The joy of giving (and sneakily taking)

Nothing fishy going on here. I’m just referring to the giving and taking of clothes, and shoes, and bags, and make-up, and books, and board games, and- ok, there are too many things on the list.

You see, I have seven older siblings (that’s one sister and six first cousins), and I’ve been spoilt silly by all of them! The oldest is 20 years older than me, so there’s a whole range of ages among them. I’ve never felt like an older sister to anyone. Not even with my three younger cousins. Even with those that are six years younger than me, I behave their age, and never mine. Or maybe it’s the other way round, where they act my age. I don’t know. But I’ve always felt like one of the youngest in the family and I love it, and love all the goodies that come with it. And I must admit, the goodies haven’t always fallen into my arms. I sometimes just take clothes without anyone’s notice, just assuming that the owners have grown out of it or have forgotten about it. (Ssshhhh…)

A lot of younger siblings may complain about receiving hand-me-down clothes that their older siblings don’t fit into anymore.

Hand me down
They’re all brats like Malfoy

I personally think it’s a boon! For a person who hates shopping, it’s best to receive bags full of clothes without even having to get off a couch. Like right now, I’m wearing:
– A pair of jeans that my mom bought for my sister, but they were too tight for her.
– A pair of cool Adidas shoes, that Anand bought for my sister, they were too tight for her.  (And it’s not like my sister is fat. She’s just one size bigger, but these things just fit me better. )
– A very pretty white sweater that was hidden at the back corner of my cupboard. No clue whose it is. Seems perfect for Winter.

If I assess each piece of clothing in my cupboard, like I have done currently, I will be left with, say, ten pieces that are mine, out of, say, 600 clothes. (Do I have 600? Err.. Counting all the jeans, kurtas, tshirts, tops, skirts, shorts, jerseys, tracks, jackets, sweaters, dresses, gosh, again, too many things to type, but I’m pretty sure I have that many.) 

Take a look yourself.

That’s not all. That is just one of my two cupboards. And I do suffer from a bit of a neatness OCD.

When I went to the US for 45 days, I look 60 different t-shirts. Through out my first PUC, I never repeated clothes. That’s how many clothes I own. And I don’t get them just from my cousins. Even my friends who don’t fit into their school clothes anymore, hand them over to me. In this picture, I’m wearing a sweater that Supriya wore in seventh grade.

Supriya's sweater
Ignore the loud expression

In this picture, I’m wearing a skirt I bought in Delhi in sixth grade.

And I’m at the happiest kiddie birthday party, where I’m playing the witch aunt! (My nephew turned one)

You might wonder how I can wear something so old, something so non-trendy. And I ought to be concerned most about it, considering I’m a lifestyle journalist who writes about fashion. But it’s a really good thing that all old things like high waist pants and bell bottoms are back in vogue. I have so many of them! Not like I wear them though; I stay safe when it comes to fashion. I never try and make a statement. When I dress up well to office, I sometimes get told, “Oh you’re looking nice today. You should dress up like this more often, and less like a beggar.” Believe it or not, I have been told that. That’s one of the problems that comes with over sized t-shirts that belong to six-foot-tall, seven-years-older-than-you cousins.

Anyway, now that I have turned 23, and we have entered a new year, I have resolved (as is the norm) to dress up well everyday. Just for the heck of it. And I have also begun giving away my clothes to my tiny tots – my nieces and my nephews.

I also give away clothes or orphanages. I have so far given away my clothes to kids in Malleswaram and some workers and their kids in my aunt’s factory and also some workers in my doddamma’s hospital. Sometimes, when I’m walking around Malleswaram, I notice a very familiar tshirt or skirt and realise that it used to be mine. It’s such a joyous moment! I shamelessly exclaim to whoever I’m with that “Hey! Look! That used to be mine!” and it makes me happy! It’s the same case with my old toys. Although I’m possessive about some of them, I try and give away the everything. But there are a lot of clothes and objects that are too special to me that I’m saving up for the future, waiting for my niblings to grow up, to be old enough for them, like my first ever keyboard and my first few favourite books. Ok forget the books. I’m going to take them back.

But the best thing is the sharing bit! Especially with my cousins. Everytime someone has a baby, the previous baby’s cradle, pram, clothes, everything shifts to the new baby’s house. And the timing so far has been perfect. When one baby turns two and doesn’t need a cradle anymore, another baby is born! And I love how everything is transferred to different families, irrespective of whether they’re from my dad’s side or mum’s side.

I also saved up my Fairy Tales books from when I was five, or when my sister was five, and my niece Sanjana is reading it right now. I’ll never know who owned the books/toys first, because we have all owned it at some point in time and we all take good care of things. It never really gets old. What’s old for me is new for my niece.

It’s awesomely ironic how all these materialistic things circulate within the family, turning into meaningful family heirlooms.

So thank you SMITHA for filling my cupboard (although you don’t really know how many of your clothes I have in my cupboard and how many times I have raided your cupboard since you’re not here. I intend to return all your clothes to you. Someday.)
Thank you Su, Navu, Swetha, Supriya, Uttara, Hrishi and anyone else who has ever given me your clothes.
And Arav, Aranya, Aryan, Sanjana, Spoorthy, Sukrit, Kritin, Kritheyu (phew that’s too many niblings!), I hope you all understand how important these family legacies are and pass it on, or if not, return them, to me, your favourite Chitti. : P



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