Saturday, October 23, 2010

Of Jackets and Shoes

I went shopping for a winter jacket today. I saw one in the store and was not sure if it was a fall jacket or if it would work for the negative temperatures in winter too. So I asked the store employee and he tells me it is a ''übergangsjacke" i.e a transition-jacket used to transition from fall to winter. I thought to myself....dey, enna velayadareengla ??

I already have a spring jacket, a fall jacket, a winter jacket (that is close to breathing its last which is why I went shopping) and 2 rain jackets (one of them is a sports jacket for when I go running) and now this fellow comes and tells me that I need a jacket to transition between the seasons, marana kadi ayiten naan !!

Shopping for clothes was one of the toughest things for me when I first came to Germany and choosing what to wear on a particular day, even tougher and no, it was not a girly choice of what will look good on me but it was a much simpler problem on what would make me comfortable. I have worn turtle-neck sweaters to classes and have felt too warm, or just a shirt and have felt too cold. It took me a while to figure out that there was a concept of dressing in ''layers'' (shirt under a pullover under a jacket) and you take them off or put them on depending on the temperature.

What's the deal with everyone wearing black, grey and brown in winter ?? Isn't the depressing weather reason enough to dress up in bright colors ?? There have been many winter days when I have come out of my apartment to go to work and have noticed everyone dressed in black and grey and it always makes me feel like the whole street is going to a funeral. Yes, its easy to decide to buy bright colored pullovers and jackets but difficult to find them since the winter collection in stores hardly ever go beyond the sober colors !

With these problems came another one when I started working. Now apparently besides the seasons, I also had to make sure that I had formal jackets that I can wear to a client meeting or a conference. The client seeing me in an informal jacket for a split second before I take it off (to sit down in a heated room all day) has somehow the powers to put the kibosh on the deal !

For someone who has never seen or owned a jacket until 20 and prefers comfort over fashion, this is frustrating, very frustrating ! But the frustration levels go rocket high when the problem of jackets meets the problem of shoes.

As a teenager, I have read a number of English novels and in all of them there were always allusions to girls being crazy about shoes and having way too many pairs. I never understood that since I always had only 2 pairs (besides the school shoes) and most likely they were both from bata, one the Rs 99.95 slipper that I wore everyday to go out and the other, the Rs.159.95 one that amma made me wear to weddings and other special occasions.

I come to Germany...boom ! I suddenly have a dozen pairs - for different seasons, for different purposes (running, work, casual) and for different costumes (you can imagine how inconvenient boots are with a salwar or a sari) and when I have trouble with these already, there is another huge factor - fashion. Apparently knee-length boots are not a great idea when wearing knee-length skirts. I go ballistic if I hear suggestions like these and I want to shout, ''I don't care, I am comfortable and I like the way I look and you can go jump into the sea for all I care!!!''....

....and then I realised if everyone thought this way, there will be no fashion industry, an industry that spends millions on creating fabrics and style that last one year and are shunned the next and that spends more millions on convincing people about it.....so they gotta do what they gotta do and I gotta do what I gotta do....

...so if you spot someone in a bright red jacket, a bright maroon scarf and wearing comfortable shoes that probably don't match the jeans, on a dull depressing day in Munich, its most likely me :)
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