Aah the seasonal lawn sale. The quintessential clothfest that attracts the leading ladies of our lives like flies to a honeypot. Lawn. That humble plain weave of cotton, that makes women go gaga every few months. It sure is silky soft to the touch, at least the good ones are. By good I mean pocket-unfriendly. Lawn. The bane of Pakistani men.

Who am I? I happen to be her driver and coolie, I mean her better half. Why am I here? Well I promised to be with her always didn’t I? “Come rain or shine, I will remain by your side”. If only I had experienced a lawn sale before.

I lurk here, outside a fancy lawn store in a popular mall, avoiding the prying eyes of security personnel as my mental toughness withstands the brunt of judgemental stares from female passersby. No, I am not a stalker. I am a father of three, minding my younger two as my wife and daughter disappear inside to find a scarlet or vermilion two piece.

I refuse to believe that Scarlet is a color! Isn’t it a name? Reminds me of Rhett Butler and the Black Widow. And the only time I ever saw vermilion was on a packet of sawaiyyan. When, you ask? During yet another frenzied bout of Eid shopping, that too in Ramzan, during the roza. Oh the sacrifices I make for this woman!

I often wonder what it is in this simple fabric that fascinates them. Is it the geometric or floral (read dizzying or phool pattay) design? Is it the cut and shape of a pret piece? I mean most of these ready-to-wear kurtas don’t even have much form, so to speak, and just hang like laundry on a clothesline. What is it that drives women into this frenzy to reach the shop and just sweep those carefully spaced suits right off the racks. Given the kind of money they make, I am sure the industrious gods of lawn can come up with a system to temper this tempestuousness that their creations seem to evoke among Pakistani women.

And it is never enough. Closets full of lawn joraas are written off as ‘empty and useless’. I mean I have two pairs of jeans that I rotate with a handful of shirts and I am set for life. But my Missus, she will put Iron Man and his House Party Protocol to shame. And not all colors suit her anyway. Farhan’s wife carried that dark red dobby kurta with such class. Of course I can’t dare bring these thoughts to my tongue, lest it spill them out and….

Oh here they come! See how the mere thought of another is all it took for the universe to send my beloved back to me! How sweet. Well all this waiting has made me hungry, time to hit the food court at last. Wait what is she signaling? Those hand gestures, those darting eyes, as she scurries towards me, daughter in tow; did someone snatch her purse? What did I do? Oh so we need to dash to the accessories section of the same store on the lower level? Hang on, more shopping? Didn’t we just finish at this store? More glaring eyes… Oh yes I forgot I do ask a lot of questions. All hail the range and variety of choice at these lawn stores. Sigh! I did this to myself, remember? Signed my freedom away willingly, didn’t I?