Why we stay and lose in touch with friends from the past.

Note: While I was writing my first story about laughter and forgetting in my previous blog post, I felt this strange sense of liberation. Like this is what I was meant to write all this while. Like this was the topic I was sifting for, through the folds of my brain during languid train journeys and zoned-out moments at work. And that’s when I realised, I would convert all these snippets into blog posts – move them from memory to blog, where they would serve as reminders of a time long past, a time when happiness was real.

I don’t know what book it was (Milan Kundera’s Identity?), but the book basically says our friends are our tangible connections to our past –  If we lose our friends from the past, we lose our link to the past. And we risk losing a part of ourselves.

So we stay in touch with old friends for the mirror this friend holds out to us. And our friends stay in touch with us for the mirror we hold out to them. The mirror to our shared pasts that shelters shared memories –  a proof of having existed in a certain way in a certain period of time. A window to ourselves. A tangible proof of our existence. A key to our identity.

Which simply means, we need our friends to stay connected to the world and to ourselves.

And so even when we grow up into different people, we still look for those who transport us to our foundation. Who give credibility to our existence.

One of the most painful things is meeting a cherished person from the past and realising you have nothing in common with their present self.

At that point, you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself with the other person. You feel confused, lost and start scrambling around – looking for your misplaced identity – the part of you that went missing with the other person. And in that confusion, you struggle to rediscover your new self. You are subconsciously thinking, “Okay, so s/he is this. So where does that leave me?” And little by little, the more “changed” old friends you meet, the more discomfort you feel. And after this long and tedious phase (that evolves not ends), you become closer and closer to finding out who you really are.

After the initial enthusiasm in the first few years after graduation – life, career and love swoop right in, tearing us all apart bit by bit. At that time, it gets really tough. For instance, in my case, I would lie awake, missing, hoping with all my heart to go back in time. Back to school when there was so much to look forward to. A time, when there was love in our hearts and fire in our souls. A time, when we were invincible.

And so to connect with the invincible part of ourselves, we call our friends from back in time and make plans. We fix a time and place and arrive there, looking sharp. However, take the setting of the past away, and we’re left incomplete. Two incomplete people staring at each other across the table, wondering what’s missing. Like two halves of different apples wondering how to fit together.

Has the mirror shattered? Are shattered pieces of yourself all you can see?

Sometimes, meeting people from the past is a reminder of all that’s missing. 

Meeting an old friend only to realise they’re nothing like what you remember of them, makes you want to do one of two things:

  1. Shut the door to the past with a firm thud
  2. Wish to time-travel back to the past

However, sooner or later, we all realise that we can’t live with one foot down the back door. We can’t keep hoping for some spell to transport us back in time. And we move on. 

Sometimes, when I meet a friend from the past, it seems as though I am meeting a stranger. A new person with new habits and new tastes, a striking resemblance to somebody I knew a decade ago.

We sit across, exchanging pleasantries, awkward silences dissipating only after a few drinks, when conversation drifts to talks of the past. The past is all we have in common. Our memories the only reason we meet. That’s when the pain gets unbearable. So intense that sometimes I choose to distance myself from this stranger I can’t connect to.

I don’t want my enthusiasm in rekindling the past to end up destroying the past.

I don’t want my memories to be tainted by any awkwardness and disagreements we might face in the present. I want my memories from back in the day to stay sheltered like pink and blue bubbles glowing in the sun. Bubbles I can gaze at as they drift away into nothingness. I don’t want to bring the bubble closer. I don’t want to risk bursting the happiest memories I’ve ever had.

Sometimes, losing touch is all I can do to protect the sanctity of the past.

And so I often find myself losing touch with old friends.

But at the cost of protecting the sanctity of my past, am I losing my identity?

Memories sometimes make life worth living. And stories worth telling.

Maybe, once when I have told all these stories and have shared every pleasant memory from my past,  I can safely attempt to rekindle those ties. To mend the tangible strings tying me to the warm, fuzzy feeling of the past. To repair the bridges now lying damaged by the passage of youth and self-discovery. To gaze at the mirror and hold a mirror out, without fear of it being shattered.

Till then, I am going to write. Write till my fingers hurt, and brain drains itself of every shred of hurt and loss. Write till I am empty of past dues. And filled with knowledge of myself.

