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Arushi - The Ghost of Red Dress Past

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The Ghost of Red Dress Past by Arushi Lohiya


My fortunate friends who have taken a leak (or a dump… eww) in my bathroom, would have noticed this very out of place, glamorous dress hung on the door of the bathroom. And it’s not a one off instance, it’s just always there.

I bought this dress on my 21st birthday. The grand 21st birthday! 21 is in the US what 18 is by UK standards. I found this dress hanging like an orphan on the walls of a store waiting for destiny to give it it’s forever home. Well, luckily or unluckily for her, she was going home with me. On 16 January, the red dress in question made its debut into the society. It was my +1, the first time I could legally (‘legally’ being the operative word ;) ) step into a bar. In the dim lights, it shined bright. In the loud crowd, it stood out. Among the other misfits in life, it fit perfectly. It danced, it laughed, it basically had the time of its life! And it definitely had to! After all, you only turn 21 once.

And then it got packed up and made its journey across continents in a suitcase to come to India in hope of a brighter future in, probably, a dimmer club. After this it travelled across the country but somehow its time never came. A special dress needs an equally special occasion. Today, ‘The Ghost of Red Dress Past’ hangs on a bathroom door. That is definitely not the fate it was expecting when we recited our vows to each other on that auspicious 16th of January. Today, the poor little under-used dress just sits there and waits for its turn. But little does it know it does much more than waiting…

I hung it there couple of months ago. Initially, I just thought such a beautiful thing was getting wasted curled up in the cupboard, so I took it out just for a bit. Just to look at it. Because I obviously couldn’t wear it. Well, at least not outside in public. Okay, okay, I confess! I secretly gave it a test drive when I was home alone. I paraded around the entire house wearing this gorgeous dress over hideous pyjamas. Well, that’s the only way it could have been worn. See I have this acute pain in my knees and legs, (apart from the pain I have in 10000 other places. Thank you ‘Monster F’ aka fibromyalgia). This pain gets better only by compression. So, I have to tie about 8 crepe bandages on my legs in order to feel partly functional. Obviously not the best fashion statement! So it was bye bye shorts, skirts and dresses, and good looking shoes. Therefore, the red dress soon became just a showpiece and found its place on the bathroom door. Today it seems that’s where it was meant to be.

Every time I am in loo and I glance at the dress, I have a mysterious smile. It’s both nostalgic and hopeful. The ‘Ghost of Red Dress Past’ reminds me of a past full of fun, joy, excitement, friendship, love… Obviously the past has its own share of mistakes, stress , grief, heartbreak and failure, but that’s a given. There is no upside, without the downside.

Basically, freedom, spontaneity, and the ability to do what you want, when you want… In retrospect the past looks lush green to me. Definitely way greener than the present.

So coming back to the ghost in the bathroom. I could have packed it up. Hidden it far beyond my reach, but I keep it hung right there in front of my eyes. I see it day after day. I don’t want it to be only a reminder of the Happy Days, I want it to also be a sign of the happy days to come. A day when I would not need any of these bandages. A day when Monster F will finally lose the fight and will walk out of my life forever. That day I will walk in this red dress who also desperately awaits her comeback.

I will bid adieu to ‘The Ghost of Red Dress Past’ and embrace ‘The Ghost of Red Dress Future’ with open arms. Til then, I guess ‘The Ghost of Red Dess Present’ just needs to wait patiently for the fibromyalgia storm to pass…

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Whole post recording read by Jenni Pettican