Thursday, June 2, 2011

clogged in London

Can't believe that just two days back, I was in London! A short, sweet stay. Even though one day was spent in drenchings and splatters, and the Thames cruise became a foggy blur, I savoured it. While waiting at the airport to catch the return flight to Chicago, it felt like I had been away for a long long time. But once I landed in O'hare, the London sojourn seemed a distant, misty memory. I wondered why we even bother to make trips, if we are going to feel it never happened! But I also know that things will come back once I unwind. Jetlag had caught up, I guess.

The mind and its ways! In London, I thought I saw my dad in a restaurant! In a mirror facing me, I saw this  grey haired man sitting on a sofa, looking outside, with his head to one side. Just the way my dad used to. Even the frame of his glasses  below the high forehead, looked like my dad's. For a minute, this stupid mind of mine told me, " hey , he was here all along! what were you being sad for??" You won't believe the sudden wave of sheer joy and relief that overwhelmed me to see that he was all right! Then the moment passed, as the man stood up and walked out in front of me, and I felt duped. Not that I was completely unaware of the fact all along -- that my dad was gone forever. It was almost as if I was observing myself, my reactions. But still I can't get over the vulnerability of one's mind. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I really thought it was my dad. That all the sad things that happened were just a nightmare. How easy  it is  for the mind to believe in something that is not there!

Anyway, in case you are wondering about the title of this piece, it is all about clogs. Of the shoe variety. I like to wear them all the time, because as I tell anyone who would listen, they are comfy. You can walk in them as much as you want, and your legs don't tire or hurt. I know some swear by flats, others by sneakers. But I like a little bit of heel in the shoe. And because the front is covered, the toes don't get cold or wet. A small puddle is not a problem if you have clogs on. It is leather. But no matter how much I tout it, my sisters won't buy into it. They say clogs are okay with jeans, but not with skirts, dresses or saris. I know your legs look funny in clogs with skirts and such, but I did not care. Comfort being more important for me. And also, I have this habit of closing my eyes to things I don't want to see or just wishing things away, like if I pretend not to see it, it won't be there!

Well, walking around in London was no different. I wore my trusted pair of chunky clogs all over, with everything. When someone asked me if I was from Paris, I was pleased as punch. Like the clogs, I have a preference in jackets too. I have a favorite leather jacket for not so warm days, and a quilted down one for a little cold days. I wear those with everything no matter what. I walked for hours looking at flowers and gardens at the Chelsea flower show. I had teas and pasties and pub food. My clogs and my quilted jacket made them all even more enjoyable. I was glad I had them, as each gust of cold wind blew around me. I was even gladder for the garment, when I saw a few around me shivering in their trendy, light jackets. :D I could empathize with them poor souls, especially since I had been in their shoes a few times before.

I got back home. Then the photos. And I squirmed painfully in shame as I looked at them. :)I looked like an old bag lady! Especially from the front, the clogs looked ugly with my rather nice dress. And what with the bulky jacket and idiotic scarf, I was a sight! My  young sisters asked me who it was that asked me if I was from Paris! They wondered aloud if he was really in his right senses, if he was a drunkard doing savaasana.  I told them, it looked bad because I was posing for the photos. I should 've been photographed while moving. Then they asked if I meant as if by paparazzi? I said, of course! And I tried to make them laugh saying that the way I was packing for the trip was as if I expected the paparazzi to be clicking away left and right, in a frenzy, the moment I stepped into the airport. haha. But no quips or self-deprecating jokes could alter the fact that I looked style-challenged/positively dowdy, and that it was against their  knowledgeable counsel, over the years. "The dress is good, but the shoes are wrong", I have heard that from them a hundred times. The penalty for sacrificing style for comfort!

At last I conceded that clogs do look bad with certain items of clothing, from certain angles.
But that doesn't mean I will follow their advice! That will be sacrilege, for an Aquarian. :) I cannot dismiss the fact that I am getting older, as well. So clogs aren't remiss, totally. While waiting in line at Manchester airport, we encounter confessors at various points, more than any airports here. I really felt like I was doing confession as I answered the set of questions asked by persons of venerable age. It was the regular "did you pack your bags by yourself" questions. But I couldn't hear a single thing. I did not want to ask them to repeat either. Also my mind kept wandering. So I fired away "yes", "no". "no", "yes", with no rhyme or reason. At the first check point, I did fine. At the second point, the respectable gentleman stopped and looked at me and repeated the question. Then I knew I had said the wrong thing. And corrected myself. No, I don't think my ears were clogged. Of course, air travel wreaks havoc in my ears. But this time it was just because I couldn't hear. I remembered my dad who used to do this, towards the later years of his life -- random yes and no to questions or statements. :)) And I used to get mad, and used to ask him, why can't you listen, dad? Why can't you ask them to repeat?! Now I am in the same state, or country (of old folks).

Clogs and I belong together! :D