Roll Em’ Up Buddy- Life Is Better This Way!

businessman rolling his sleeves
Image used for representation only


All of us, without exception, have our pet peeves.

They are idiosyncratic, personal and whimsical, but they are what makes us, us. Without these little quirks, our lives would be mundane, dull, and drab. Which, I hasten to add, is not to say that these peeves don’t matter. They really truly and do, at least to those of us who have them.

And I am no different in this regard: I have my share of Things I Simply Can’t Abide. I have already, in columns past, alluded to crust on sandwiches, peanuts in pohe as things that simply shouldn’t happen, and in today’s column, I allow you, dear reader, a peek into a peeve of mine in matters sartorial.

Why, could somebody please tell me, should sleeves be buttoned down?

There is, of course, the larger question of why one should wear formals in the first place, but I and the rest of civilization do not see eye to eye on this, and I have made my peace with it. And so I attend conferences and seminars and meetings in a stuffy shirt, when I’d much rather have been at home in a pair of shorts and nothing else. But still, bread must be earned, and so I do it.

I wear the trousers and the shirt and I shine my shoes and I look (just about barely) presentable.

But I will not, by all that is holy, button up my sleeves. For nothing, bar nothing, makes me feel as fettered and cooped up as does a shirt with the sleeves buttoned down.

There is something deeply repulsive and repugnant about having a piece of clothing tied to your wrists – it makes one feel as if one has been handcuffed, and what is worse, against one’s wishes.

And in any case, don’t shirts look immeasurably better on a person with the sleeves rolled up? It lends one an aura of a doer, rather than an onlooker – a person who would rather get involved in the nitty gritties of the problem at hand, rather than somebody would just watch from afar. Not for nothing is the phrase “roll up your sleeves and get to work” a part of the English language.

And so I invite you, dear reader, to join in on my seemingly trivial, but in reality crucial little crusade.

If you are a person who wears formals to work, next time you step out of your home, do yourself this little favour: stand in front of the mirror, stare yourself in the eye, and unbutton your sleeves, and roll ‘em up.

And watch as the weight of the world rolls off your shoulders, and you feel yourself unburdened of care and responsibility.

Put your hands in your pockets, whistle a little ditty, and step outdoors to take the day on. It makes, I assure you, all the difference.

Unless you really want to achieve perfection, of course. In which case, ditch the shirt, don the shorts, and sink back in your chair. That, as far as I’m concerned, is really the best choice of all. But if circumstances do not permit perfection to be attained, aim just a little bit lower, and roll up your sleeves.

You’re welcome.



Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni