It wasn't until college that I began to notice a man’s butt. Actually, it would be fair to say that I began noticing men, in whole and in parts, only after I embarked on the ‘self realization’ journey called college. I was a convent school product, a girl who based her entire judgment on Men-kind, solely on the specimen that her dad was. My Dad is a banker, usually seen wearing a simple shirt and black trousers, both bought from a certain shop called ‘A to Z fashionzz’ at New Market, Bhopal. Malls did not exist and our family owed it to the pot bellied man at A to Z fashionzz (fashion made better with a double z) for filling up our wardrobes with clothes which he believed where ‘In the Season’. We never cared or knew much about the word called ‘BRANDED’. Except for the VIP and Groversons undergarment, our clothes were well, just clothes.
What do you do when you are this socially awkward person, one who has never stepped out of her home solo in the past 17 years of her life and is suddenly states away from her family, attending her first day of college? What you do is, you make friends and ignite the fire of friendship that would not stand the test of time. The first time I visited a coffee shop was in my 1st year of college, unless ‘Amer Bakery Hut’ and ‘Bajrang Sweets &Namkeen’ from Bhopal, qualify as one too. Me and my two newly made friends would sit at Barista, play truth and dare over shots of strong Espresso and just pretend to not look at the men passing by. It was in this very Barista that I found out about this brand called Levi Strauss. The leader of our group was this beautifully bold girl from Delhi, one who included a man in her ‘Cute hai’ list based on two points- a) Looks b) the red tag on the piece of jeans enveloping his right ass cheek, screaming Levi’s. She was the siren and I was the nerd, pretending to be a siren and badly losing the game. She was a simple girl, a goddess at heart but we were all just teenagers trying to fit in.
During the subsistence of this challenging friendship, I learnt a few things. An underwear with a waistband that screamed ‘Jockey’ was much more important that a man’s IQ, unless he is wearing a ‘Playboy’, in which case his IQ level does not even matter. I learnt the art of checking out a man’s butt before I notice his face. For someone who only used ‘Cuticura Deo’, I learnt about perfumes by Chanel, Nina Ricci, Dior, Davidoff and a certain celebrity called Christina Aquilera. Even though I never owned a Louis Vuitton bag, I corrected everyone who pronounced it the wrong way. I was trying to do college right.
It was in college that I found out about people who aren’t exactly swimming in the rich category, but will go to any length just to portray that they are. The first man I dated had a second hand Mercedes, with doors that threatened to leave the car the moment the speedometer hit 60. This guy had no personality, no intelligence, nor a face to make up for all the deficiencies. What he did have was a Levi’s jeans, a Pepe tshirt, imported Puma shoes and a Hidesign wallet. Inside the wallet he had 70 rupees, enough to buy him a cup of Green tea from one of the posh coffee shops in Cochin, The Cocoa Tree. I drank sparkling water, which thankfully was free. Of course, I dumped him after 2 months over a phone call, while stuffing my mouth with French fries. I was 19.
From the scholarship money that the bank gave me at the end of 2nd year of college, I bought my first Levi’s jeans worth Rs 2,400/-. Slim fit and bold curve, with the red tag perfectly placed over my right ass cheek. I worked out at the gym so that it was possible for me to wear tops short enough to not cover up the red tag. I literally lived in that pair of jeans until my mother bought me a new pair from ‘A to Z Fashionzz’, belonging to a brand called ‘ZOLA’. This particular jeans was 600 Rupees and as much as I hate to admit, was a dream to get into. How could I portray my love for it in a world where brands dominated your status? I even thought of cutting out the tag from the Levi’s jeans and stitching it on the Zola one, but did not do so for the lack of needle skills. I decided to give up on brands.
A person is not the brand he wears. My father still shops at A to Z fashionzz and is the best person alive on this planet. The closest he has got to brands, is Peter England and Wills Lifestyle office wear. My brother hoards on everything branded, but secretly prefers to wear flip-flops bought from this Barkheda market at Bhopal for 150 rupees, over the Nike one that costed my father a whopping 1299. My mother happily owns an LV bag without knowing what LV stands for and carries her lunch box containing sambar rice in it to office. Her ignorance makes her adorable.
Coming to me, I have given up searching for that red tag on a man’s butt, except occasionally, because well……..some habits die hard.
P.S- I do prefer brands when it comes to cosmetics. Call me a hypocrite!
P.P.S- Don’t hate me for not replying to the comments on the previous post. I do not have an internet facility except at work. I blog when I find time. I cherish each and every comment. You know I do. J