<%-- Page Title--%> Slice of Life <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 116 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

August 01, 2003

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The Designer Kurta

Richa Jha

Ever since The Hubby found out that one of the kurtas in his inconsequential wardrobe is a designer one, the days have not been quite the same for him. Or for the others around him. You see, he scarcely slips it off his body now. It's been three days, which excludes the one half of the Friday on the evening of which he received his enlightenment. If he had his way, he would sleep in them too, but one must draw the line somewhere between a designer's day-wear and a designer's night-wear.

It so happened that we went visiting at a friend's place, where the lineage of the kurta was accidentally 'discovered'. This friend's parents, having hopped in from Kolkata for a short break, complimented The Hubby on his spanking bright and crisp white kurta.

“Looks terrific, where did you pick this one from?” the mother asked.

The Hubby had the same blank expression he had had when, on a leisure trip to the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, he had been rattled off directions to the beach in Tamil. I jumped in, “I'm certain he doesn't even remember who it came from. My father had picked it up for him about a year ago from one of the shopping malls in Cal. Dandy, isn't it, that's my father's taste?” A daughter can never hide the sense of pride she feels when talking about her dad, can she?

Just then Aunty reached for the tag at the back of his collar, and said, “x..y..z. Oh, this is an xyz you are wearing!” The funny thing about being a designer is that notionally, people stop wearing your outfits, and wear 'you' instead. I've never quite figured that out. Truth is, that I really hadn't known that we had an xyz in our house. And I can safely assume that my father too had no idea what he had bought for his son-in-law.

“What's that?” came the predictable response from the clueless Hubby.

Ignoring his brazen ignorance, we went ahead with our sighs and exclamations. Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
“This must have cost a fortune!” said the uncle.

“Tell him, Uncle. Let him see, for once, how much my parents care for him. He ought to realise that my father shelled out a bomb for him,” I said, but my mind raced back to the scene of purchase. Displayed along with other kurtas, there had been nothing overtly exclusive about this piece, no glow signs announcing the designer line, and I certainly didn't recall any explosive price tag fixed to this one. But you can never be sure with designers. I decided it was best to ride with the exclamatory highs of the moment, and participate with more sighs. God bless my father, the hero for that day.

“Is this xyz really that BIG?” The Hubby would interject every once in a while, but we decided it was best not to waste those precious moments of collective jubilation trying to educate him any further.

The drive home was stiff, to say the least. I think by the time we left from their place, the brilliant piece of news had sunk in deep inside The Hubby and had made quite an impact on him. Conducting himself with utmost gingerly sophistication, he lowered himself into the car and announced, “You drive today. I don't want to spoil the delicate folds of the arms of this kurta.” He sounded dead serious. Bad news, no less.

To be fair to him, I was equally blank on the etiquette of the extraordinaire, but I dwelled upon it secretly. Not like The Hubby who went around chanting over the phone to his other friends, “Hey, how does one hang a DK (designer kurta), how does one clean it?” and so on.

I wanted to downplay the euphoria by suggesting things like, “What's the point of knowing all this now? You've been wearing it regularly over the past one year, and it has been getting cleaned with our regular detergent, getting pressed…”. But he would have none of it. A DK is a DK, be it old or new.

“Where are the washing instructions which come with most DKs?” I knew these words had been fed to him by one of his friends.

“They went into the dustbin, and from there into the garbage bin, last year,” I replied, mildly irritated.

The only solution he found to this problem was a visit to the showrooms of the established designers here in Dhaka. To read their expert opinion on looking after a DK. After all, and I risk sounding repetitive here, a DK is a DK, whether from this side of the border, or from the other. I declared at the outset that I would not be a part of this silly exercise. At few of the renowned fashion houses in Dhaka, The Hubby set about his task at hand. His modus operandi was quite simple--he would approach the Kurta/ punjabi stand and reach straight for the tags, which would get pored over with great concentration. At two of the showrooms, the helpful staff offered their assistance:
Showroom 1:

“Sir, this one is for taka so-and-so. If you don't mind, Sir, I will show you where we print our price, so that it's easy for you. I have been noticing that you've been looking at the wrong side, wrong place.”

Showroom 2:
“Sir, we have a policy of not displaying the price on the product. But for the convenience of our esteemed clients, we have our kurtas arranged in the increasing order of their price. The lowest one here starts from Taka 20,000/-, and up. These tags here are simply the instructions for care of our delicate products.”

“Which is what I have come here for,” said the forthright Hubby. But the salesman didn't find that a convincing enough response. Embarrassed, I hung around no longer than that to narrate what happened next.

Anyway, the bottomline is that The Hubby returned home none the wiser. “None of these places has this material I'm wearing, so how can the washing instructions of those apply to this one. This one's special. I know what I'll do now…”

He sat surfing the internet for the website of this designer and his different collections. After an hour of futile search, it turned out that our man was an xyz with an 'e', not the one with an 'i' in his name. This latter one is a master designer, the former, well, he isn't big enough yet to have his own website!

Heartbroken as The Hubby is, the only thing I'm glad about is that the kurta has finally been granted a holy dip. After four days of continuous use, it looked and smelled sad. It is too fledgling a kurta in the world of DKs to have survived this meteoric rise to stardom, and all the sudden limelight, for any longer than that.





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