He’s been a tailor forty years,
But only one in Gate Bazaar
Who doesn’t wear a tailored shirt,
Or tailored pant, or tailored laugh.
His multicoloured factory tees
Are well-contrasted with the jeans
He buys in black from cycle gangs
Who pilfer merch through shady means.
He’s favourite of the locals, though.
They say his tape can measure love:
When mother’s love will add an inch
And spouse’s love will shave it off.
He knows who want their pockets deep.
He knows who want their pockets small.
He knows who want their pockets hid
Inside the linings of their shawls.
The young and old, the rich and poor,
Rely on him for daintiness,
Then why he doesn’t stitch himself
A pair or two of formal dress?
The elderly in dhotis say,
About some fifty years ago
When riots happened every day
And lynchings made for popcorn show,
There was a tailor, handsome smart,
In fittest, neatest, tailored clothes,
Who stitched for MPs, MLAs,
For swearings-in and public oaths.
They say he thought he could be one
And dressed accordingly enough.
He’d often hang around their house
And do their bidding, little stuff.
One day, however, MLAs
In heat of drunken rioting
Adjudged the tailor’s ambition
Quite arrogant, disquieting.
They went into his seamster store
And ripped his collared shirt to shreds
And ripped him open alongwith,
And left the floor in flowing reds.
His little one who saw it all,
Upon their tattered bodies swore
He’ll never wear a tailored pair
And never aim beyond the store.