Tailor made


Earlier today, I chanced upon some black and white photos from my childhood. The pictures made me smile. My sister and I are wearing identical frocks in most of those pictures.

That was how it was back then. We would go to a garment shop, and choose running lengths of fabric. We would head to the tailor shop afterwards, for our measurements to be taken. The tailor would make identical clothes for my siblings and me, only the sizes were different.

The tailor’s shop was located in the crowded market in our town. It was a small shop that had a narrow entrance. The shop had shelves along all its walls, running from the floor to the ceiling. One could barely see the shelves, crammed as they were with customer orders.

I always wondered how the tailor was able to remember, when each order was due. Deep within the recesses of the shop were the sewing machines, all of them busy all the time, with men or women bent intently on a frock or a blouse or a shirt.

The main tailor, usually had a pencil tucked behind his ear, and a measuring tape slung around his neck. He measured, noted, gave instructions to his staff and managed the whole pipeline.

Picture courtesy – http://www.shutterstock.com

While, during non-festival times, the tailor usually delivered our orders promptly, it was not so during festivals, especially Deepavali.

The fabric buying took place at least a month and a half before Deepavali. We would rush to the tailor to place our orders. And even at that early date, the tailor would lament about the pipeline, and about how difficult it was going to be to deliver our clothes early.

And then the negotiations on the delivery date would commence – between my parents and the tailor. We would come home with a receipt for collection and an acceptable date for pick-up.

Just a fortnight before our due date, whenever we visited the market, we would drop-in at the tailor shop to give him a gentle reminder. There were no mobiles or text messages to do the job. The tailor would nod and wave vigorously each time – to reassure us that he had not forgotten us.

Our dad would usually pick up the tailored clothes on his way back from work. After dinner, we would get a peek at our new clothes. They were packed away and stored carefully till Deepavali.

The years just flew by, and then came the era of off-the shelf clothes, and our visits to the tailor dwindled.

However, after marriage, we Indian woman still go to the tailor to get out saree blouses stitched – ‘tailor made’ exclusively for us!

Wardrobe Woes of an Indian Woman


One of the biggest challenges of being an Indian woman is the lack of wardrobe space. I know that women from around the world have this problem, however the wardrobe woes of an Indian woman are compounded by the fact that we are spoilt for choice in terms of the sheer variety of clothes we get to wear – from sarees, ghagra cholis, anarkalis, salwar kameezes, churidhars and skirts, to Western wear!

Add to this equation the simple fact that there are hundreds of types of stunning sarees from different parts of the country to choose from; sarees that are vibrant and rich in their texture, material, designs and hues. These sarees are ‘must haves’ to ring in the hundreds of festivals we celebrate.  Throw in accessories and all the other types of clothes – both Indian and Western, and you can begin to understand our problem.

So, this morning my dear husband calls me to express his annoyance about how he has very little space for his ‘few’ (he stresses this for effect) striped, checked and plain shirts in various shades of grey, blue, white and ‘pale’. There are a few splashes of colour from his T shirts that offer some visual relief.

I go over to inspect. I try to look sympathetic but fail miserably. Instead, I feel guilty. I have encroached into two racks in his wardrobe, my ‘better’ bags and clutches rest there in comfort, while a few new sarees nestle in the other rack. I honestly tried to fit them into my wardrobe, but the sarees kept falling out!


Courtesy – http://www.clipartkid.com

He rolls his eyes in exasperation. Wardrobe space is like prime real estate! But how else can I organize my wardrobe with all the clothes and accessories? “Some kind of encroachment is inevitable”, I justify.

 These things do get aggravated when I go shopping during the holiday season. My hubby looks firm. My mind wants to offer to remove some of my stuff, but my heart worries about where I can find space.

He says, “You should start purging the old stuff.”

But that’s the point. Sarees, especially the silks, get better with time. I do not reply.

He is in a hurry. He says, “Do something about this.”

I nod meekly. My wardrobe woes continue.