<%-- Page Title--%> Slice of Life <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 125 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

October 3, 2003

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>


Song Sung (for the) Blue

Richa Jha

There is something about denims that turn many people on. (I mean the wearers, hopefully not the onlookers!) Now I know there'll be many others out there who'll disagree and say that they feel the same way about cargoes, or lungis, or sarees, or skirts, or perhaps nighties. But denim aficionados will tell you how transient those feelings may be when compared with the eternal love for denims. The only other sensation that can come quite as close to the one when you're pulling a pair of jeans up your legs is the gradual melting of a chocolate in your mouth.

Unlike the other pieces of clothing, which are more fashion led, or need based, jeans will never go out of fashion. I mean the denim in a classic regular fit, of course. The edges may fray, the ends may tear, the knees may disintegrate, but as long as the buttons come together and the zippers don't give away (not a problem these days, what with fly buttons, and all), the pair remains our best buddy. (A more comprehensive random list of 'best buddies' would contain books, The Hubby, audio CDs, a pair of sneakers, mother, the hair clip, wrist-watch, and the car. Okay, also the father.)

During our college days, due to a ridiculous quirk of some trendsetter whom we failed to identify even till the day we left the university, the jeans were meant to be worn tight, really tight, so tight that every sip of water you took in showed!

This may have been the outcome of a natural mutiny against the other absurdities in the jeans manufacturing fraternity, which were prevalent around the time. First it were the tent-like baggy jeans, next came the even more repulsive 'high waisters' for women, to be worn with (baggy) sloppy joes. (Remember the juvenile attempts of Madonna or Brook Shields to attain cult status, with electrified hair, ear rings larger than their faces, et al, in the mid 80s?) I may be wrong about the order in which these design fads came, or perhaps they happened simultaneously, but they did more disservice to the institution of denims than even a non-believer in jeans could have ever done.

Next came the even more disturbing trend of wearing 'stone-washed' jeans, in different 'colours'. Purists, and I feel proud to include myself in there, cringed at the very mention of green, grey, even white jeans! Sacrilegious as this trend was, we wanted our friends to see the anomaly behind multicoloured denims, but then, the more fashionable souls needed variety, and they had a phenomenal range of horrendous pieces to choose from.

Whatever the reason behind the legs-hugging jeans, once in vogue, students made a beeline for the roadside tailors (yes, so widespread was this fad that even furniture shops placed tailors with machines right outside their shops on the pavements!). The machine needles ran swiftly on the legs and made them slim just for that brief period of this craze, we stopped caring about the double-stitches on the inner thighs too, because in any case, that was the only place at which the alterations were possible.

The ones with more pocket money than we went ahead and sported brand new pairs of stretch jeans. But again, as any denim lover will tell you that by wearing stretch jeans, you may have reached there, but not quite.
But why jeans today, you may ask.

Because it is my inner happiness which thus speaks. Because, I have finally managed to fit into my old favourite pairs after three years. Because, the only missing link between my pre-baby days, and post baby ones, were just discovered to be perfect enough to slip back into and complete the jigsaw puzzle. Ever since the birth of my child, there was a monthly ritual I never failed to perform. The small suitcase would be brought down the loft, old clothes sifted through, and tried on with that distant hope that they fit. And this time, my old pairs of jeans did! As they say, one should never give up trying.

Sure, I could have bought myself some new ones, but that was not the point. It was more a personal mission of sorts to get back on in them. As I said earlier, only a denim lover will know that the feel of a new one is not quite the same as the old one. And how could it possibly be? You've worn them, day in day out, for fortnights on end, till the blue gradually changes to light blue, to ash grey, to finally dirty. Then again, not to our eyes, but when the others around you start complaining, you take them on their face value. In general, it takes at least a month for a pair of clean jeans to show it's true worth. For in the thick coat of grime, the jeans has proved its durability, its ruggedness, and its respect for your ways and your lifestyle, and it has paid the ultimate tribute Levi Strauss.

This one that I'm talking about is 10 years old, now looks thread-bare on the sides, and at the double pockets, but I'm certain it can last another 10 years. After which, they can be clipped short into a pair of capris first, Bermudas next. Like this other piece that came out in the same pile (15, and still going strong) which is now a pair of shorts. It has had quite a chequered (and tailored) life. Alas! The age has started to show at the ends, in the weaves and the colour of this fragile piece. The only thing that can be done with it is to make them shorter into hot pants. But “oooooh”! Okay, I heard them, several of those! I stop right away.

Maybe I'll put it away, and wait for my son to grow up and claim it from me. That sort of thing happens with jeans. Because they are worth it.


(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is jointly published by the Daily Star with the technical assistance provided by Onirban.