Will it be too late then? Well, at least I’ll still have my blog posts.


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The blogpost of laughter and forgetting

I don’t know how many of you have read this Milan Kundera classic, but you don’t have to worry about it, as this post (as suspected) has nothing to do with this intriguing-insightful (yet slightly disturbing) novel.

Today, when I heard a colleague laugh it took me back in time to a memory I was on the verge of forgetting. This colleague has a very distinct laugh – one that consists of essentially two syllables or a repetition of one. Imagine a male voice with a slightly nasal twang, go – “Hain, Hain”. Well, that’s his laugh.

Speaking of disturbing laughs, I remember in school, my entire dormitory in 9th standard went on one of those laughter-therapy like sessions without knowing it was a thing. Basically, there was a girl in our class – a skinny little girl with braces and long frizzy hair who had this screechy laugh that would make anybody who heard her laugh, laugh. Her laugh was so funny, and so catchy that once we recognised it, we just wouldn’t stop asking her to voluntarily laugh. Often a couple of us would accompany her on her first “Ha Ha” to ease her into this game, so she didn’t feel awkward starting. And once we heard her, the rest of us would naturally burst into splits, our funny unique laughs causing this gorgeous girl to laugh even louder (and funnier), which caused us to laugh, and then her to laugh, and then us – resulting in a laughing marathon occupying a good party of our 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. rest hours, and disturbing our neighbouring dormitories too.

We’d just laugh and laugh for no reason. Just because it was so much fun. It felt so good, and we didn’t have anybody shoving “laughter therapy” down our throats either. It was something invented in the corner 9th std dorm by us 14-year-olds – one of the many creative games devised to amuse ourselves.

Her laugh started with a loud screech like  – “Haaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin” and would then break into little splutters of “hehehehheheeh” and then again she would take a deep breath and there would be a few continuous screeches like – “Haaaarghhhhhhh- Haaaarghhhhhhh – Haaaarghhhhhhh” – followed by a few more “hehehehheh” splutters –  and at this moment, I would be laughing so hard, holding my tummy with one hand, wiping the tears with the other – that pain itself was forgotten for a moment.

I had forgotten this long lost memory or rather it was buried between the folds of “adulting”stress and brokedom only to emerge at the behest of a colleague guffawing his “Hain Hein”.

Well, let me just say this – the corporate world sure has its moments.

P:S: I know I am digressing from the “Fashion” theme again, but please understand – I am absolutely obsessed with my schooltime shenanigans.

P.P.S: Stay tuned for more “forgotten” stories of laughter and other happy moments from boarding school.

10 incredibly weird things about me that (debatably) make me an unlikeable person.

  1. Me to myself – “Thank God It’s a No-Plan Friday. What? There’s a plan? Oh no, why is life so tough?”
  2. I wish she cancels I wish she cancels I wish she cancels – Oh THANK GOD she cancelled! Now, I can happily be boring at home.
  3. I am ignoring your call not because I dislike you, disrespect you or mean to be rude. It’s just that I am going through something at the moment and I need all the time I can get to heal myself. At other times (that is the times that I haven’t “ignored” your call), I am genuinely busy and may have missed your call, made a mental note to call back, and then forgotten. Again, (debatably) unforgivable.
  4. How can people not like sleeping early? *genuine wonder* I sleep at 10:30 p.m.
  5. As long as I get the luxury of sleeping on time and waking on time and getting a mug of tea first thing in the morning, I will be sane.
  6. The only alcohol I drink is beer, and not because it’s alcohol, but because it’s beer. And I genuinely like the taste. I wouldn’t even mind  if beer didn’t make me high. In fact, it would be better as I could drink a lot more.
  7.  The reason I choose one plan over the other is not because I like one person over the other, but because I choose the plan where I know nobody including me is going to “overstay their welcome” or drag the party till the point where it’s-so-boring-that-we-can’t-stand-it-so-we-end-it. Instead, end it while it’s still fun; like you know how they say, “Quit while you’ve still got a reputation?” Well… something like that.
  8. A lot of my free time goes in devising ways I can: a) fire my maid b) ask for a raise c) think about what business I could start d) design a few perfect outfits e)Not actually doing any of the above (maybe just ‘d’)
  9. I wake up really early so that I can freshen up and have my first mug of tea while watching a random episode on Netflix – I don’t have to complete the episode – I just have to complete my tea. While watching something.
  10. I crib and I crib and I crib not because my life sucks, but because I am cleansing every shred of negativity within me (and dumping it on you) so that I can be happy. Again (debatably) selfish. You care for me after all? Don’t you? 😉

 

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P.P.S: This is supposed to be a style blog, but I like to digress once in a while. It’s a blog NOT a brand, for God’s sake.

