He is perhaps the most important man in a woman’s life; that is, apart from the man in her life.
A woman and her tailor have an affair going, on a continuous basis. It is a love-hate relationship. Love him when he does a good job. Hate him when he doesn’t. Love him when he gives the clothes on time. Hate him when he delays and your planning goes awry, and you feel you have ‘nothing to wear’. Love him when he agrees to do alterations, hate him when he doesn’t…
As a child, on the way to school in a cycle rickshaw with 4-5 other children, we used to pass by a tailor shop, and one of the girls would shout, ‘frocks, frocks’, and we would all look admiringly at the row of colourful frocks in the shop window. We would then discuss the prints, the patterns and sometimes planned on asking our mothers to get similar frocks made for us.
As I grew up, there were many men…oops! tailors in my life. As a child, on birthdays, they made me feel smart and special in the dresses they tailored for me; as a teenager, they helped boost confidence levels; as a prospective employee, those special ‘confidence dresses’ helped me get jobs; as a bride, I once again depended on him---it was almost a matter of life and death! Thus, on my tailor’s expertise, and whims, depended the success of ever so many events in my life.
There were many frustrating moments, of course. Clothes made too tight, clothes made too loose, kapda not shrunk, instructions forgotten, notes ignored, quiet anger expressed nevertheless, and then forgive, forget…after all, this is not the last dress I am going to get tailored! Always preferring the humble and friendly to the snooty and snobbish, I invariably went to some unknown chap close to my house, preferring him to the ‘famous’ ones who charged the sky.
Now suddenly, it seems difficult to find a good tailor. I have changed five tailors in five years. Two, who I liked very much, closed shop because it was too difficult to keep skilled workers. One was too far away; another gave way too much importance to NRIs, and the last made a salwar out of the cloth meant for the kurta, and vice versa.
And so the search is on, despite all those ready-made garments available, to find my ‘type’ of tailor--- the humble, friendly guy who stitches well, gives clothes on time, does alterations if something is not okay, obliges if told that something was really urgent, does not have an ‘NRI season’, and has a shop close to my house.
Is that a tall order?