Every morning on my way to the tram stop I cross paths with a lady wearing Shalwar kameez. She is going for her morning walk. Each day her outfit is more beautiful and outrageous, by my standards, than the last. Royal blue is mixed with safety vest orange. Fat stripes with sequins.
Her brown sandals and white socks are always decorated with golden leaves that have worked their way up her toes from the footpath undergrowth. Large trees line the street and block the morning sun making the day seem more like night – dark, wet and your footsteps echo.
The last few mornings have been chilly so she now also wears a plain black beanie and gloves, and a purple scarf piled so high on her shoulders I can only see her eyes. Once or twice a sneaky stream of air has escaped the scarf. Propelled by a large exhale, the white mist heads quickly upwards disappearing above her head.
Seeing her makes me smile because I am reminded of being in Bangladesh during winter. Bangladeshi’s have a love hate relationship with the season because they crave the dry air – a stark contrast from the muggy summer days – but the change in weather means more mosquitos, bug spray and electrified bug killing rackets. I wonder if she enjoys winter in Australia?
As I approach her we look each other up and down, but not in the usual way of female rivals. Instead we stare back with respect and admiration. And as I passby I give a quick downward nod to say, ‘I like your outfit.’
Featured image by Rachel Kurzyp.