P.P.S: I also spend a lot of time staying disillusioned with capitalism, advertising and selling people things they don’t want (despite or especially due to the fact that I have spent all of my career doing exactly that).

 

 

In case you’re bored and want to shop…

Hi people,

So I am back with my edit of shopping suggestions and this time, the list focuses on two websites that I recently discovered. It’s almost like a “What would Shivani buy – Part II” except that Who am I kidding – I can’t afford it. Yes… yes, they aren’t expensive but when you make little and pay a lot of rent, you really have to count every buck.

Moving on, here are some things I discovered that I couldn’t help but share with you guys.

Denim Halter Dress, Nicobar

Buy here for Rs. 4800

Wear this Denim Halter Dress with Tan lace-up boots found on Vajor.com

Buy here for Rs. 1990

Tan Lace-up boots by Vajor.com | Fabric detailing | Textile | Derby Lacing | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Chanderi Shirt Dress, Nicobar

Buy here for Rs. 7200

Huhu Dress, Nicobar

Buy here for Rs. 3800

Huhu pale blue-green dress found on Nicobar.com | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Wear the Huhu Dress with these Sequinned White Sneakers found on Vajor.com

Buy here for Rs. 2250

Sequinned White Sneakers | Embellished White Sneakers | Pureskin | Vajor.com | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Ashwani Chanderi Dress, Nicobar

Buy here for Rs. 5200

An ivory coloured cotton-silk chanderi dress found on Nicobar | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Try wearing this gorgeous number with these sandals found on Vajor.com

Buy the Oxblood here and the Candy Pink here for Rs. 179o.

 

Lastly, two more outfits that I sort of found interesting…

Jumpsuit with Ikat Detailing | Vajor.com

Buy it here for Rs. 2790

Black Jumpsuit with an Ikat Yoke found on Vajor.com | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Printed Skirt | Vajor.com

Buy it here for Rs. 1375

Printed Pencil Skirt found on Vajor.com | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Well, hope you liked this edit.

Happy Shopping 🙂

 

 

 

 

What a shopping trip is like when you’re broke.

Today I stepped out for a run. But ended up going to Forever 21 instead. (Don’t say it – I know – it’s silly). It started off quite ordinarily. After watching quarter an episode of The Good Wife on Netflix and downing two mugs of tea, I suddenly realised that if I didn’t step outside now, it would be too late. Daylight would’ve disappeared. So I changed into my sneakers and shorts, almost didn’t take my wallet (which on second thoughts would’ve been much smarter) and bounced outdoors.

Once I was actually out on the street, I got this sudden itch to spend money – which is surprising as I am literally in debt with most of my recent purchases being on a credit card. However, I thought – a few steps in the crisp, fresh November air may inspire me to stick to the healthier original plan. So I continued walking towards the park. The itch, sadly, was a stubborn one. I couldn’t walk it off. And by the time I reached the corner, I found myself hailing an autorickshaw – “Bhaiya, Infinity Malad?” And fate decided to take me on with a slight nod to the affirmative.

I sat in the rickety rickshaw, my thoughts racing. What do I do once I reached Forever 21? Shop or just browse? What if I actually liked something? Shit, that would suck as I can’t afford it. What do I do when I am back home? Maybe I should finally start writing the book I’ve been meaning to write for the last gazillion years. The book about love. But what part of love? My first boyfriend? Current boyfriend? But, I have no clue on how it all turns out! Should I assume? No. I should concentrate on what’s elapsed. Finish a story that’s already finished. This happened and then this and finally this. Oh, but would people want to read it? And what if it sounds too rushed? Maybe I should just stick to an incident and elaborate every little detail. Maybe, I should add a hint of magical realism like Murakami? But what? Murakami’s books are mostly metaphors about uniting with your dark side or shadow. What would my books be about? I need to discover something and then use metaphors to explain it. What have I discovered?

