by Natasha Badhwar

Red Polka‘s ‘aww-some’ edition- Cherubs’ Trunk this week is filled with adorable stuff for kids, you can buy. For our #TuesdayTale we invited Natasha Badhwar to be our storyteller. Badhwar is the mother of three beautiful daughters. She is a columnist, a film-maker and a design entrepreneur. Her fortnightly column in Mint Lounge is called “My Daughters’ Mum“. We totally dig her narrative and captivating writing style. Today she shares some scintillating nuances that make her relationship with her daughters a special one. She shares a slice of her life, and tells us all about her girls (little women, as she calls them), her shopping habits, and everything about all the kids in her family! Read on, you’ll go “awww”!

I am the mother of three little women between the ages of 6 and 12. Contrary to expectations, children’s clothes salesmen don’t like me. I will enter a store and they will follow me around for a bit.

They want to know the age of the child I’m buying for. They want to know if I want to buy for boys or girls, whether I want formals or casuals. They want to guide me in the way they are trained to do. The correct answer is usually that I want to buy something for every category. The ages of children I shop for is 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 12, 14 and 16. Some of them are girls, some are boys. Nimit, Ananti, Naseem, Janki, Madhav, Mannat, Soledad, Aliza, Zara, Sahar, Aiman, Areeka, Adit and Adya. There is always a new baby in some direction of my life. This is just family. Stylish children from 0 to 16 years old.

There will always be a little girl who only wears cargo pants, a boy who wants the same colours as his twin sister, a child who wears princess gowns casually every day after school and at least one who wants only a certain cartoon character on all his or her clothes. Usually I just need the salesmen to back off and calmly answer my questions. It overwhelms them.

Children express so much of who they are and who they want to be through their choice of clothes and shoes. I had no idea they would be such stakeholders in their own style quotient.

SENSE OF STYLE

My daughters have gone through all kinds of style phases. Aliza is 10 and has been in a T-shirt+Capri+Crocs phase for about two years now. She is the same child who had the longest “Princess phase.”She would return from Nursery school and get into her little silk saree and then cycle in great circles in the living room and courtyard. She would wear her frilly gowns, a crown and magic wand and then go to play in the sand pit. Her sandals had to have coloured stones and ‘diamonds’.

Currently Aliza is a plain T-shirt and crocs kinda girl. Even when she has to attend a wedding in the family. On her 10th birthday, my first-born daughter, Sahar wore the dress that my cousin had designed for my 10th birthday. My mother had kept it safely all these years. What an emotional milestone that was, being celebrated through a dress passed on through generations. A white frock with a peplum bodice and little red strawberries sprinkled all over. The buttons are little apples.

Naseem, our youngest daughter is a designer. She draws self-portraits and sketches her family constantly, spending a lot of time detailing our outfits. Naseem will stop at a window display in the local mall and tell me, “Mamma, take a picture of this dress and tell Rohitbhaiya to make it for me.” Rohit Bhatia is our friend and my partner in my online fashion venture, Ochre Sky. She will follow up with Rohit later and tell him the changes she wants. Naseem is six years old.

SPECIAL OCCASIONS

The bonding between daughters and their mother as we adjust dupattas and pallus in a restroom mirror is very special. Here we are all dressed up to attend their Uncle’s wedding in Benaras. The Chatapati Luckawi shararas and dupattas are gifts the children have received from their aunts.We are very lucky to be surrounded by family who brings us outfits as gifts from all parts of the world.

Special occasions come in all types of hues. Naseem’s excitement at buying her first pair of school shoes is unparalelled. I had to takeout my phone and take photos.

TREASURES FOR LIFE

I hoard baby shoes. I used to buy them all the time. There is nothing more precious than baby shoes. Those little feet learning to walk and become independent. Running away from mamma and then running back into her arms.

NATASHA BADHWAR

Natasha Badhwar is a columnist, film-maker and design entrepreneur. Her online fashion venture is called Ochre Sky.

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