Sung (for the) Blue
is something about denims that turn many people on. (I mean the
wearers, hopefully not the onlookers!) Now I know there'll be many
others out there who'll disagree and say that they feel the same
way about cargoes, or lungis, or sarees, or skirts, or perhaps nighties.
But denim aficionados will tell you how transient those feelings
may be when compared with the eternal love for denims. The only
other sensation that can come quite as close to the one when you're
pulling a pair of jeans up your legs is the gradual melting of a
chocolate in your mouth.
Unlike the other
pieces of clothing, which are more fashion led, or need based, jeans
will never go out of fashion. I mean the denim in a classic regular
fit, of course. The edges may fray, the ends may tear, the knees
may disintegrate, but as long as the buttons come together and the
zippers don't give away (not a problem these days, what with fly
buttons, and all), the pair remains our best buddy. (A more comprehensive
random list of 'best buddies' would contain books, The Hubby, audio
CDs, a pair of sneakers, mother, the hair clip, wrist-watch, and
the car. Okay, also the father.)
During our college
days, due to a ridiculous quirk of some trendsetter whom we failed
to identify even till the day we left the university, the jeans
were meant to be worn tight, really tight, so tight that every sip
of water you took in showed!
This may have
been the outcome of a natural mutiny against the other absurdities
in the jeans manufacturing fraternity, which were prevalent around
the time. First it were the tent-like baggy jeans, next came the
even more repulsive 'high waisters' for women, to be worn with (baggy)
sloppy joes. (Remember the juvenile attempts of Madonna or Brook
Shields to attain cult status, with electrified hair, ear rings
larger than their faces, et al, in the mid 80s?) I may be wrong
about the order in which these design fads came, or perhaps they
happened simultaneously, but they did more disservice to the institution
of denims than even a non-believer in jeans could have ever done.
Next came the
even more disturbing trend of wearing 'stone-washed' jeans, in different
'colours'. Purists, and I feel proud to include myself in there,
cringed at the very mention of green, grey, even white jeans! Sacrilegious
as this trend was, we wanted our friends to see the anomaly behind
multicoloured denims, but then, the more fashionable souls needed
variety, and they had a phenomenal range of horrendous pieces to
reason behind the legs-hugging jeans, once in vogue, students made
a beeline for the roadside tailors (yes, so widespread was this
fad that even furniture shops placed tailors with machines right
outside their shops on the pavements!). The machine needles ran
swiftly on the legs and made them slim just for that brief period
of this craze, we stopped caring about the double-stitches on the
inner thighs too, because in any case, that was the only place at
which the alterations were possible.
The ones with
more pocket money than we went ahead and sported brand new pairs
of stretch jeans. But again, as any denim lover will tell you that
by wearing stretch jeans, you may have reached there, but not quite.
But why jeans today, you may ask.
Because it is
my inner happiness which thus speaks. Because, I have finally managed
to fit into my old favourite pairs after three years. Because, the
only missing link between my pre-baby days, and post baby ones,
were just discovered to be perfect enough to slip back into and
complete the jigsaw puzzle. Ever since the birth of my child, there
was a monthly ritual I never failed to perform. The small suitcase
would be brought down the loft, old clothes sifted through, and
tried on with that distant hope that they fit. And this time, my
old pairs of jeans did! As they say, one should never give up trying.
Sure, I could
have bought myself some new ones, but that was not the point. It
was more a personal mission of sorts to get back on in them. As
I said earlier, only a denim lover will know that the feel of a
new one is not quite the same as the old one. And how could it possibly
be? You've worn them, day in day out, for fortnights on end, till
the blue gradually changes to light blue, to ash grey, to finally
dirty. Then again, not to our eyes, but when the others around you
start complaining, you take them on their face value. In general,
it takes at least a month for a pair of clean jeans to show it's
true worth. For in the thick coat of grime, the jeans has proved
its durability, its ruggedness, and its respect for your ways and
your lifestyle, and it has paid the ultimate tribute Levi Strauss.
This one that
I'm talking about is 10 years old, now looks thread-bare on the
sides, and at the double pockets, but I'm certain it can last another
10 years. After which, they can be clipped short into a pair of
capris first, Bermudas next. Like this other piece that came out
in the same pile (15, and still going strong) which is now a pair
of shorts. It has had quite a chequered (and tailored) life. Alas!
The age has started to show at the ends, in the weaves and the colour
of this fragile piece. The only thing that can be done with it is
to make them shorter into hot pants. But “oooooh”! Okay, I heard
them, several of those! I stop right away.
Maybe I'll put
it away, and wait for my son to grow up and claim it from me. That
sort of thing happens with jeans. Because they are worth it.