Lungi: the memoir of a middle class youngster
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This is non-fiction. What happened was, today evening one of my students called me. A boy, who is a multi-talented performer of sort. His is a dancer, and when he dances the whole crowd gathers around and rocks away along with his natural moves. He says he never learnt dancing, but it comes to him naturally. The unknown source of creativity somehow springs into his mind and fills everything around him with a magic, very unique. He is good at his studies too, although uses his gifts to sometimes cut corners. The best part about him is that he never gives up at anything. Unlike his teacher.
“Hello, sir!” he said excited due to some reason, and with an usual cheerfulness in his voice. After some initial hesitation and usual introductory cookies, we immediately came down to business. He turned to sharing his problems and I to the digging for stories. I knew this boy might have something really wonderful and surprising to share with me. Intuition, you can call it.
He had a story to tell.
The story goes like this: a father, typical Keralite middle class father, wants his son to learn how to wrap lungi and dhothi, because these are the traditional Kerala clothing. The son, like every other young man in Kerala is accustomed to wearing jeans or shorts. For him the order of the father was a dictator’s tyranny. And so the call to his teacher.
Cool. I thought; people asking me for various advices. But then there was a problem; I didn’t know how to let him feel comfortable in a lungi. His father had already told him how to wrap the lungi. What I was supposed to do was the ‘strengthening of the morale’ part.
And then I had an idea.
The story of lungi is next.