"This puja I'm planning to buy a pair of jeans." I mused to Devi.
This came to her as a shock as I had never in my life invested in a Levi Strauss' and Jacob Davis' creation . Although, no sooner were they launched they had caught the fancy of the young and the old and had become a rage all over the world , I never actually did contemplate wearing one . Perhaps I never found a conducive break.
"Old age hath yet her folly !" Devi counter- mused in an admonishing tone. Then bracing herself for a more graceful reprimand she said,"Yet what makes you to host this out- of- the -box desire, sweetheart?"
"Well, nothing phenomenal. Just that I do not want to kick the bucket with the feeling that I did not taste the delicious feeling of slipping into a pair of jeans and in the process also lost the scope of assessing my own physical symmetry. You know Devi, I finally realised that a pair of jeans actually has many merits, quite contrary to my primeval sententious sentiments!
Devi was reprovingly all ears, as if to say ,"Let's hear it , baby, let's hear it."
"Did you ever think that a pair of jeans can be worn for as many as ten days at a stretch without having to be washed or ironed? Look at our saris. They always wait to be pressed after every use. Our salwars and churidars need a dupatta for extra coverage ! Not so for a pair of jeans and kurti. In the monsoon this scores better than our good old saris. In a sari we juggle to lift them up very cautiously to negotiate puddles of water, which is always so complicated. In jeans just fold the ankle-end as required and your job is done.
"And Devi dear ", I was now quite infused with all it's goodness and felt a strange surge of bravura overpowering me, "Have'nt you noticed the span of time needed to don a sari ? You have to be ever so careful to wrap yourself up with this 9 yard long unstitched dress material. The pleats and the dangler must have a uniformity which is so time consuming. While just slip into your jeans and 'Presto', you are ready for the occasion...."
At this point Devi cut me short . She was too confused at the vicissitude of my loyalty which had so suddenly shifted to a less nobler more avant garde apparel. She took out her right hand, poked out her index finger and said, "Had your say? Now hear mine."
I seemed to have opened the sluice-gates of her fiesty declamation.
"Sari is our national attire. Stalwarts like Indira Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu vouched for it. Women of substance today like Sonia Gandhi , Sushma Swaraj , Renuka Choudhary wear nothing but saris. Saris exhume a dignity which nothing else can. Never can a sari offend the propriety of an occasion- formal or informal. It's comeliness is versatile ingenium. There is even a rare decorum in the diplomatic exposures, which assuage the beauty and sensuousness of its wearer. They range from Rs.200 to Rs.2,00,000 or more, meaning it caters to the poor and the rich suitably. There is no danger of looking crass in a sari. Have'nt you ever noticed the distinctive ways of wearing a sari? Each region in our country has a discreet way of wearing it. Is'nt it unique ? It is always so easy for me to pack a suitcase with my saris. Just fold them , stack them strategically and 'Voila' (!) my saris far outnumber Nikhil's , even while he struggles to keep the right crease of his shirts and pants !
Now my o' my ! That was some silencer !
There invariably was veracity in everything that Devi had said. I could not but endorse with her opinions. And I remembered my maid too.
For my maid has all the good reasons for wearing a sari.Each nook of her sari has special value for her.With the alacrity of purpose and celerity of her nimble fingers , her sari serves the refuge for all the disappearing items from my shelves and racks. They are so tactfully placed that whenever I point my suspicious finger here or at a projection there, she draws out a harmless miniscule tin and says nonchalantly-"Khaini hai bhabi" !!!
[ Yet I must state that I am sticking to my initial decision. I am buying a pair of jeans. Only time will tell whether it will be any other Denim or a Levi's ].
Happy independence day to me and to all.