Red for the Diplomat

” How do I look?”

As my elder girl turns to the younger one, for her much respected opinion, I remember my own childhood.

” Try another watch- golden colored,” says the young fashionista, assessing her sister’s ensemble, with narrowed brows.

” Aww..are you sure?”

” Yes. It coordinates better with your dress,” comes the firm reply.

The strange way in which the power balance changes in a moment!

In all other circumstances, the elder one rules, whether it is answering the query on Umbridge’s middle name ( Oh, chechy, are you sure it is Jane? Of course! Go check- Dolores Jane Umbridge and I read it years before, huh!) or clarifying a map location (Mumbai is not in the middle of Karnataka, you goose!) or even picking up the ice cream flavour (chocolate, chocolate and it is chocolate.)

I watch with a hardly disguised glee, as the elder one, becomes putty in two dexterous little hands .

” Your nail polish is red, and the dress is green and red. What about the red footwear?”

The Devil wears a little frock in my house! She will definitely graduate to Prada in a few years too.

My elder girl looks at me helplessly.

” Practice your speech now. The footwear can wait,” I say, officiously.

” Respected Secretary General and Fellow Delegates from across the world..” she begins, and then stops as suddenly.

” Mom, are you sure I should not change my footwear?”

My little girl giggles. Ah! The power of suggestion!

” You are a Ukranian diplomat elaborating on the country’s economic crisis. No one will look at your shoes, dear,” I scowl at the betrayer-in-arms snuggling close to me,looking as if butter would not melt in her mouth.

” The debt pile ..,” I prompt.

” She should wear red,” declares Ms. Anne Wintour in the making. She flicks a dust speck off her frock.

The diplomat changes her shoes.

” And now,” she declares her policy openly, ” I will violate the ceasefire agreement, if you open your mouth till I finish my piece!”

Peace reigns in my house.

My little girl falls asleep as various solutions are presented to the honorable members of the UN.

The diplomat leaves with a grin.

” Ma, when she wakes up, tell her I think she has great fashion sense!”

And that is how, I reflect somberly, global problems are solved within the family. Acceptance and tolerance of differences and strengths, indeed.




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