The town if you could call it was a congregation of a few motley houses, and a church. Though some time back affluent Portuguese families lived here now it was just heritage houses. Charles and his sister charlotte had come to this town as Charles had recover from an accident.
He was the greatest excitement of the congregation. Maria de Tavora had let her house to him. As he was her friend Theresa Almeida’s nephew. Clannishness did run pretty high in the remnant of the Portuguese settlers.
Charles would stroll down each evening from the casa to the church and Karen would walk with him like a puppy following its master.
Before you do get ideas, Karen is good 10yrs. younger than Charles, and the step daughter of Marcus Montero the local brewery owner. The fenny that his brewery produced was one of the finest. Marcus of mixed origin had married Catherine a widow with a daughter after which they had a son of their own. Somewhere the Montero’s forgot the existences of Karen. Karen was the mission of every parish do-gooder women, they even labelled her retard.
Karen wandered the wild of the hills and lived peacefully.
“Don’t you want a career or get married”Charles had once asked her.
“Oh! I do but don’t want to just as yet she had said.”
Today Charles was off to Bombay for his regular check up. As he waited for the local train, Karen looked up at him so longingly, shabby two braids, a trifle tattered trousers and T-shirt she somehow irritated him.
He just hauled her up the train. And bought her ticket off the TC. “You care coming with me Bombay.”
“Tia Theresa. See if you can do something with this kid. “He asked. Tia Theresa was his aunt she had two daughters now settled in Lisbon. If anyone could create magic she could.
Theresa gave Karen a good look. “Lady we are going for an overhaul.”
“I know your mom, she is one of the best dressed women how do walk out with clothes.”
You need formal wear, casual wear, inners, well we’ll leave inner for later. Let’s get a list.
To Karen this whole thing sounded so amazing.
“Do you like skirts or trousers Karen?” Tia asked her,
“Well, I never thought about it. I always wore skirts to school.”
“See what we can get. Let’s get the dressy fellow, next time Charles comes we can stomp round Bandra and pick the street wear.”
To Karen it sounded like Greek and Latin.
“We don’t have time to go shop to shop so off its to shoppers stop”
It was like Aladdin’s cave, colours, cuts, fabric a whole new world to Karen.
Tia summoned a shop assistant, “Give me something young and colourful, we have Cinderella here.”
The shop assistant viewed Karen with a professional eye. “5’7”” good height and good colouring. Let’s go to women’s apparel mix and match how about three bottoms and four tops.
“I presume you have jeans young lady”
There seemed so many each prettier than the other, finally Tia Theresa picked,
One Patiala dupatta from the Taj poetry collection, one dhoti pants from the autumn-winter collection and knitted chuddar.
Trying the clothes on, getting the approval of the storekeeper and Tia Theresa was all new for Karen.
“Now for the tops”said the shop assistant.
A light beautiful flowery kurta from autumn winter collection, a bright coloured Indian one and fusion top, all from Kashish collection.
“Gracey bill it and pack it, I’ll take the girl to Blossom”
Blossom and Tia Theresa debated and deliberated, finally Karen’s length was just left alone with a little trimming and layering. Blossom taught Karen to style her hair. When Karen came back to Tia Theresa she had piled shoes and a handbag.
“Karen my child, try this outfit,”Tia Theresa said giving her one “This is from Biba one of my favourite collections.”
When Charles came round to collecting Karen, she looked so different, with her hair styled, and the new suit that Tia Theresa had gifted her, and the footwear.
Suddenly Charles realized it was not a school kid here, but an adult 21yr. gorgeous woman who stood before him.
“We are late Karen won’t they miss you at home.”
“Oh! I am away for two days no one even notices.”
But something had changed today, Charles, ditched the train and took, Karen by a cab. From the Aladdin’s cave Cinderella had emerged.