Dressing Up

I was a shy kid who vehemently objected to being in the spotlight. However, all my timidity vanished into thin air if I got to dress up for the occasion. I was the kid who could not get a single dialogue straight until the day of dress rehearsal. It is because of my untamable zeal for dressing up that I loved fancy dresses.

The first fancy dress competition that I remember was at the age of three. When my mother decided I dress up as Red Riding Hood for the competition held at officer’s mess, it was more for her joy than mine. I was told to walk with a smile on my face, looking directly at the audience, up to the center of the stage. Then some voice artist would growl like a wolf and I was to get a petrified expression on my face and run my way to the other end of the stage. The voice artist would do the rest of the story telling. Now, you cannot blame a three-year-old kid for not showing any interest in this exercise. I hated walking through the corridor of my house making faces. It was only when my mother put big fat rollers in my hair the night before the day of competition that I got all excited. I remember throwing a last minute tantrum behind stage and then being pushed on the stage by two sets of hands. I never found out who the other set of hands belonged to. I did not care either. I had just experienced my first moment of glory. As if showing off my cute red frock, a red hood that touched my ankles, and bright red pair of shoes was not fun enough, I got my first toy train set at the end of the performance.

It was after exact 365 days (these competitions were held during the Christmas party) when I stepped on the stage dressed up as Cinderella. I wore a white flowing gown and a golden tiara with shining stones. I was on the top of the world even before I stepped on the stage. This time, I had to remember three things. I had to smile, look at my wristwatch, and then run fast leaving one shoe behind. I almost forgot the shoe part. The expression of dread that appeared on my face when I remembered about the shoe added a natural touch. 😉

Many years later, when I was in the third standard, a kid fell sick a day before the annual day celebrations. As an indirect consequence, my class teacher ordered me to dress up as a puppet. My darling mother sat up all night to stitch an ankle length green skirt and style a matching dupatta for me. I was made to wear dozens of glass bangles and my teacher painted my face with powder and lipstick. For the final touch, she tied long strings to my fingers. After this painstakingly long exercise, I was ready to walk the stage as a Dancing Girl Puppet.

Although each one of my dressing up experiences was fun, my favorite is the one that also happens to be the last fancy dress competition I participated in. I was nine and very finicky about the characters I could dress up as. Clowns, comic and fairytale characters, celebrities, and the likes were all passé. I wanted to be different and my brilliant mother once again came to my rescue. She traveled twenty kilometers to shop for the dress material and other props, spent hours getting the dress done and there I was, all ready to hit the stage as The Milkmaid Girl. Notice the definite article? I was not a milkmaid, I was the Nastlé Milkmaid girl.

So much fun, all thanks to my Libran mom.


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