Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Two men getting their pants in a knot

This is the tale of how two completely clueless men went about acquiring the skills to buy 'nighties' to be put to use by the mother of one of the aforementioned men.

It was late on a Saturday evening. One guy was a local in Madras, the other had come all the way from Pune for work to the dosai-city. Plans had been made around noon to go and get a pint or two sometime in the evening, after their work for the day was done and discuss the events of the past two days - the conference they had to attend had quite a few interesting things to talk about. But, as the omnipresent, omnipotent and omni(insert other such praises) Murphy would have it, the mother of the non-local called up and apparently, her sources told her that Chennai has good 'cotton nighties' and that the son needs to buy them asap.

Of course, any plans of inebriated work talk was immediately scrapped and the local made a call back home to ask his mother as to where one might procure the famed 'cotton nighties.' After certain assurances, a trip was made to one long-standing textile shop outside of the shopping centres of Madras. Once there, the two men deftly asked one of the shop's employees as to where one might get to choose these 'nighties'. After hurriedly looking behind the two men for any female unit(s) accompanying them, the female employee hid her mouth with her hand to hide the rampant giggling and signaled 'first floor.'

Grudgingly climbing the steps up to the first floor, the two men had already got past the giggling, they knew they should expect more. The row of 'nighties' were displayed not on any aisle, but at a corner of the first floor which was overlooking the ground floor and the entrance to the shop. "Perfect," the local thought, "this is exactly what people entering the shop would want to see, two men grappling with a tape measure to buy 'nighties'."

And that was precisely what the two men did. Slowly walking past the bewildered looks meted out by other females buying these 'nighties' (oddly, one burkha-clad woman was buying them too, they must be really popular, these 'nighties'.) "Tape measure irukkuma?" asked the local to the (obviously!) female attender. She had exceptional strength to hide her giggles and hand out a tape measure to the poker-faced chap from Pune. Immediately, the chap held out a certain 'nightie' for the local to measure. And measure, he did, from one seam of the shoulder to the other. "19 inches," he said to the other guy. "Too much, I think," said the Pune guy. The local, it would suffice to say, was quite convinced that he should not ask the other guy how he came to that particular conclusion.

Repeated and rather frantic calls were made back to the mother unit in Pune in order to avoid any mix-up. "What can the length be?" "Yes, mother, I am actually at the store." "Yes, the employee assures me that it's cotton." "What do you mean it has to be thick? How would I know what is thick and thin in a 'nightie'?" "Yes, I will attend that wedding with you. Who's wedding is it again?"

After a good 15 minutes of varying measurements and repeated assurances by the employee that the chosen 'nightie' was "pure cotton saar," the required number was bought and taken delivery of. Once the 'nighties' went into the cover though, the two men were overcome with both pride and a strange sense of achievement. Walking out of the store, they quietly sniggered at the men carrying covers and waiting outside the store, some with and some without a kid in their hand, for their better halves to complete their shopping.

If there is something called an old wives' tale, surely, there must be something called Tales of valiant men who spent a good part of their married life waiting outside a store for their wives.