ll still give me smack about removing him from facebook this one time….)
SO. Sunny, two of his cousins and I met up in the mall (he was kind enough to let the formalities last for about 3 minutes before stripping away my feigned dignity by telling them about my poor facebook etiquette). Soon, three of the 4 of us found ourselves seated in the Hard Rock Cafe at the mall. The grand black doors that were ceiling high that looked like they belonged on a posh leather couch intimidated me but I bravely entered and tried not to look too awkward.
The interior was sleek as is expected of the Hard Rock Cafe. I was surrounded by sharp lines, edgy trimmings, black, deep grays and reds. A modern looking bar had a few people hanging around when we entered that I initially didn’t pay much attention to. We were seated and talked about this and that, India/America/International accents (that he boasts…apparently I’m too American sounding)/being cross cultural/foods/how Indian men stare/people we both know and just all sorta of random things. Very enjoyable. After food was eaten and I’d reached the bottom of my peach ice tea I felt the call of nature and rose to relieve my bladder. This required me to step down from our slightly raised platform, walk the distance of the bar, get through the large floor and finally take a left to fancy bathrooms (it seriously took me a bit to figure out where the handle to the bathroom doors were).While I was walking across I noticed the place had filled up considerably and the bar was turning out to be quite a popular hang out spot. There were men in jeans and nice shirts and women in red and make up (“MAKE UP?!! WHAT”S THAT?!” screamed my brain) and all of a sudden, I felt like Alice but instead of being in Wonderland, I was so out of place with my flip flops slapping the soles of my feet on the gray floor that probably made heels I wasn’t wearing sound spectacular. Also, my smart-for-the-heat pants swishing around didn’t feel as attractive compared to the smooth shaven legs of fellow women lengthened bys heels that made me drool.
In the bathroom I got a full length view of my outfit and felt so strange next to the woman in a short denim skirt that she had accessorized with bright pink. We left the restaurant soon after and walked around in search of a book. After feeling slightly foolish in my rather touristy “practical” clothes I became more aware of what I was wearing..more accurately: what I was NOT wearing. Everything in the windows of shops looked so…clean and stylish and fashionable. Seeing me at the mall would have made people skeptical of whether I’d ever even heard the word “fashion” before (I have…I promise). At one point I sort of lingered in front of a shop and looked lustfully at a pair of beautiful pumps in the most gorgeous green and wondered why in the heck I hadn’t packed ANYTHING stylish. I couldn’t tell if it was just me, but was I incredibly under dressed or were other people just really done up?! Or had my few days of being in travel-mode made me forget what going-out-outfits looked like?!
I can’t really remember if people in the US got dolled up to go to the mall…then again, does wearing a skirt a cute shirt and some stellar shoes constitute as “dressed up”? I’m pretty sure some people at the Hard Rock picked an outfit appropriate for a night out about town. I guess I somehow forgot that Delhi as a city is quite stylish. All my encounters here have been either as a transitional city in the middle of traveling, or it’s been presentable kurthas that are appropriate for the work we’re doing here. It feels strange having packed for three months of being practical. A girl misses her shoes and her clothes when gone for so long. It would be one thing if we were in villages and fashion wasn’t an issue…but I’m going to be in cities that are fairly popular and Mumbai is like the New York of India. There isn’t too much I can do about it now and it isn’t worth it for me to buy an entire new wardrobe for the next 3 months I’m going to be here…but it’s enough to make me wonder how our clothes affect the way we feel.
Some people never have and never will care (take my ex for instance who would be thrilled to wear his dad’s old clothes and has almost never bought clothes for himself …. and who also won’t throw anything out), there are some who care once in a while (like my sister who is a natural beauty and is absolutely STUNNING when she makes the effort)…then…there’s my friend who states that although he wants to try new fashion things, he doesn’t (like purchasing and pulling off a fedora) but how he’s still very aware of what others wear and how they present themselves. Then there’s me, I love clothes and shoes and accessories…I’ve come to India with a very limited wardrobe and although looks aren’t everything (duh) I think it does affect who a person is and how they are perceived.(For something a little more philosophical and deep check out http://www.nepaliketi.net/2010/06/01/faux-pas-of-fashion/) I know that what I wear greatly affects my mood and therefore my day.
I guess I had a point when I started typing this…but it’s late and WOW I GOT SO SIDE TRACKED.
What I wanted to say was: I felt so under dressed in the mall this evening and it was weird (why didn’t I just say that instead of typing 1500 words?!) and in the course of the post I realized that I’m interested to see how not having the option of being uber picky about my outfits is going to affect me (oooh..maybe that’s why I’ve been rambling on..see…it’s like I learned something…)
And…the other thing I wanted to say, it’s always so lovely reconnecting with people and having a good time. (I’m always worried I’ll have to resort to talking about the weather and there’s only so many times you can say “Yeah man, Delhi is SO freaking hot”) so…let this be a lesson for you all…don’t ever defriend someone on facebook cuz they might end up being a lovely little hang out session in a big city. Lucky for me, Sunny accepted my friend request and has even said he’d like to see me again… so excited, I was sure I’d talked too much and bored him and his cousin to death.
And now, I feel like I’ve just talked about nothing. (why do I dooooo that?!) and I would delete most of this but I spent so much time typing it up I might as well publish it. So if you’ve read this all…congrats…you’re either incredibly bored so you love me more than I deserve 🙂 Either ways, I’ll give you a big hug in payment for enduring my pointless post.
And now..I must sleep…if the Europen guys come back and see that I’m still awake they’ll give me trash about how I’m still up and whined about being too tired to go out on a Sat night….so. sweet sleep, here I come.