Monday, December 05, 2011

Daughter, Delhi and Dark Suits

I had to recently go to Delhi for a day. A day is all I could manage, as we have a new baby at home, and one has to ration time pretty tightly when a newly arrived person is at home, particularly if that person is your daughter.

I had to fly in, attend to some "official" work, and fly back. I sat in the insides of a Ministry for almost an entire day. And got to observe the proceedings.

So I sat there. In the corridor. Mostly helplessly. Waiting for the clarion call of the official I came to meet, the committee meeting I came to attend. Observed people scurry by. Trays and trays of tea-cups go into offices, and empty trays returned. Dozens of people with files (with odd papers and documents sticking out) amble into and out of buildings. In any work place, there will be people who will do the "actual" work, and there will be support staff who are supposed to support them. These offices (and Delhi in general) are places which consist entirely of support staff and no people to do the "actual" work.

(I know for a fact that there are awesome people working for the government. I have interacted with many of them. I have read documents written by some of these guys and was stunned by the amount of thought and reason that went into it - rivaling a top-notch philosopher or social-thinker. Some of these guys are the best at what they do. I know there are spot-less white sheep in the herd. But the herd is not a few sheep.)

And it is sweater-time in Delhi. That means that no matter what the inside or outside temperature is, every Delhi-citizen will wear a sweater. At all times of the day. If the Sun God himself came down to Delhi, you can find him walking around in a sweater, this time of the year. I have no problem with that. Only issue is that when these guys who invariably are very "prosperous" looking and sport a very generous Thoppai (varying in size between that of a 6-9 month pregnant woman) wear a sweater - it is very revealing.

Most sweaters are body-hugging type. There is no where you can hide those extra pounds when in a sweater. (Think of loose t-shirts or shirts, without tucking in, if you are looking to smuggle around some of that "happy muscles" unnoticed.) And when an entire population is hell-bent on sweater-ing itself, then all hell breaks loose. Sweaters are particularly unforgiving on men. So, the day went by…and I saw an army of sweater wearing "prosperous" citizens march by and by.

While we are talking about men’s fashion, let me say a few words about the now epidemic-proportion problem of grown men wearing 3/4th pants. What’s the deal with that, really? Recently, I have been spotting this outrage over and over- countless sightings, where I would see a dad (in his 30s) and a son (5-9 yrs old) going for a walk or out on the streets. The small kid will be decent and will be wearing shorts (1/2 pant) or full-length pants and the dad will be prancing around in a 3/4ths. And that too it will be some cargo style 3/4ths with all sorts of buckles and stray loops and buttons and straps hanging out from all over the monstrosity.

Men should understand that once they have crossed 30, they should stop thinking in fractions and wear “whole number” clothes. If there is an option to choose between half-shirt and full-sleeved shirt, dive headlong towards the full-sleeve. If they involve pants, kindly spare us all, and choose something that preferably extends beyond your feet by a foot or two. If you desperately want to feel young or hip or want to announce to the world that you are ubercool, please don’t resort to 3/4ths or shorts or micromini-running shorts etc. You had 30 solid years to indulge yourself in these fashion outrages. Now that time has passed, please graduate to whole numbers – preferably wear some robe or some overalls or - best, wear a dark suit. There is no invention by man that manages to camouflage years and years of hard living in one genius stroke than a dark suit. Put a monkey in a dark suit, and it can attend a business conference without being called a monkey for an entire day. That is the power of the dark suit – use it. And if you can actually sleep in dark suits and never take them off, the world will be a better place.

After a long time of watching hordes of men in sweaters and being visually and aesthetically assaulted, finally I broke loose, after finishing work. Jumped in an auto, rushed to meet my friends in one of Delhi's ubiquitous malls - spent time ideally - doing nothing, walking around and chatting. Got on the flight (one of those low cost airlines with super-narrow seats with 2-inch leg room). And to add to it, there was a crying baby in the back seat. I like babies - but crying babies are annoying. Unless they are yours, when you can wax eloquent about how spirited the baby is etc. etc. So, I am free to complain about third-party babies. Only saving grace on the flight was that my laptop had enough battery to last for 3-4 episodes of Seinfeld. What bliss! There is nothing that can give you perspective and diversion in life than a couple of Seinfeld episodes.