By Arushi, @arushilohiya

My fortunate friends, who have taken a leak (well or a dump… Eww) in my bathroom, would have noticed this very out of place, the glamorous red dress hung on the door of the bathroom. And it’s not a one-off case, it’s just always there.

I bought this dress on my 21st birthday. The grand 21st birthday! 21 is 18 by USA standards. I found this dress hanging like an orphan on the walls of a store waiting for destiny to give it, it’s forever home. Well, luckily or unluckily for her… she was going home with me.

Image ©2021 Arushi

On 16 January 2010, the red dress in question made its debut into society. It was my plus-one. The first time I could legally (being the key operative word) step into a bar. In the dim lights, it shined bright. In the loud crowd, it stood out. Among the other misfits in life, it fits perfectly. It danced, it laughed and it basically had the time of its life! It definitely had to! After all, you only turn 21 once…..

And then it got packed and made its journey across continents in a suitcase to come to India in hope of a brighter future, in probably, a dimmer club. A special dress needs an equally special occasion. Today, ‘The Ghost of Red dress past’ hangs on a bathroom door. That is definitely not the fate it was expecting when we recited our vows to each other on that auspicious 16th of January…

Image ©2021 Arushi
Today, the poor little under-used dress just sits there … and waits for its turn…. But little does it know it does much more than waiting…

I hung it there a couple of months ago. Initially, I just thought such a beautiful thing, was getting wasted curled up in the cupboard. So, I took it out just for a bit, just to look at it, because I obviously couldn’t wear it. Well, at least not outside in public….ok..ok I confess! I secretly gave it a test drive when I was home alone.

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I paraded around the entire house wearing this gorgeous dress over hideous pyjamas. That’s the only way it could have been worn. See I have this acute pain in my knees and legs, (apart from the pain I have in 10000 other places, well, thank you ‘Monster F’ aka fibromyalgia). This pain gets better only by compression. So, I have to tie about 8 crape bandages on my legs in order to feel partly functional. Obviously not the best fashion statement! So bye-bye shorts, skirts and dresses and good looking shoes. Therefore, the red dress soon became just a showpiece and found its place on the bathroom door. Today it seems that’s where it was meant to be.

person putting bandage on person s arm
Photo by Stephanie Allen on

Every time I am in the loo and I glance at the dress, I have a mysterious smile. It’s both nostalgic and hopeful. The ‘Ghost of red dress past’ reminds me of a past full of fun, joy, excitement, friendship, love … (obviously the past has its own share of mistakes, stress, grief, heartbreak and failure) but that’s a given, there is no upside, without the downside. Basically freedom, spontaneity, and the ability to do what you want, when you want. In retrospect, the past looks lush green to me. Definitely way greener than the present.

So coming back to the ghost in the bathroom. I could have packed it up, hid it far beyond my reach, but I keep it hung right there in front of my eyes. I don’t want it to be only a reminder of the happy days, I also want it to also be a sign of the happy days to come. A day when I would not need any of these crepe/acs bandages. A day when Monster F will finally lose the fight and will walk out of my life forever. That day I will walk in this red dress who also desperately awaits her comeback.

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I will bid adieu to ‘The Ghost of red dress past’ and embrace ‘The Ghost of the red dress future’ with open arms. Till then, I guess ‘The Ghost of red dress present’ just needs to wait patiently for the fibromyalgia storm to pass….

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