And like this, my brain raced on and on and before I knew it, me and my auto were speeding along a windy backroad that ran parallel along a sewage drain. For a brief moment, I thought we were near the sea but the black colour gave the drain away. What a disappointment. A sea would’ve been the perfect sign for me to begin work on the book. Romance. Possibility. Freedom.

The auto screeches to a halt near Forever 21. I get off and rush to the women’s loo. I find a stall that seems it’s about to get vacant any second -a brush against the flimsy door somehow seemed to me an indication of pants being being pulled up clumsily – however I was wrong and the lady in my stall decided to have a nice, long dump.


I got to Forever 21 and the first thing that caught my eye was a faux leather button-down miniskirt. Love at first sight. My mind began racing – I would team it with a t-shirt and a boyfriend shirt. Or a vest for a night out. And  I found myself throwing it in the black mesh bag, an overenthusiastic sales person handed me.

The collection was very streetstyle inspired – hence I was in love with it. There were jackets – military, bomber, trench-style, fluffy, straight – all kinds. And there were skirts – corduroy, military, pink georgette, rust hued. The bralets and bustiers didn’t fit well – so I didn’t pick up any- I wanted to wear one with a saree. However, the skirts were lovely. Boots were a colossal disappointment – they had barely anything that fit my large feet. Plus the designs were very blah.

Anyway, after a bunch of clothes I tried, I ended up buying nothing.The faux leather skirt was awesome – but was I really going to travel in a local train looking like a goth-inspired monkey? Nah. So, reluctantly I placed it back on the shelf I’d borrowed it from.

A lady walked over to me, “Ma’am, would you like me to find you another size?” “No, I murmured, I am just putting it back” How could I explain to her that the skirt fit me like a glove and how I wish it had been too big or too small so my heart wouldn’t tear when I placed it back like that?

So, sheepishly I hailed another rickshaw. And took an hour reaching home. Evening traffic.

A run would’ve been more fulfilling after all.

 

A letter that urges you to dig deeper into your style.

Hey you,

This is a sincere note to you from a nobody in fashion who feels incredibly passionate (anger me enough and I could cry), about it.

Fashion for me is not just about pretty clothes on hangers. As you may have figured if you’ve been reading my blog. It’s more about your personality being interwoven with those pretty clothes on hangers.

Let me explain.

I am not drop dead gorgeous. Neither do I own much designer. I have a rickety cupboard instead of a walk-in closet, and roadside kolhapuris instead of Jimmy Choo’s. I wear dresses handmade from my mother’s dupattas and have clothes as old as 15 years in my daily wardrobe. I am not a size zero, neither am I a curvy model. I don’t wear heels, I don’t like pants and I don’t wear base. I may not be the visual embodiment of fashion but strongly I feel about an interestingly paired look, or a creatively conceptualised ensemble.

To know more about my style and how I choose my clothes, click here.
In a gingham mini dress and gold kolhapuri slippers | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Dress | Blue Cherry, Bangkok

Streetstyle pictures from fashion weeks around the world hold more interest for me than Page 3 columns. And I’d credit a stylist over a celebrity any day. Unique dress sense even to the point of bad taste has more charm in my opinion than a clearly copied top-to-toe look . In other words, individuality is key even when borrowed from an ongoing trend.

Two dangling earrings in a row | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
I tried wearing my danglers in a row

However, all the individuality in the world can’t save you if you look uncomfortable in what you’re wearing. And all the copying can’t bring you down if you wear your look with effortless ease. Which means, the most important thing to remember in this equation is comfort. For with comfort, comes effortlessness. And therefore confidence.

Not comfort, in the traditional sense of the word. Comfort in the mind.

A pair of high heels are most definitely not the definition of comfort, yet there are women who feel not themselves in flats. On the other hand, there’s me, who may feel wonderful in a baggy t-shirt and pyjamas but won’t be “comfortable” going to work in it.

The idea being, in our quest to discover our unique style sense, we need to understand our bodies and minds. We need to know and recognise our “happy” clothes – clothes that make us feel great.

And recognise the “other” clothes too. Those that look supreme on a hanger, and may even look flattering on you; but you’re somehow not comfortable in them and as a result you’re not “you” in them. My advice – avoid those clothes. No matter how hot a pair of tight jeans may look on you and on everybody you know – if you don’t feel great in them – there’s no reason you should wear them on an ordinary day. Of course, there will be days when you feel like testing yourself – reserve these additions for those rare days.

