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Dad, I & Taylors

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Thyagarajan, Feb 12, 2024.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: Dad, I & Taylors :hello:

    After waiting for long, my Dad at last got his Deepavali Hamper & cash bonus from hands of his boss ss Vasan. It was just a day prior to Deepavali festival.
    After providing for new cotton clothing for my junior sister and saree blouse for Amma, he was left with funds just sufficient for shirting for himself and me.
    While chinnalambatti saree-blouse for mom and cotton சீட்டி pavadai ( petticoat) set for my young sister were quickly purchased, shirting for him and me he toured a bit and finally purchased from shop closer home -General stores at pycroft's road-Triplicane.

    He took me to a forty plus old gents' taylor shop established decades ago situated in a rotting vegetable cum mutton market proximity to our home.
    He handed my checkered-brown Cotton shirting-cloth and said in tamil "Panicker - take shirt measurement for the boy and get it stitched to deliver by evening".

    Panicker with tobacco stuffed in mouth, measured the shirting cloth with his inch-tape & returned the cloth back into the hands of dad, telling "this cloth is not sufficient for stitching a slack shirt for the boy".

    Dad was confident that he had purchased sufficient cloth and held Panicker's statement dubious. He politely bade good bye to him.

    We proceeded to another young taylor new to the locality who had set up shop recently in the adjacent lane. Dad made the
    request. He with a smile, took measurement of cloth and my body as well. Then he said shirt will be ready by next day
    4 am and stitching charges would be Re 1 & 4 annās.

    Dad as usual, haggled for substantial reduction in stitching charges and taylor reluctantly agreed to charge Re one.

    Then he took me to Mount Road round-tana where at its centre there was a tall bulky black-stone-statue of then stodgy-podgy chief-minister Kamaraj. The index finger of right hand of Kamaraj was pointing to a sindi-taylor shop adjacent to a British-time English movie theatre "New Elphinstone".

    Dad & I entered the shop. A diminutive sindhi proprietor, full of glee received us with open arms. Dad handing his immaculate sanforized white cotton-shirting to him, said "stitch a full sleeve bush-shirt for me and deliver it by 8 O'clock today evening . For the taylor - my Dad was a VIP because he had secured for him annual
    costumes-stitching-contract for salaried artists of Gemini film producer ss vasan - then known for box-office collection hit movie
    CHANDRALEKA.
    So, he must hv decided to accord over-riding priority for stitching dad's shirt and so said "ok Sir. The stitched shirt shall be delivered as you please" and added that the bush-shirt would be ready around 9pm.

    It was 2 in the bright afternoon at home. I was longing to join my street friends to play street cricket in somewhat warm breeze and later be content with watching few of them 'lighting' the crackers.
    It was lot of fun to watch boys and little girls attempt to light crackers and their rechecking half-burnt wicks whether spark is still on or off in already wick extinguished.

    Urchins of the locality would pick up those crackers which did not ignite immediately after lighting them.
    Once a boy picked up and pocketed a cracker that did not explode after lighting it. But alas after shoving it into his already bulged pocket of half trousers the bloody bomb exploded. Many cheap crackers were only damp squib and never used to get lighted easily with help of burning incense stick. Perhaps they were all exposed to dews of dawn.

    Dad instructed that he & I must go to Taylors and collect the stitched shirts in good time.

    I was looking forward to the next day to dawn and the anointed body hot-water- wash preceded by chewing betal leaves -வெற்றிலை, followed by swallowing Digestive paste ( தீபாவளி மருந்து) & then to wear the new shirt to enjoy munchings snacks & sweets
    & to get excited in watching glowing soft sparklers lighted by others.

    Dad and I walked up to the
    sindhi taylor shop exactly at 9pm. Proprietor Tekchandani (T) came running to welcome us with open arms.

    Dad and I were looking at tbe thick glass-topped cutting table.His white shirting-cloth was jutting out from a hindi newspaper role. Dad seemed exasperated at the sight of his shirting lying in the news paper role.
    He said tad loudly in anguish
    "Oh My God! Only few hours for the festival and you are yet to scissor my shirting. You would deliver only for next year Deepawali".
    Tekchandani neutralised dad's fear with endearing words and was full of smiles ear to ear.
    "Sir that is not your shirting cloth. Your shirt is ready. One moment ".
    He pushed aside a blue curtain; went behind and shouted to some one and spoke few words ought to be in sindhi. Then returning to us said "sir, it is ready: only buttons are to be stitched. I trust you had finished your dinner yet?" Dad ignoring his false concern, simply said,
    "Ok. Ok. I shall wait".

    A glossy dog-eared decade old English Vogue magazine was lying on thick glass top. I got busier looking at the athletic image of man in full brown suit on its wrapper.

    T offered us drinks in "kali" mark heavy glass-bottle that contained glass-marble stopper. Dad declined the offer. He also didn't allow me too to take it.

    A while later, T handed the just pressed warm full-hand-shirt. There was no trial room. In presence of me & T, Dad tried it immediately in that narrow passage.
    He Looked at the image of himself in a life size mirror fixed at the entrance. T was helping dad to button the shirt. But then I giggled and could see only dad's eyes turned red - result of controlling his anger that was reaching paroxysmal.

