Posts Tagged ‘clothes’


November 20, 2017

That old, almost-falling-to-pieces kaftan…slipping into it, when the day is done, is like nestling in the arms of one’s mother, a gentle lover….or the lap of the Almighty. The kaftan accepts my bumps and bulges; it comforts my bruised and cut skin; it welcomes me home. So…if I open the door to you in a tatty piece of attire,remember…I am wearing my CGH….Cotton Garment of Heaven.

Design matters in the smallest of things…

March 6, 2013

I buy a certain brand of bra, which has adjustible straps, and a plastic doohickey to connect the bra to the strap.

I wore my newest one, and got the feeling that there were pins in the bra. (No laughing,folks, that’s REALLY what I felt.)

So I took it off and inspected the bra carefully, and

bra strp 040313 stl photo DSC01527.jpg

These doohickeys are obviously pressed in a series, and then broken off and fitted to the bras…in the process, no one thought of that tiny, sharp “thorn” on the piece, which would dig wickedly into soft skin.

Why can’t our manufacturing process use a little imagination? Oh…no…that would make them HUMAN!

I had to heat up a knife and melt that spur off….ah, the relief!


February 17, 2013

Terraces….I look at the houses around me in St.Louis, and this is one feature I miss…all these houses have sloping roofs, so that the occasional snow can slide off. However, in India, most houses and apartment buildings are topped by flat terraces, which have multiple uses, and which add to the rich texture of life in my country.

The first use is, of course, to harvest all that solar energy that hits the rooftop of the house. Women bring their vegetables, pickles, and fritters to be dried in the sun, and the terrace of a home is often a delight for a small child, with delicious tibits spread out on mats. Some children are also given the job of guarding these self-same tidbits against marauding crows and sparrows, with the promise of a small reward (augmented, of course, by regular samplings!)

The terrace is the place (no longer true in apartments, alas!) where the family’s washing is brought up to be dried, by free solar power. Who has not been entranced by the lines of colourful clothes billowing in the sunlight!

Terraces have always been associated with love, which often is carried on under the guise of all the activities above! Those who are caught up with the mundane details of life in the lower floors, often come up to indulge in romance….the young girl spreading out the sarees on the clotheslines often lifts up her eyes to the young man teaching his younger brother to fly a kite…

Unfortunately, the terrace in a building is quite a public space, and other people (epecially children) delight in spoiling the mood of the lovers.

Here’s a song with children playing voyeurs…” mottai maadi mottai maadi love jodi love jodi”…terrible lyrics, but the song is fun!

ThanimayilE inimai kANa mudiyumA (Can you find sweetness in loneliness?)

Many Muslim houses also keep their “kabootharkhana” (pigeon nests) on the terraces, and its beautiful to see the birds fluttering up in unison against the morning or the evening sun.

The terraces of old houses have given rise to many romances, and many songs are pictured on terraces. Here’s a beautiful song set on a terrace:

Here’s a nice cartoon about love-on-the-terrace:

terrace 220213 photo terrace.jpg

With shamiyanas constructed on them, terraces also used to make a good place for food to be served during family weddings, in the days when weddings were held at home.

I remember, so many of us together, during the Leonid showers a few years ago, or when there were lunar eclipses, gathering with chai and snacks to watch the celestial spectacles.

Even today, in an apartment building, a terrace is often a kind of common space where neighbours can meet and spend a little time together. On a terrace, one is somehow apart from, and above, the cares that oppress one down below. The perspective and the view are different, and it’s a good time to enjoy oneself, or introspect….

Given this social history of terraces, it’s a pity so many builders just put a lot of water pipes on the terraces of apartment buildings, and completely spoil what could be a great place to gather and socialize. I do love terraces, as an extension of Indian habitation.

September 11, 2011

My daughter asked her aunt to get GD some baby underwear. She called back, saying that baby underwear tends to have….er… crappy messages on it.

