Attire of Care
A meditation on Pockets, clothes, and inclusivity.
I pedalled as fast as I could. The light was about to turn red but I managed to whoosh pass through it and reach the opposite side of the road. It seemed like an achievement. I went home happily and sat for my lunch. I took out my phone and realized that there were some 4 odd missed calls from a random number. I felt strange and called them back. No response. I am trying to figure out who this person was and why did they call me incessantly. I check my belongings. My wallet is missing. It had some odd 600 rupees but my debit cards and license. I remember that Aadhar card was hacked so I was feeling safe that my data is already leaked and the person could not do much with the license. The debit card was the issue. I got the call from the stranger. That person called me to inform me that he had found the wallet and wished to return it. I went to the address he told with my uncle and retrieved the wallet with everything in it. I was lucky that I got it back. I was grateful.
Not for my track pants though. They were having loose pockets and that was what caused this fortunately prevented mishap. Then I shifted to Bags. Also, the reason why Bags and Batman makes so much sense to me and makes me feel safe.
If you are reading this letter for the first time, you can check out other several posts such as s Gossip and Water Bottles, Travel and Movies, Chair and Footwear, Mental Health and Curtains, Fans and advertisements, Gardening and Economies of effort, Lights and Rejection, Bags and Batman, Doors, and Feminism, Driving and Friendship, or Humor and Instant Messaging! Also, if you reply to this email, I would get your message so do send me your ideas and suggestions.
—Back to the post—
Now, did I stop wearing track pants and switched to jeans? No! In fact, I was so liberated with the feeling of not having to carry things in pants that I started opting for looser pants. I experimented and started to wear Harem Pants. Oh, what a bliss they are! But these loose pants do not have fancy pockets. It has one or two as the necessary ones. But do I really care when I roam around with a bag having almost a mini house with me? No.
It did not strike me until I talked to a friend of mine. She asked me to put a few things in my jeans pocket and I was like, “ bro, why don’t you keep it in the pockets of your jeans? " That is when she showed me the harsh discrimination that people go through. The pockets of women are small. Sometimes, so small that they can barely put their keys. Now, do you know why Kyuki Saas Bhi Bahu Thi housewives never wore jeans? Sarees do not pretend to have pockets! At least they are not hypocritical. I can write an essay about Indian wear and western wear too. I might be praised for going vocal for local and atmanirbhar and ditching the west. But hey, no more meddling with politics. Cannot swing on one side and then be hanged by the other, right? Oops, I meant lynched.
So when I came to know about this fact and discovered so many things that men have in their clothing are not present in women’s clothing. Also, think about how clothes are categorized with the purpose- formal pant and shirt or skirts for work, informal jeans, pants, or tshirts for casual wear. Of course, women have a lot more variety in clothes as compared to men but then even the ample amount of options lack pockets. This is so strange. Think about it and you would see women doing so many things. Taking care of the house and cleaning things here and there. Cutting vegetables in a jiffy and then managing laundry and vessels. These tasks also need tools or equipment but somehow, the makers thought before that pockets would not help. Also, is it because they are always supposed to carry purses? I do not know.
That is the thing. Fortunately, clothes are going beyond gender and gradually, we see people experimenting with what they wear. I hate Ranveer Singh for his personality. I find him very fake and falsely energetic with everything he does. I like his acting though. However, he is often in the news because he wears something unconventional. Sometimes, it looks nice, sometimes, we learn a lesson. But he dares. Still, clothes are something that is gendered. Shirts and Pants are available for women too. These were essentially work clothes that Men wore in the early days. Women wore dresses and sarees. Times changed and now women wear suits and pretty much everything a man does. However, if we see the opposite happening, it is a cause for uproar. People become “unmanly” because they wear something different. There are many men who have tried to wear Sarees. They become an attraction of mockery. If it is a comedy show, men dress like women and speak in a stereotypical fashion that mocks other people and all go Hahahaha so funny and shit like that.
Additionally, I have seen many places in tier 1 cities where there are places where you can find clothes in plus sizes. I mean, yeah, it is a good idea to have a store dedicated to their needs but then it also does not mean that one has only that option to buy from. If one always needs to go to a special shop to buy the water, then it is completely pointless of having high rise shopping buildings and malls.
That is not inclusion na? What to wear and what not to wear is someone’s own choice. Unless you are some politician who thinks that short clothes or sometimes even Burkhas “invite” men and weave a charm so strong that they lose their senses and moral compass that they end up committing horrible and heinous crimes. If that is what one thinks, Blankets are best. One can wear them, sleep in them, and then try to suffocate in it too.
What is inclusion then? I remember going out with a friend. I went out with her and then, her friend group was there. The usual introduction happened. After that, people started talking. The group had 4 other members. While talking, the friends would often look at each other and talk. Sometimes, they would be talking about something that was an inside joke. I would not know it. But one person would make eye contact with me and try to give me a context with which I can atleast have a smile on my face and feel a part of it.
If you have gone to clubs and dance parties, people tend to form groups. Especially if you have Ae halo screaming all around and people dancing until their Taatiya become Gaanthiya, you would have observed this phenomenon. People start dancing in circles and out of nowhere, some people are inside that circle and some are outside of it. Then there are the ones who would have come alone or just known the people in a casual way. They are left outside. The person has the choice then. They can either try to enter the close-knit group or wait until someone pulls them in or they can dance entirely by themselves. They have that choice. Trying to enter always needs a lot of courage because you would have at least two other people who are new. If one is pulled in, then there is at least one support and also a reassurance that the person knows others enough that the new dancer would be accepted. Then the dance goes on and on until the gaanthiyas are heated.
So what do the two have in common? It is just about acceptance. One of my friends never talks much but always has that curiosity and habit to look at the other person when they are talking. It can be a group or a single conversation. He also has a tendency to ask the newbie some questions about the topic because they might or might not feel welcomed in the conversation. That is something I admire. Of course, most of the groups are sensible enough to let a person complete their talk and then speak but that is always getting rarer.
At the end of the day, I do not think it matters to anyone how many pockets does your cloth have. Also, it does not really matter to others what you wear. I remember wearing a towel like a cape and lungi in college as a part of dressing unconventionally. I was in UPG then, which shares the campus with Mithibai and some 10 other colleges. It is basically a crowded place and everyone would look at us. But they did for maximum two minutes. Uske baad no one gave a fuck. I guess that is what the world is. An adolescent who wants new things every two minutes. No wonder why Instagram refreshes every minute or so.
But yeah, if you can ensure that you can show people a place where they can find clothes with enough pockets. Also, do not alienate them if they choose to wear a curtain as a tshirt or pant. It might be a matter of their courage and life.
Oh wait. I can hear something. Aah, it is my phone that is ringing. I could not keep it in my pocket because my pockets are loose and the phone falls off easily. Also, pickpockets are easily fooled if they do not find anything in the pocket. Deception 101!
Until next time, here are the customary offerings.
The songs of an exclusively dark pocket
In the pockets of your city
I hide I hide
day and night–
day and night.
Whatever you feel like hiding
Whatever you feel like guarding
Your wealth your poor
The straight the crooked
The paintings the pain
The cars the crippled
All that I can see
Even what I cannot see
You can hide it all within me
In a world within a world
A world full of pockets goes deep and deeper,
Include me I say
No thank you they utter
I will snatch it I say
And you throw me far away
Far far away
I will come back I say
I will return return return someday
Your magic tricks won’t work on me
Forever gone forever gone
Far faraway into the clouds
And yet I promise to return someday someday someday
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Until next time,