    He stared for a while at T and softly told him, "Look Mr.T. Do I not look like buffoon in this shirt you made".
    His index finger pointing to the Kamaraj statue opposite,
    said, "You took my measurement and stitched shirt for Kamaraj?"
    Glowing in yellow light, Kamaraj statue seemed to be smiling at us.

    With mounting disappointment, we walked homewards.
    We woke up at 3am the next day. Mom urged us to be quick with rituals assiciated with this Gangasnan-bath: that sacred hot water warmoil-bath. Tamarind washed Copper-boiler crossed the mind.

    To collect my shirt, dad and I went to the young taylor shop. A toddler at that hour giggling around was already wearing a brown-chequered slack shirt made probably from my shirting.
    My shirt was ready. He delivered it with a smile . Dad applied tiny damp dots of turmeric & vermilion to the collar corners of the shirt and gave it to me to wear it there itself. I was ecstatic to wear it immediately. Dad and I were satisfied.

    Instead of going home, dad made me walk to that taylor Paniker shop.

    Taylor Panicker with heavy eye-lids was still busy at his stitching machine.
    Dad drew his attention and hugged me closer to himself and said, "Look here Panicker. Look here - you said cloth was not sufficient. But other young taylor stitched shirt not only of correct size for my boy but also made shirt from surplus cloth for his boy too.
    Panicker was unperturbed to my dad's acriminious statement but answered it by another question.

    "What is the age of that boy of other taylor?"

    Exasperated - dad answered "TWO years".

    Panicker instead of retorting, calmly averred
    "Sir, My boy is NINE years old".
     
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  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Hello Dear @rgsrinivasan
    Delighted with your granting “like” here.
    Trust you are keeping robust health and all vital parameters are within required level. Last we discussed your thread about sugar and your sprints. I am sure you are following routine or regimen. I hope you continue with fenugreek soaked overnight included in your lunch.
    God bless.
    Thank you for ropping here.
     
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  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Thyagarajan Sir,

    Thank you for sharing your Deepavali experience many decades back. You brought great memories of getting the Copper Boiler ready, my mom making sweets and savories in a wood-log fueled stove, arrangement for us to sit in a wooden seat at the ground and my father applying oil in our hair, my brother and I taking bath after that, and come back to collect our shirt and short. After wearing the brand new shirt and short, we used to prostate to my parents to get their blessings. My father will start Paramacharya's discourse sharp at 6 a.m. in the radio with no televions those days. Around 7 a.m., my mother and I will visit friends and relatives to distribute sweets and savories she made and take blessings from the elders.

    It is so funny that the taylor answered his son is 9 years old and the cloth was not adequate for yourself and his son. He was transparent. I laughed spiling my morning coffee after reading the line your dad showed Kamarajar Statue telling the taylor that he stiched it for Kamarajar instead of him.
     
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  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you @Viswamitra
    Your response is more nostalgic indeed especially the rigmarole of GANGSSNAN and its sequel. When spouse & I about to leave attired in new clothing with sweets and snacks to elder's house, our neighbour 's son with his young wife were entering our home with a platter . We welcomed them with open arms and retreated to our home. Receiving their platter, as we blessed them they benedicted at our feet.
    The surprise was there was also a booklet of Bhagavat Gita on the platter they presented.
    Another interesting point is late PM Nehru initially refused to inaugurate the unveiling statue of Kamarajar who was alive and then CM of MADRAS.
    Later when he addressed a huge gathering at island grounds near the oldest Gymkana club, my dad held me by hand walked to the meeting. I was awestruck but couldn't follow what Nehru spoke for almost one hour and a half. Dad used to take me to marina beach meetings held by other opposition parties and that is where I heard for first time speeches of Annadurai, Karunanidhi, Kamaraj and other senior leaders. As a school boy, I enjoyed their oratory without any party affiliations and later imitated them for amusement of others. DMK leaders spoke chaste tamil in alliteration and they got applauded for uttering diabolical lewd humour. Only One - China annamalai - used to speak humorously but no lewd.
     
  5. Thyagarajan

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    Part of the story under a different title stands published in Bengalru edition Deccan Herald dt 13 th Feb, ‘24.

    Sartorial slip ups
     
  6. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for asking about my health @Thyagarajan. I am doing fine and still continuing my walking. I did check for 3 continuous quarters and found my vital parameters to be stable. So I am advised to test possibly once in 6 months as long as I continue my regular walking.

    Coming to this snippet of yours - Yes, it did bring a bit of a nostalgia. Being the last kid and a pampered one, I always got new clothes for Diwali and Pongal and was actually boasting on how many I had, till I was 12 or so. Once I got 6 new pairs of trowsers and shirts and all were stitched and delivered on time. Alas, my grandma passed away that year just a few days before Diwali, so I was crestfallen, as you could have understood by now. Nice snippet! -rgs
     
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  7. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for that update on your health. God Bless
     
  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    I tag sister @maalti who seemed to have missed this story. I wish she reads and comments here.
     
  9. maalti

    maalti Gold IL'ite

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    Nostalgic one. Those days most of our homes were like that. Last minute purchases and stitching. The snippet was sprinkled with humor throughout and the twist at the end was so unexpected and hilarious. Regards
     
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  10. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi sister @maalti thank you for feed back.
    Indeed nostalgia is elixir for old age exuberance and energy and even being alert to some extent.
     
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