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Story Time: Wearing it right

September 09, 2017


Sylvia was sitting on the couch in the living room. Her sister sat by her side, applying nail polish on her nails, observing and disliking it, and then removing it.

“Come on,” said Sylvia. “It’s time to get ready. We’ve only an hour before the tea party starts.”

The two sisters and their parents had been invited to a grand tea party at a family friend’s house. Sylvia went off to her room. She opened the bedroom door and a gust of cold wind hit her. She gave the air-conditioner an approving look and made her way to the walk-in closet.

“What shall I wear…” she wondered. Sylvia had a remarkable sense of dressing. In 40 minutes, the two sisters were in the car with their parents. They soon reached their destination.

“Simple yet stunning,” was a compliment Sylvia got from one of her friends at the door. Shortly afterwards, the tea party started. It had been arranged in a hall on the first floor of the house. The hall was quite spacious, but due to the large number of guests who had been invited, this feature of the hall was overshadowed.

Sylvia quietly sat in the company of some acquaintances. She ate cake and sipped tea, lost in thoughts. ‘It’s relaxing when one’s on one’s own,’ she said to herself. ‘But sometimes, the calmness one feels when one’s amidst a crowd of happy people is beyond description… ’

Suddenly, she was brought back to reality from the land of thoughts.

“A big mistake,” someone had said. “A party in such weather is not appropriate.” It was the host of the party.

“It’s very hot,” somebody else remarked. “The air conditioners can’t keep up with the heat.”

Sylvia smiled. She looked at the woman who had spoken and instantly, she knew why the woman was not feeling comfortable. Sylvia saw that she was sitting in front of a window, in the full glare of the evening sun, which was very warm that day. Moreover, the woman was draped in a black dress.

Sylvia sighed. Seeing people wearing dark colours in the summer always irritated her. Then she had a flashback about when she had seen another person wearing the wrong kind of dress at the wrong time.

It was her aunt’s wedding. It was a winter’s night and Sylvia had worn a shawl around her shoulders all the time because the heating system wasn’t very effective against the low temperature. One of Sylvia’s cousins had worn a dazzling dress, but Sylvia thought she looked silly and was right. The dress was made of chiffon and had no sleeves. Of course, people had said that the dress was stunning. It was, but it wasn’t suitable for the time of the year.

“How do I look?” the cousin had asked Sylvia with chattering teeth.

“Well ...” she had said, her mind searching for the right words, “... the dress is very pretty.” And the cousin had gone off to ask the other girls the same question, beaming.

Sylvia shook her head and the memory drifted away from her mind. She looked round the table. Everyone was silent.

“Madam?” Sylvia asked the woman in the black dress.

“Yes, my child?” she said.

“You’re feeling warm because you’re wearing black. It has a high tendency of absorbing heat. Black is not a colour to wear in summer, especially in this part of the world.”

Sylvia’s last sentence was received with a sudden outburst of anger from the people sitting round the table.

“Black is the only colour I like!” someone said.

“Black is the colour for life!” said another.

“Black is deep and classy,” was another comment.

“I’m not saying that black is not a good colour,” explained Sylvia. “It’s just not appropriate when the temperature is high. It’s the same with all dark colours, not just black. Colour have a profound effect on us and we just need to give a little though to the time of the year when selecting the colour of clothes. Now if you will excuse me.” saying this, she got up and walked away, her peach dress looking beautiful in the orange light from the setting sun.

Published in Dawn, Young World September 9th, 2017