Sunday, February 04, 2007

The tie that kills

In his book “A writerly life”, a collection of essays, R.K.Narayan talked about his passion for good coffee and how he planned to write an entire book on the subject. He would start, he mused, by tracing the origin of the coffee plant, how the Spaniards and Arabs introduced it in India, etc. He would then go on to describe how coffee ought to be prepared, the right temperature, the optimal manner of mixing the different ingredients, the measured way of drinking, etc. But, he cautioned, the book would end on a bitter note and the last chapter would turn grim as he wrote about the high price of coffee, manipulated by the monopolistic Coffee Board.

Similarly, I plan to write a lengthy book on the sartorial styles that have been followed since the start of the human race.

The first chapter will deal with early Man tearing himself off from his primate ancestry, and beginning to wear fig leaves of different shapes and sizes. I will introduce a comical touch by describing the situations when the leaves were swept away by the howling winds, so common in that age.

The second chapter would go on to describe the dressing habits that existed in different civilizations. I will provide fascinating details, along with illustrations, of how the Egyptians wrapped themselves around in rolls of toilet paper to produce the ‘mummy effect’, how the Sumerians invented the cuneiform and the Harappans, the uniform. I will briefly touch on the genetic mutations that were triggered during this period that eventually led to evolution of jeans in the twentieth century.

The third chapter will be on India and I will write knowledgeably and eloquently about the Arrow shirts worn by the archers of the Ramayana period and the 9000-yard sari popularized by Draupadi in the Mahabharatha era. I will add a quotation from the Bhagvat Gita to show that I am an erudite scholar. Something on the lines of “Fire cannot burn me; water cannot wet me; clothes cannot dress me- Thus spoke Krishna to Arjuna”.

The fourth and fifth chapters will dwell on the elaborate costumes worn during the Maurya and Gupta periods and later when the Mughals ruled over India. Pictures of Babur, the Conanian in flowing robes, Akbar the owner of Akbarallys in his graceful nightie, and the sulking Shah Rukh Jahan, the promoter of the Taj group of hotels, will adorn the pages. Another famous king to be prominently featured in this section will be the inventor of the zip, Aurangezip.

In the sixth chapter, I will turn my attention to the influence of the British on the dressing habits of Indians, when the natives learnt to get into their trousers, how they were fascinated by the pockets, why they discarded their kurtas for the western shirt, etc.

Till this point, the book will contain generous doses of humour and numerous anecdotes and will be ‘light reading’. But, here I will warm to my theme, turn grim and get on to the final chapter.

This chapter will run to 584 pages and will be exclusively on the neck tie that westerners introduced to us. I will begin the chapter by hurling choice abuses at the lunatic who invented this contraption, then provide compelling evidence from medical journals on how the continued use of the tie actually constricted the jugular vein and choked the blood flow to the brain, resulting in overall mental retardation of all the inhabitants of the corporate world. I will summon expert opinion to elucidate the point that the neck tie is the root cause of all the problems in the world, including global warming, terrorism, mad cow disease and social upheavals in different parts of the globe. I will juxtapose the photograph of the final moments of Saddam Hussein with the noose around his neck, along with a photo of me in a neck tie, to drive home the message that the effect is same in both the cases. I will end the chapter with a clarion call to the world to abandon this piece of attire or appendage. “Gentlemen of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your insanity”.

So, coming soon to a bookstore near your house, my Magnum Opus“The tie that kills”.


Anonymous said...

How do u write it man !!!! Am laughing my head off.. and thinking of how u might have laughed when u typed it :-)

Usha said...

choose your tie already for the acceptance ceremony at the man booker award function!

Anonymous said...

Are you by any chance a direct or indirect descendent of Shakespeare!

I am looking forward to this book. Hope it comes out soon!

Anonymous said...

...wish you manage to publish the book without tie up

Priya Sivan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Priya Sivan said...

So it was a "tie and die" policy in the corporate world?
I also object to schools forcing children to wear neck-ties.

Anonymous said...

That was very entertaining.

I think the line “Gentlemen of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your insanity”, would have been more appropriate as “Gentlemen of the world untie; you have nothing to lose but your insanity”.

Raj said...

Anon 1, glad you liked it

Usha,what a terrible thing to say! Tie, indeed.

Anon 2 : A great, great grandfather of mine was named Siggapier. he anglicised his name to Shakespeare.

piriyamudanamma, I'll tie them down. don't worry.

shpriya, hang the headmasters by their shoe laces, if they force the tie on the kids.

Murali, brilliant point

Anonymous said...

All tied up in knots,laughing so much!

Anonymous said...

do you mean, nothing to lose but your insiani-tie?


Raj said...

dipali, glad I made you laugh!

naveen, so the revised clarion call : "gentlemen of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your insani-tie"

Anonymous said...

Foreword by me please.

Anonymous said...

tooo goood
well ur blog has been awarded the best read of the year, u need to accept the award at the function.
well the dress code includes full suit with matching tie ;)