An Ode to our Good Old Maxi (aka Nighty)

Dear Maxi aka Nighty,

I’m glad that you exist in your sheer simplicity. You were just a white cotton cloth with little blue flowers when I first saw you on my mother who was holding a baby me. I know I puked and made
a mess on my mother’s favourite clothing. But your warmth and acceptance always found a reason for me to wonder at your place in my mother’s heart.

I wasn’t aware that you would become a ‘bheeshani’ for me in the future. I wonder why all Malayali mothers love you equally. Is it because of how you beautifully enhance their curves and hide their postpartum flaws? You are like the comfort zone for all the mothers who feel bad about their postpartum body. The frills, the puffed sleeves, and the ribbons hanging from either side bring out all shades of femininity. Unlike society, you let them know that there is a safe space inside you where insecurities can’t seep through. You bring the best out of all the woman, a personification of “make your flaws into pros “.

You are my go-to place to find that chain of safety pins pinned in an unfashionable manner.
That dejected stare that I get while I steal one away from my mother’s maxi is enough to make me feel guilty.


You are always there for my mother, providing her with all the little things she needs from your
little pocket. When you have an apron on, I’m the happiest. I know that my amma is cooking
something with love.

You are flowy and breezy, comforting and playful. Though I despise your insane colour
contrasts and patterns, I still love you for bringing colour to the lives of those strong women
around me. Though I despised you for being my mother’s best friend, I knew how she felt as I had my chance to adore you.

Amma would stitch me mini versions of the maxi. Back in the day, it was like a punishment for me to wear it. Forgive me, but you were too feminine for me to wear.

I am jealous of how my mother rushes back home to be with you after an event; An exasperation to throw away the constricting clothes, only to adore the flawless you. While she introspects about the event that happened and the normalised jokes she had to hear, you stood by her side and absorbed all of the grief.

Sometimes you are tucked in a little knot on one side, sometimes you hug the dirt and dust around her, sometimes you are her resort after a long day’s journey. She stores and adorn this love even when it is faded and tattered. She finds a reason to keep you till eternity, even after you are outdated. How do you manage to be this confident even after having all of these stains?

From nighty to ‘thadathuni ‘, you still prove to be my mothers best child. Still, after all these ‘prahasanams’, you continued to love me, to work this relationship out unlike other people in my life. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have come to terms with my feminity, with my shapeless body. Now when I’m in my late 20’s, you and your patterns make sense to me. Maybe its the familiar warmth of family or the solace you unconditionally provide.

I look back curiously at the instances in my childhood when I refused to wear you. I haven’t seen anybody with the qualities of my mother but I now know someone (something) that feels like her, like home.

Thank you,
Your ardent admirer!

Arja Dileep
In an attempt to balance between the aesthetics of an aspiring writer and the goofiness of a kid.


  1. Hahah yessss, maxis were my best friends during the final trimester and early postpartum days. Enjoyed reading this one, Arja!

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