Good enough

When I was studying in UK, one thing that I loved the most was our monthly gathering..It was at the house of doctor who worked in Malaysia for a while. A place to meet, talk and bitch about Malaysia and of course eat some home cooked Malaysian food.
This doctor works three to four months in developing countries each year ( pro bono). He has 6 kids..They didn’t have a TV in their house.. Each evening the family sat in the living room, talked, read books and played games..
Before I went to England, I had my own home, a car and a great life in Malaysia..from that to no car, council flat accommodation and no was a shocking change..
I never checked the price of anything when I was in Malaysia..and ended up going to the local market on Saturday at 3.45 pm..just before the market closes, farmers sell off the vegetables at throw away price, because the market is closed on Sunday and Monday morning new stock arrived.
I think the biggest shock was seeing the money in the bank account depleting drastically every time I withdrew the money..( unlike working time, where the salary was deposited in to the account each month). There was no one else to help financially. whatever money I had in the bank, once it was over..I was done..
Winter clothes was something I never had to buy in Malaysia..Marks and Spencer outlet was walking distance from my flat and I went there..came out thinking, It was now a question of eating food the next few months or keeping warm !!!
And I met this doctor, who told me without any particular reason that he buys his clothes from thrift shops. ( he probably saw that, I was only wearing a sweater and knew soon I would need a winter jacket!!)
Growing up, we sisters, wore each other’s clothes..The only thing I didn’t have to wear was my sister’s bell bottom pants, cause 7 years after she wore it, when it was time for me to wear, pedal pushers/capri pants were in fashion..Amma was not to be discouraged, she kept it for my sister younger to me..and her time, it was the colourful leggings that were in fashion..eventually bell bottoms did come back..( thankfully,after amma donated it to buy steel donate x amount of ‘good’ clothes to receive a steel plate/bowl) and amma was heart broken..nalla oru bellbottom, athum ethra meteru thuni aa upayogiche? veruthe kalanju..
But the thought of wearing second hand clothes..that too from was weird..
But I needed a winter coat..I had no choice but to buy one from the thrift shop.
Before buying it, I smelled it, checked the pockets etc to ensure that it was clean..
then I bought a bottle of dettol..
Then I soaked the jacket in dettol solution.. ( didn’t have money to do laundry)..and had fun, trying to rinse a jacket that suddenly weighed a ton ( after soaking all the water!).. But the trouble didn’t end there. I now had to find a place to hang a jacket that weighed a the water will drain..I did attempt to hang it on the shower curtain..which started to bow in an unholy way..
and I stood in the washroom..for a very long time..holding a very heavy jacket..cursing at my own stupidity..
I was actually going to write about something else..and ended up with this post..
Will do that tomorrow.
Have a great day.

2 thoughts on “Good enough

  1. I remember the ladies in the neighborhood bartering steel pataram for old clothes.

    I think once my mom too gave away dad's old shirts and pants for some steel patarams.

    Ah! good old days of simple living!!

    I gave away bags full of clothes to red cross- no steel patarams..

  2. MS: The boy who came to our house to collect the “good” clothes was about 11 years old. I have often wondered, how he faced his superiors ( the padres who send him from the orphanage)when he had exchanged pathrams for, carefully folded sarees..that was torn but not visible because the way Amma folded them to fool him..or the bellbottom pants..that was so out of fashion..

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