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Last month when Obama joked that his prayers tend to revolve around the length of his 12 year old daughter, Malia’s skirt - it triggered a wave-like effect on parents worldwide, with all of them nodding their heads in understanding. Suntee ho Chinki ki Mummy...even the President of the most powerful country in the world has no control over his daughter! And look at our beti, always in a salwar kameez. Chinki blushes a beetroot red and hides her pile of minis deeper in her closet. Why burst Papajee's bubble?
Only a man can understand how a hormonally charged teenaged boy’s mind works. And since he’s been there and done that, he has all the reasons to be alarmed. What he doesn’t comprehend is, that it’s her way of asserting “I’m not a baby anymore and am ready to take flight”. The poor Dad didn’t even realize when his baby grew up and now reality has hit him with a thud.
This sent me on a flashback. My daughter insists that all this reminiscing for the sake of blogging is playing tricks on my memory. Of late I have started forgetting things alarmingly. The other day the husband rang the bell and I asked with a genuinely puzzled expression ‘You look familiar, do I know you”? He of course wasn’t amused. Agreed he works very hard and his face is mostly hidden behind his laptop, but this is unpardonable! Damn, I’m deviating and will soon forget what I was writing about in the first place. The point is I pressed the rewind button and stopped at my school girl days – the time when I was my parents’ worst nightmare. But my shrinking skirt did not give them sleepless nights. They were either too busy to notice or pretended not to notice and I merrily took advantage of it. In school the length of our skirts was a matter of prestige - the higher it went, the more it upped our coolness quotient. It helped that our principal was one those ladies who thought long skirts were meant for behenjees and even went to the extent of announcing her preference for short skirts in the assembly. It was greeted with loud cheers especially from the guys and we girls did our very best to make her feel proud.
Soon it was time for me to start my college life and I took a public bus for the first time in my life. I was still in love with my skirts and since I wanted to dazzle the college crowd with my style quotient, they had become even shorter now. In the bus I noticed a strange phenomenon. Everyone was looking intently at my legs, you know the brows knit together focussed look. I was concerned... Is something wrong? Why is everyone having a silent conversation with my limbs! It must have been a startling discovery for them – the salwar kee peechhe kya hai moment. And since I was not keen on enlightening the male population about the mysteries of womankind’s anatomy, I had to forsake my Diva dreams.
My daughter goes to the same school now and she’s far from a parent’s nightmare. True, for years she sported a strange fad called the hipster skirt. The sight of teens wearing their skirts/jeans precariously perched on their non-existent behinds were an assault on one’s delicate senses. Imagine walking behind a bunch of gangly teens with their pants threatening to slide off their frames! I was petrified of that what if moment.
The skirt found its way to her waist after years of gentle prodding by her dad & me. Thankfully the fad also died a quiet death.
Nowadays I doubt if parents are worried about the length of the skirt. I often walk into a store and pick up a tee which turns out to be a dress... A slightly long shirt ...yupp this one is a dress too....An apron...Maa that’s a shift dress.... And then you have these hardly-there shorts which they call hot pants. The skirt now seems so last century.
They say the length of the skirt is correlated to the state of the economy. When the Economy is down in dumps, women prefer covering up and as the economy starts looking up the hemlines follow suit, much to the relief of men.
Judging from Malia’s itsy bitsy skirts on Obama’s state trip to Latin America, the President can take solace that the American economy is back on track. And judging from the near non-existent skirts on our gen-now, dear parents worldwide, it’s time to update your prayers. Dear Lord, we are happy the way our Economy is shaping up, thank you so much. But can you please, without messing around with the stock markets, turn around fashion and make her tent, apron, tutu or whatever she’s wearing, a little longer?