We figured it couldn’t be too bad, and asked her to get it anyway. She read one out…..

“I am enjoy boy”.

I still remember the one I bought for A, all those years ago, which said, “Haste Makes Wsste”…right across the seat of the pants!

The ridiculousness of these tags…

May 22, 2009

I remember, a few years ago, kalyan telling me that the hottest things were “tags”. You could tag your entries and photos and be able to locate them instantly. Great stuff.
But there are some very idiotic tags, too…and those are the ones attached to all the clothes and cloth-based stuff that we buy nowadays.

When I was young, my tailor would sew on a discreet tag on the inside of my blouse, but it would be sewn to the blouse on all four sides.

Nowadays, however, every item that’s made of cloth must needs come with not one but TWO tags. One, of course, is the one you wish you could let hang out, because it displays the oh-so-cool brand of the item of clothing (and also shouts out loud the high price you have paid for it.) Alas, not all brands have cool logos like the little crocodile, which is easily visible and doesn’t need a tag!

The seoond tag is the one that has to say what material the item is made of, and washing/cleaning/drying/care instructions for it.

I am sure that there are a group of sadists in every garment manufacturing facility who sit and ponder where these tags can provide the maximum discomfort to the wearer.

If one tag is down the side seam of a garment, wouldn’t you think that the logical place for the other tag is ALSO there? Of course not.

It *MUST* be a nice, stiff, pokey tag, jutting out from the back of the neckline, where it can poke you and poke you and poke you throughout the day and remind you that you ran over budget with this stupid “Gup” tee shirt or that idiotic “Spike” polo.

Here’s a little washcloth we bought for Eli; I have photographed a pencil on it for size reference.

tag on cloth 220509

Just look at the size of the tag on that cloth! Removing the tag from such cloths has become the bane of our lives now. D says probably there is a law against removing tags and I will be jailed without the option of a fine if the garment manufacturers find out I have been snipping off tags!

WHY cannot the tags be sewn down on all four sides, when they will cease to be an abomination and a nuisance? WHY must they stick out so pokily?

I want to know if, when these tags are manufactured, they come with tags of their own…

The Clothes

August 3, 2008

The clothes you wore are gone
But not the person.
You left us, but I still find you
In the dim recesses of my memories
As scenes from our shared childhood
Flash across my mind.

Why should I feel sad about the clothes you wore?
When I walked in that evening
All I saw was the clothes:
You had gone.

When what’s within is gone,
The human body
Is nothing but a set of clothes:
Skin,limbs, teeth, hair…
A discarded bag of bones.
A flute without its music, a house bereft of its owner.
How does it matter how the shells are disposed of?
Empty cartons need to be thrown away.

So I’ll learn to be content
With my memories….and not miss you.
I’ll learn to be content
With your presence in my thoughts….

I hope that my memories,too,
Will not become faint
With the passage of time…
An aging brain
Drops the clothes of its recollections
And stands bare, or is sometimes absent.

Ultimately, the people we love
Live within us.
They do not have a past tense
In our thoughts.

Why can the heart not accept abstractions
Of death, loss, and bereavement
That the mind can?
Why do we need to hold on?
Why can we not let go?

Messages don’t only come on tee shirts…

July 11, 2008

When I had been on the “pEtEy,kerEy,kOtEy,thOta” heritage walk, I spotted these shirts near the Bangalore Fort…

You may be a celebrity if you wear this shirt, but… autographs!

And in Bangalore, the Software City, it’s appropriate to have a shirt that says…

Pity I didn’t get actual people wearing these shirts!

Colourful textiles

June 30, 2007

I do love the bright colours that  we always prefer, in our clothing and textiles. Textile and saree shops are always so colourful; and here’s a little pushcart I found a few days ago, selling what I would like to call “rainbow towels”

I somehow think there is a connection between the warmth of the climate and the colourfulness of clothes…the brightest hues are to be found in Rajasthan…