A fashion Designer at 8


Decades ago, I was 8. Now, my older one is. I have zero memory of myself or of thoughts and passions as an 8 year old. I doubt I had any dreams at all. But looking at my daughter makes me aware of the exposure and maturity that an 8 year old possesses. It’s delightful to be around her and hear her talk. Once in a while we go for a mother-daughter walk, albeit, triggering instant jealousy among the ignored souls at home. But we take it with a pinch of salt. And there are times, when it’s just Shonu and me en route some destination. The Indian traffic offers excellent opportunity for bonding over with anybody locked in the privacy of your automobile. In a world, where we usually seek attention on either whatsapp or facebook, a drive could change your life.


Last week, as we were getting back from the dentist, Shonu decided to talk about her future. She has had a variety of career choices ever since Kindergarten. At age 4 and 5, while I may have probably indulged in playing, eating and sleeping, my little princess started off with a relay race of dreams beginning with becoming a Doctor at age 3(thanks to the influence of Dr.Siva from Singapore and Doc McStuffins), a Fashionista at 4(a runway in Singapore helped her strengthen her beliefs), a Teacher at 5(thanks to Ms.Tina at NPSI), an Art Teacher at 6 (we owe this one to her trainers at Little Artistes, Singapore), a Gymnast at 7(with swinging and hanging at every other monkey bar) and the latest seems to be a Fashion Designer. And this one seems to intrigue her the most. This time, she isn’t alone. She has roped in her little sister (who by the way loves to ape Didi at every skill, no matter what her true calling is. She is the best copy cat ever, and a real sweetheart). Then there are her cronies. They get a solid one hour in the morning and another in the afternoon to sketch their dreams on their way to and from school.


So on this drive back from the dentist, she mentioned she is going to start a fashion house after she grows up. And it shall involve three more people – Aadya, Awanee and Tanishka. The conversation that followed made my day.


Surabhi: We are going to do this together because it’s always better to have more people to work together. So where do u think I should start my shop? Paris?


Me: It’s a great idea and I am impressed. But wouldn’t you rather begin where you live? You know the people and their tastes and you know the place, etc. why not create credibility locally first and then expand!!


Surabhi: (Dreaming away and ignoring my banter): But Mumma, tell me, what is the best place for fashion in the world? Isn’t it Paris?


Me: Yes and Prague and Milan….


Surabhi (dismissing Prague and Milan as undiscovered planets): So you too like Paris right?


Me(discovering, there is little I can do to get heard): Yes… I do


Surabhi: I am so happy, now that you have also said Paris. I know I have never been to Paris, but the way I feel about it and the way I think, I really want to be in Paris.(I wonder how Paris is so fascinating. The last I knew, they were learning the map of India at school)


And Mumma, it doesn’t matter where we live. I shall always be in touch with my friends. And while they are growing up, they may come across others with similar dreams and they can join in as well. And I want my shop to be like a chain. Like Bata… it’s going to be there all over the world.


And Mumsee, if I decide to get married, if…. and if I have kids, do you know what I am going to do? (giggles) I am going to ask my husband to sit at home and watch the kids. But I will never stop working.


Me: Wow… now that’s something I should have done!! But you do need some break since you are the one that gives birth.


Surabhi: That’s fine. Since there are going to be others looking after the shop, and we aren’t going to have babies at the same time.


As we reached home, the conversation faded into my mundane chores. But it managed to leave me smiling away, wondering how much children think. While I am nagging and yelling my lungs out to get them to do their daily chores, they are probably lost in their world of dreams; planning the next move, dreaming of that next shop.


I felt good but forgot all about this conversation over the next few days. But life is full of surprises. Soon, Surabhi came up with the idea of creating a dress for Aadya as a birthday gift. I was thrilled but pretty sure the idea would wither away in reality. However, the girls were hell bent. They took it up seriously and came home determined. Surabhi and Awanee were all set. They had ideas of their own. Surabhi had a sketch ready in a matter of minutes. It was a lovely design with a single side sleeve and an uneven flair. I loved the spirit and provided some suggestions, a piece of satin, some leftover golden lace and other bare necessities.


They used a dress of Aadya’s to measure up. Next, they used a newspaper to create the cutout of the dress, used it to create an outline on the cloth, cut it and sewed it…. They got it wrong, they went back and forth a few times, but finally nailed it!


In a matter of 2 evenings, the girls actually came up with a beautiful original design, fitted Aadya into it on the evening of her birthday. It turned out beautiful. A moment of success, a step towards their dreams, for right now. It’s a big leap. I felt great their dreams aren’t just like bubbles in the air. They are real and the girls are willing to work for them. They sacrificed their playtime, worked it out and cleaned up the mess too. I am sure they have it within to shine!! At age 9, she may begin to love something new. And we shall spend the year mastering yet another trade. But I am so glad she dreams !!


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