One drawback of losing weight, as anyone who’s ever been on diet would tell you, is having to get new clothes. But nobody tells you or prepares you for the fact that you would need to get new lingerie also. Please bear with this particular rant. As someone who lost about 20 pounds, I shouldn’t really be complaining. In fact, you might think I am using this platform to gloat. But that’s not the case; I am actually past that age where I would be blushing if someone said I look younger than my biological years.

So where was I? Yes, losing weight and its after-effects. What happened was that my jeans were suddenly two sizes too big. So were all my tops, shirts, kurtas. Everything. My family told me to stop before I completely vanished but I was anyway stopping, having reached my goal. The next hurdle was getting a new wardrobe or getting everything altered to fit my now almost svelte figure.

My always-been-fit sister told me I needed to get new lingerie also “because hello! you are thin now!” I stared at her as if she had grown horns. Because for the past God knows how many years, I had been the same size, so I hadn’t had to worry about ‘those clothes’.

She assured me I needn’t worry because now stores have professionals who help with fitting and I would be fine. Concerned that the procrastinator that I was, I wouldn’t go at all, she volunteered to tag along.

Off we went on a bright Saturday morning. We went to a renowned store, ably adviced by a friend who said it stocks all kinds of ‘stuff’. I warily approached a woman, dressed in black, who stood by a display. She smiled and asked me my size. It was then that I should’ve guessed what was going to follow. But I still didn’t. I told her. Like an idiot, I also mentioned that I had lost weight recently so I could be a little off the actual size. She looked at me, gave a meaningful pause and said, “You are right, I think you aren’t XX X, you are XX Y.” “Fair enough, give me the stuff so I could try it on,” I told her. She perked up and handed over three pieces and led me to the trial rooms.

On our way, however, we were accosted by other similarly dressed women, standing by other racks. One of them loudly asked me the size I had picked. I said, ” XX Y” and carried on. Once inside, I began the arduous task of trying the ‘stuff’ on. But no, those other women had spotted their target. They all needed to make a sale. They all needed to earn their commission. So soon enough, I had hands shoving pieces from underneath the door and over it. Those hands were accompanied by a voice, each telling me: “This one has side support!”, “This has more lycra”, “This is mostly cotton,” “This one is available in 24 colours,” “This one is fragrant”. OK! I made up the last two, but you get the drift…

Being a not very rude person by nature, I obliged and soon I had a pile of lingerie on the tiny stool they thoughtfully place in those cubicles. But I stood there, wondering how long I needed to stay inside to make the women on the other side believe that I must have tried them all on. So I stood. Waiting. Till a voice outside screeched, “Ma’am, the ones you didn’t like, you can begin handing back from above the door.”

Now, I was in a spot. What if I return a real gem without even trying it on? I will be doomed for life! Then I chided myself, it was just a garment, it wasn’t a bilateral peace treaty I was signing here. So I picked up a few randomly and handed them back.

Again, as soon as I decided to begin the job I had actually gone there for, a voice outside said, “Ma’am, I cannot believe you tried this one and didn’t like it. Please dekhiye na! It has to fit like a dream.”
Now I have to argue with this chit of a girl about what should and would fit me? Middle-aged rage was slowly building up inside me but I was sweating after those innumerous rounds of tugging stuff from over the door or putting my hand under it to drag other stuff in.

By then my sister, who had chosen to browse other aisles, came right outside and asked, “All well?” What was I to say? That I was drowning in a sea of lingerie while trying to locate the right ones? I just about managed a “Hmmm.”
I cautiously just tried the ones I had originally picked and stepped out, feeling almost victorious. But the end of this expedition wasn’t near, no way! The women wanted to see which brand I had chosen. As soon as the name was revealed, the others slunk off while the one who sold that brand grinned. It almost felt like Swayamvar where suitors stand in line while the princess picks one.

I thanked them and dragged my sister away before they decided to help her out as well. How I wish we could go back to old times when there were men selling lingerie so you went, mentioned what you wanted, they gave it, took the money and that was the end of the story. This is the last place I seek female bonding, really!

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