“You need to get new track pants,” said my wife, commenting at the mango juice stains on my sweat pants, as we were dodging sneezers on our daily walk.
By the way, the mango season in India has long gone and the last mango I ate was the “chausa” variety a couple of weeks ago, which was juicy but very fibrous, unlike the ‘safeda’ variety I like from my hometown.
(Chausa originates from Pakistan, but we shall not get into the citizenship of the fruits in these times of nationalism and “grow local and be vocal”).
I do not eat the succulent fruit standing over the kitchen sink to catch the dripping juices, just as publicity-shy Indian Prime Minister Modi does, or at least that’s what Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar thought he did, when he asked him in a rare interview.
Fast forward many years, and as the pandemic strikes, those especially over the hill, people who are in the winter of their lives, those who are in their second childhood, the wise people who are longer in the tooth, the seniors, the young at heart, the venerable, the senescent, the geriatric, as I am, let themselves go, because nobody cares about their looks when they are locked in
Anyway, this is not about the fruit eating habits of leaders, but about how I am slowly going to pot, sartorial-wise in the age of coronavirus. I was never ever like this and remember commuting in a jam-packed metro train early morning to Toronto and a friend commenting that my shirts were always crisply ironed.
I did not tell him that my wife irons my clothes, ever since we landed in Canada from Dubai.
Maids were aplenty and cheap in Dubai, and they would also press everything, even my handkerchiefs and innerwear, unlike Toronto where finding help was difficult and expensive, even with a basic wage of about $10 an hour.
Fast forward many years, and as the pandemic strikes, those especially over the hill, people who are in the winter of their lives, those who are in their second childhood, the wise people who are longer in the tooth, the seniors, the young at heart, the venerable, the senescent, the geriatric, as I am, let themselves go, because nobody cares about their looks when they are locked in.
Low maintenance in coronavirus
I am very low maintenance nowadays and haven’t been to the dentist for ages to get my teeth cleaned. The dentist is terrified of me now as I am of her.
I have also stopped shaving because nobody can see whether I look like Gabbar Singh, the dacoit from the famous Bollywood movie, ‘Sholay’, under my mask, and with my transition glasses that turn into shades, and a cap, I look like the invisible man.
(Now I know how Western women enjoyed the anonymity of the ‘abayah’ in the Arab World)
Then I realised it is because of my ‘chalta-hai’ (anything goes) attitude that the fashion and the clothing industry is going broke, hundreds of retail shops are shutting down and thousands of jobs are lost.
When a call came from my clothing store wishing me, happy birthday, one morning and urging me to visit the shop as the salespersons are now fully sanitised, I decided to get myself spruced up.
I got myself a snazzy pair of grey sweatpants that were made in the North-East of India (to show my patriotism) and a pair of sports socks that just fit my heel and do not show when I am wearing trainers.
Then I realised that one just does not walk by yourself; one has to also walk a dog. But getting a dog was not feasible right now.
So, I looked around and found that I need a mask, not just any mask, but a fashionable one that is handcrafted and colourful and one that flaunts and exhibits my personality.
“Throw out the N-95s and the surgical masks,” I told my wife. “We are going shopping online for a mask that makes me look like a dandy.”
— Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi