Will somebody please relieve me from the tyranny of my truant tailor? Is there a law against causing mental anguish to menopausal women who are already being whacked by galloping hormones or the lack of them? Can I please use my menopausal mood swing as a legit excuse to land a tight one on the said tailor’s chubby cheek, if and when he comes calling?
Three days to go for the launch of my new book and I am completely panic stricken. Not by the prospect of taking Devi Diva or She Devil to the market but by the fact that the man who promised to tailor half a dozen of my blouses has disappeared into thin air. I have known him for the longest time-20 years maybe- and both he and I have gone from young, hopeful, enthusiastic people in the pink of health to fairly plump folks with receding hairlines, worry lines on the forehead and droopy mouths. In my case, all of the above physical traits have been largely been the result of worrying about the curious case of my missing clothes. Yes, even the plump part of me- when I am stressed, I am prone to eating 6 gulab jamuns or laddoos or cheesecakes or whatever else is available in the fridge. I don’t know what caused the tailor any of these symptoms considering that he hardly does any work and has a wife who feeds him despite his laziness.
The said tailor, meanwhile, is very much like the money in my bank: Here today, gone in a heart beat. He turns up at my doorstep at the oddest hour- usually one in afternoon – and meticulously takes measurements for the blouse. He looks at me with the most sincere eyes ever and promises to deliver the blouses within a week. He then sloshes tea into a saucer, slurps it noisily and exits, little knowing that all this while, my maid had been stealing glances at the goings on in the drawing room, with pursed lips. “These memsaabs are terrible. I wonder if saab knows what happens in the house when he isn’t around,” I can almost hear her think.
Meanwhile, Tardy Tailor disappears into thin air till I have to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming that he did come to my house for my promised blouses. Even the toughest souls in my family and staff know that when I call, they better return the call soonest. But not His Mightiness. I can call all I want but he won’t pick up the call. In the meantime, and this has happened several times, I have gone from slim to fat to middling plump to obese and so, when he turns up with the elusive blouse, there is not a chance in hell that I can get into it. I rage and rant but it is like water off a buffalo’s back. The other day a neighbourhood wag told me my tailor is missing in action because he has a new woman in his life and spends his days lolling on her charpoy,in the basti. If you ask me, the only reason the unsuspecting love interest tolerates him is the promise of an endless in-house supply of blouses but even so, I think it is too heavy a price to pay.
Talking about tailors, there are all sorts of them. There are those angels who would practice their craft with love and pride so that the end result of their labor was a blouse that made the wearer feel like a princess. Sadly, those are non-existent now because they are either working as security guards at malls or have been snapped up by pricey designers who pay them peanuts but charge their clients thousands of bucks for a simple blouse.
Then there are those who will deliver your blouse within the promised time but simply cannot understand why you don’t want your blouses to have sequins, frills, flounces and other bells and whistles. “ Yeh aapka blouse to juna fasun hain ben. Who Nagin serial wala blouse bana doon? ”, one of them told me recently, giving me a pitying glance.
The ones who take the cake, however, are the ones who sit behind sewing machines and are secret upholders of a woman’s morality. I learnt about them early in life. In my mid-twenties I walked into one of these tailoring shops with a beautiful silk fabric for a blouse to wear with my newly acquired Kanjeevaram. I wanted to wear the blouse with a deep U at the back and could almost imagine myself, all long-necked and sylph-like (this was back when I had a neck. These days it is just my chin and then my bosom. The rest is like a vast wasteland) in my deep maroon blouse and black saree.
I had not budgeted for the response from the tailor. “ Aaho itka dipp gala kashala pahije? Bai maansala shobhat nahi. Jara kamich thevtoh gala,” the balding old man said, peering at me from behind thick, soda bottle glasses, a stream of pan threatening to trickle onto my blouse fabric.
“Tumhaala kay karaycha aahe? Tumhi ghalnaar aahe ka blouse? Maajh mee tharveen , I said, yanking the fabric from his hands and exiting before I was tempted to sock him on the face. I did live to regret the decision because I am told he is one of the city’s finest blouse makers today.
Meanwhile, back to the said tailor and his Houdini act. I have spent the last week in breathless anticipation, waiting for His Highness to turn up. I have gnawed away at my nails and have polished off every sugary fix I have found in the house. My marriage is in danger because Hassled Harry, the spouse, has been bearing the brunt of my frustration.
As launch day looms large, I have two choices. I can either drop the plan to wear a lovely saree and opt for something else or I can get myself a scarf and tie it sarong style under the saree. Maybe I will set off a new trend and become the entrepreneur who will make her millions with this new sartorial trend. Maybe not. But what I know for sure is that if I am brave enough to do this, I will have liberated myself from the diktats of the crazy lunatic who makes divine blouses.
Hold on, is that the door bell ringing? Maybe it is Him! Hallelujah.
You can reach her on email@example.com or her twitter handle@sudhamenon2006
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