A shirt’s journey

Many moons ago, I was out with a couple of my colleagues. A fair, with blaring music, billowing tents of stalls, and beatific customers.

One of the colleagues nudged me, and said, “Why don’t you try that one?” A flimsy leopard print shirt stared back at me. “Well…,” I replied.

Out of the hanger, in my hands, the shirt was soft, silk like. The leopard print gave it a dangerous look. There were breast pockets, and golden cuff buttons. I made up my mind.

The shirt felt weightless in my hands. Once home, I locked the bedroom, tried it on, and lied to myself saying, “it looks great”.

It, of course, didn’t. It hung limply on my shoulders, the collars stuck out like two wilted leaves, and the weight of the tiny golden buttons pulled the two pockets down creating a flood of creases.

I curled it into a ball, and pushed it way back in the cupboard.

Life went on, until one fine morning, a year later, my folks went on a cleaning spree. “Have you ever worn this?” my dad asked, taking the shirt out from down a pile of shirts like a piece of fragile glass. “The problem is, I don’t find it among the clutter,” I lied.

The next morning, it was right on top of the pile.

I wore it to a resto-pub, staining it with a dash of salsa. The next day, it churned in the washing machine, hung in the balcony under the blistering heat of the sun for hours, before getting back on the top of the pile.

There it remained, ignored and forgotten, until one day, when it was packed and flown into the United States.

It hung in a closet among heavy sweaters and snow jackets. A year passed before I took all of my clothes and created a mountain out of them on the bed. I wanted to keep those that sparked joy (For those who don’t know what I am talking about, watch Marie Kondo: the art of tidying up).

When it came to the leopard print shirt, I held it and tried to recollect the song that was on at the fair when I bought it, of the conversation that I had with my colleagues while it was still new in my hands.

I recalled the many times, I sat staring at it, and wondering what to wear. The many cut outs of bags, jewelry and travel spots that the younger me had stuck on the inside of the cupboard where the shirt hung — a silent spectator of my dreams and desires.

Now, as I held it, its hands fell over its collar, as if it was stretching after years of rest.

I put it in a plastic bag, right on top of the rest. I went close, said a gentle goodbye and ‘Thank you’, before hanging a new sleeveless pink polo necked shirt in its place.



Each morning, it’s a different movie. I raise the curtains, open the blinds, and let the film roll. Usually it begins with the same elderly lady walking her physically challenged Yorkshire Terrier. And then comes a band of youngsters in Neon pink and green. The voices rise all the way to the window and in, along with the bright rays of the morning sun. A few hours pass. Except for the slight sway of weak branches, there is no movement. A brief recess. And then it resumes. A mother pushing her baby stroller; a couple on a casual walk, teenagers poring over their phones…I watch, taking in the magic of the mundane. My eyes catch a face on the opposite window; just like that, I am in someone else’ movie. Time ticks, sun sets, every window now is a pale orange canvas. I close the blinds, and wait for the next show at dawn.

In Dallas for the first time

Dallas downtown


It’s very unlike me, but I wanted to escape the cold of Delaware. So I went to Dallas on the second day of 2019. But, as always, life is full of ironies. I was welcomed with a downpour, and low temperatures.

Anyway, I shook off the water from my flippers, and set straight to the artsy part of Dallas. The Downtown. I went inside the Holocaust Museum and wept seeing a reproduction of Anne Frank’s Diary. The real one is kept safe at Anne Frank’s House in Amsterdam, and taken out once in 10 years for study, I learnt.

To cheer myself up, I stepped into a world of 18th and 19th century European and American art and sculptures at Dallas Museum of Art. I couldn’t get enough of Renoir and Degas. But it was time to go.

The next day, it was relatively warmer, so I went out to Russel Creek Park for a stroll. And the following day to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. I had my fill of Indian food – vada paav, dabeli, and raj kachori. That and a drink called Lolita from Haywire had me dancing like my brother Happy Feet.

When out from food coma, we drove to Cowtown Coliseum at Fortworth Stockyards Historic District, and watched the Wild West Show. I squawked until my bill trembled; the cowboys and their tricks with whips and guns had me roll down the seat like a Telstar soccer ball.

Shaken up by the show, next day, I went to Plano Meditation Center, and sat in silence, visualizing a pure white sheet of ice to calm my nerves.