Today while on my morning walk I looked around and my attention was drawn to other morning walkers and mothers waiting for their children’s school bus to arrive. I watched particularly the way they were dressed. Men were in knickerbockers, women in saris and salwars, mothers with their kids in tow half bent under their weighty school bags were in their house coats with a dupatta wound around their neck. I was reminded of a comment made by a well known historian in his column about Chennai women’s casual way of dressing irrespective of the occasion. Just because they wear a dupatta over their house coat, it doesn’t mean they are properly dressed. It is certainly not a substitute for salwar kamiz which is more formal, he had written. I wondered why he failed to mention men dressed in knickerbockers ( a sign that they lived abroad or visited a foreign country) who are increasingly being found all over the place, whether they are shopping for their daily needs or for luxuries. Compared to this a house coat doesn’t expose the skin, thank the Chennai women for not stepping out in a night gown/dress. The other tribe are the ones dressed in veshtis, a regional attire which is very decent and dignified, that is if the wearer doesn’t fold it into half baring his hairy legs in the name of comfort like his ‘western’ counterpart !
n.meera raghavendra rao