All Dressed Up

by Ashish

I went through a traumatic experience recently. Well, over three days ago, actually, but it is only now that I have been able to gather myself together enough to feel equal to writing about it.

I wore a suit and went to Bombay.

Now, I must confess, going to Bombay in itself is a traumatic experience as far as I am concerned. For various reasons, all of which need not be explored in detail in this post. But what made this trip seem like an extended visit to hell was the fact that I was dressed in a suit.

Because, you see, Bombay is always humid. It is like the world’s largest, most crowded, dirtiest sauna. All the year round. That’s the opinion that I and my sweat glands have of the place even in the middle of winter. And three days ago in Bombay was, I can assure you, not the middle of winter.

This post is not about Bombay’s weather, however. It is about suits, and how they do not, well, suit me. Frankly, my brain hasn’t developed enough to be able to handle suits.

There’s the coat, to begin with. It makes me feel like a specimen in a taxidermist’s display. Also, wearing the suit entails having to carry a handkerchief, because that prohibitively expensive worsted wool, besides costing you the moon, is also oppressively warm on your shoulders. Now, a handkerchief in and of itself is not really all that large a problem. But the handkerchief, along with my wallet, my cellphone and my keys becomes an unsolvable conundrum.

Here’s the thing. I carry my keys in my right pocket (up front). My phone is in my left pocket (up front). And my wallet is in my right pocket (at the back). Over time, I have evolved a system that goes somewhat like this: get up from chair, pat left front pocket, pat right front pocket, pat right rear pocket. Look reassured, do whatever it is that I got up to do.

And it’s a very nice system indeed. I can proudly attest to not having lost a single key, wallet or phone since Kulkarni’s Instantaneous CheckTM 3.0 was implemented. But the addition of a coat is completely incompatible with this system. As I said, one complication is the addition of a handkerchief. Wearing a coat also results in four hundred and sixty three new pockets. There are two outside the coat, there are two inside the coat near the shirt and I haven’t quite figured out how many lurk on the sides. The upshot is that I have to pat myself all over repeatedly, and find different items in wholly unexpected places.

Interested bystanders on such occasions often get the impression that I am performing my own, rather worried version of the Macarena. The only good thing is that they seem to rather enjoy it.

But even this, I can deal with. I’d rather not, but I can. What I cannot begin to fathom is the wearing of the tie. Indeed, I have one simple question when it comes to the tie.


A simple search query on Google throws up a million different reasons, none of them being remotely convincing. And of course they wouldn’t be convincing, if you think about it. What could possibly convince you to wear a piece of ridiculously expensive cloth around your neck and tie it up as tightly as possible?

Also, it dangles. And that can turn out to be positively lethal. Allow me tell you a purely hypothetical tale.

There was once this rather fetching young (I said it was hypothetical, didn’t I?) man, who wore a suit and went to Bombay. On this visit, he happened to partake of lunch at a particular cafeteria in a particular firm. In said cafeteria, in said firm, this fetching young man carefully filled up his plate, taking care to ensure that he spilled nothing on his suit.

He managed to do this without accident, a feat that he is still justifiably proud of.

The problems started when he took his plate to the table. While sitting down, the dangling tie took the first opportunity to dip itself into the dal on the plate. In a vain attempt to save the end of the tie turning into a dal-fryish brown (from it’s it’s original steel grey), he grabbed desperately at the tie. Missing it entirely, he managed to hit the end of the spoon that was in the aforementioned dal-fry. Which, upon completing a graceful parabolic dive, landed upon his lap.

Desperately ineffectual dabs with the handkerchief resulted in a large shapeless, yellowish blob materialising on the front of formerly entirely black trousers.

Ah well. Into each life some dal must fall.

Upon completion of lunch, the young man proceeded to the wash basin, and bent down to wash his hands and rinse his mouth. As you would have come to expect by now, the tie preceded him.

About the only good thing to come from that little sojourn was the fact that a little of the dal on the tie was washed away. On the liabilities side of the mess that was the tie’s balance sheet, a rather large part of it was now irrevocably wet. At least for the foreseeable future.

Which explains why the young man spent the rest of his time in that firm in a very suave suit, but sans tie.

I’m slated to go to Bombay again this weekend. This time, however, I will be with friends, and in nothing more complicated than shorts and a t-shirt.

Which, let the record state for now and forever, is just how that hypothetical young man likes it.