On the other hand, don’t limit yourself to what you’re comfortable with. Take small steps in experimenting with different trends. Buy a piece, see how your mind and body reacts to this, and then slowly integrate it into your personal style, depending on your findings. For instance, the off shoulder neckline, the choker and the slip dress are hot this moment. Dabble in something that’s out of your comfort zone every once in a while and see how it goes.

And if you want to avoid spending money on a trend you’re not sure about, try renting. Flyrobe is one Indian website that lets you rent the best for less. Try it and see.

I for once, go on an experimenting spree every once in a while. I walk to my wardrobe and mull over last-season separates and see how I can layer them to match today’s trends. The slip dress worn with edgy sneakers and boots are very right-now. So, I pick up my strappy 2012 maxi dress and treat it like a slip dress – with boots and an edgy vest.

To read more on how to layer like a pro, click here.

Most of the time, the answers lie not in the stores but in your wardrobes and trunks. Rummage into the old suitcases and mamma’s cupboard this weekend. You never know – your individuality may be lying crumpled between a saree and a moth eaten cardigan.

Wear your heart on your sleeve – be it rainbow colours or floral dresses, giant logos or baggy tees, torn denims or distressed boots, salwar-kurtas or leather skirts. Wear your clothes to add to your personality. To pick up from where your mind left off… To continue the conversation you’re having with the world around you. To express and empower your vulnerabilities. Choose your looks with all the seriousness and lightheartedness of a child out on an adventure. And one last thing, remember to have fun. Otherwise, what’s the point?

P.S: And if you’re just not interested in fashion, well that’s OK too. As long as you’re being you and oiling the machinery of your beaming personality.

 

 

 

8 times Kangana gave us serious wardrobe envy.

My last post focused on giving you tips on how to get Kangana’s look. It didn’t do that well, to be honest. So, this time, I’m just going to upload a selection of Kangana Ranaut’s finest (and most wearable) airport looks, and I want you guys to tell me your favourites.

Look 1: Don’t be afraid to play matchmaker. Pop your neutrals with yellow and be prepared for unexpected results.

Kangana Ranaut wears a blue gingham check skirt with a graphic printed tee, yellow jacket and pale blue Oxford shoes | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Image borrowed from PinkVilla.com

 

Look 2: Throw on a neutral overcoat and matching heels over your favourite outfit. Go from sweet to stylish in seconds.

Kangana Ranaut wears a Neutral overcoat with matching heels to tone down a green outfit | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Image borrowed from highheelconfidential.com

 

Look 3: Tough love. Punch your toughest, military-inspired look with polka dots for a happy surprise.

Navy blazer, skinny pants, black derby shoes, polka dot shirt and black sunglasses worn by Kangana Ranaut | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Image borrowed from http://st1.bollywoodlife.com/

 

Look 4: Princess meets boho. A flowing white maxi dress assumes effortless-cool when worn with neutral flats and a slouchy bag.

White hippie boho princess dress worn by Kangana Ranaut | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Image borrowed from http://www.fashionlady.in/

 

Look 5: Retro Cool. Don’t be afraid to try on a new hairstyle every once in a while.

Kangana Ranaut wears a check dress with a jacket, spectacles and nude Oxfords. Her hair is done up in a baby bun | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Image borrowed from MissMalini.com

Look 6: Country-girl chic is always in style. Wear a hat, thick glasses and carry a book (you don’t have to read it 😉 ) to complete this look.

Kangana wears a midi dress in checks with dark derby shoes, a hat and a sling bag | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Image borrowed from http://www.beautyandfashionfreaks.com/

Look 7: Layering done well. Wear a white shirt dress under another dress to turn heads.

Kangana wears a white shirt dress under a red printed dress | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Image borrowed from: http://thethriftychicgirl.com/

Look 8: Neutral accessories and a dark lip take this plain grey dress to dizzying heights.

Kangana Ranaut wears a grey sleeveless dress with neutral accessories and a dark lip | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Image borrowed from images.indianexpress.com

 

Well, that’s it for now. Do comment below and let me know which look you like best.

🙂 🙂 🙂