Tillie's Tales - Tailoring Woes

Tailoring Woes

“Tailoring Solutions” the leaflet screamed as it fell out of the thick wad of newspaper I bent to pick up while balancing my morning cup of tea. Don’t know why I call it bed tea because I can have it only after I have hopped out of bed and hopped up and down the house drawing the curtains so that my son can sleep a little longer or gathering the bedclothes from the floor and covering my daughter, filtered drinking water for the whole day, watered my three little plants, looked for the car cleaner while taking in a quick view of our lane from my second floor balcony.

“Wow, my luck has changed,” I thought. I had spent years searching for a satisfactory tailor, or at least a reasonably satisfactory one. And failed miserably. I have searched in all types of localities and markets, from the humble ones that sit below the staircases of big buildings to the snobbish ones in up market areas. The amount of money paid to the tailor has varied, but the end result has remained the same - an ill fitting blouse or an apology for a salwar kameez.

There is a lot of apprehension in my mind before I reach the tailor to pick up my clothes. Because ever so often, he will rummage through the bundles kept below his work station, before declaring that the clothes are not ready. Otherwise, he’ll claim, “Your clothes are ready but they are lying in my workshop", when he and I both know he’s lying through his front teeth. "Come back on Tuesday", he’ll add. "But Tuesday is several days away", I murmur, visibly daunted at the thought of braving the odds once again to reach the master tailor (or tailor master as he is called locally).

It’s worse when the clothes are ready. Each time, in the so called trial room (fitting room), I try it on and then struggle to take off the too tight blouse. “Masterji, this is too small”, I wail, sucking in my stomach to fasten the hooks to the eyes. At which point, he will always look grimly at the scribbles which only he can understand and stretch the fabric against his measuring tape nodding all the while, “It’s exactly the same” – that is, the dimensions in his order booklet and those on his created masterpiece. “Ah, maybe you have grown healthier (a euphemism for having put on weight) since then”, he’ll suggest while I look guilty and uncomfortable at the possibility. “All those Diwali sweets each time I opened the fridge”, I think with shame.

The upshot is that even after several visits and weakening after every consecutive visit, I have to accept what he gives back, while he insists all the time that there should be no problem now. Meanwhile I continue with the inevitability of having to hide my blouse under my sari pallu.

So when this elegantly printed flyer fell out of the newspaper, I thought this was divine intervention indeed, as with my son’s approaching marriage I would need at least two blouses a day, for at least five days. When I telephoned the number given, a well cultivated voice answered and after an exchange of pleasantries and requirements, offered to pick up my saris and blouse material, take my measurements and even home deliver them when ready. “This cannot be happening, it’s too good to be true”, I thought, as I grew transfixed to the phone, hardly believing my luck.

The well cultivated voice belonged to a well cultivated lady who took my measurements very attentively, spectacles perched on her nose. “Could you please get this one blouse stitched by Thursday?”, I murmured humbly, expecting an it's-too-soon-grimace, “I have to attend a party on the 01st.” For, as I kept reminding myself, I had to make myself presentable as a future mother in law, I thought. She didn’t flinch, “Sure, I’ll give it to you a day before the party.”

Now, I thought, I could really rest in peace. No more going to the tailor with trepidation in my heart, no more clutching my sari end to hide my off-the-shoulder blouses while balancing the plate full of food at the buffet table. No more holding my breath to fit into blouses that were too small. I had visions of myself looking elegant and poised at parties and not looking envious of the well turned out ladies who had skilled tailors.

She delivered on time, as promised. “I’m sure it’s fine”, I said confidently as I squared accounts with her. Moments before draping my new designer sari on, I realised that the blouse created by the cultured lady with the cultured voice was far too many sizes too small. I had managed to pull the sleeves over my arms but in no way could I close the wide chasm between the two ends of the blouse. Struggling to get out of the blouse with the vice like grip, I had to desperately seek help from my daughter and pull her away from the mirror even as she was concentrating hard trying to fix her contact lenses over the pupils her eyes. It was followed by the usual last minute scramble to find a blouse, while my son agitatedly paced the house trying to get me to leave on time.

And moments later, there I was, facing the world once again, wearing my best smile and my mismatched, ill fitting blouse.

Comments 16 comments

Khuku  6 years ago

Waao ..Love the name !!!

So happy to see you have started hubbing! Great hub!

I sure know about those tailor woes, worse still for me 'cos I am back 10,000 miles away before discovering how ill fitting it is!


Wow!! That's great. Thanks for putting my woes and I am sure, of many others like me, so neatly into a awsome reading piece. Also, fantastic to see you in the hub pages - ATTA GAL!! Keep going!!

Kiti 6 years ago

Lovely, Tilli. So, perhaps, instead of reading novels, it is time to write. You always wrote well. Perhaps a memoir?

As for the tailor, it is in their genes, no matter how cultured they sound.

You should hear Kiran on tailors!! And he has the additional job of driving me there and waiting while struggle in and out of clothes.

Have you tried online tailors? Everyone tells me they are fabulous. Pricy but you the final results are very good. I am a tad skepctical. I mean, what happens to the genes of these tailors when they go online? Or are they sending the clothes to th "workshop" on Mars?

Pallavi Gandhi 6 years ago

lol!! brilliant aunty! but why Tillie's Tales59? have i missed the 58 before it?

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Tillie's Tales 6 years ago from India Author

Thanks Pallavi. Actually this was the first.I don't know what 59 signifies.

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Tillie's Tales 6 years ago from India Author

Hi Khuku,thanks,remember you are the master mind! It couldn't be so bad for you because you've hardly added on any inches. Good for you and better still for your old time tailor!

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Tillie's Tales 6 years ago from India Author

Thanks Rochita. I knew you would empathise with this!It's more difficult because ready made off the hanger clothes also don't fit us.

Ashok 6 years ago

When I acknowledged receiving the Tale this morning,I couldn't finish reading it as there was somebody at the door.This is truly brilliant.The quiet grace of the prose and the restraint of its anticlimax is almost Austenian.I am so happy you are writing and hope you will give us many more of Tillie's Tales.

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Tillie's Tales 6 years ago from India Author

Thanks Kiti. I am at least assured of one reader when I trundle down memory lane. Where you of course will be trundling along with me, because we share so many memories!

I can imagine Kiran's plight and expression - otherwise he is pretty much a patient man.

Online tailors - hmmm, I don't know! Another species? Maybe, thereby hangs another Tale!!!

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Tillie's Tales 6 years ago from India Author

Thank you Ashok. i am humbled. This kind of appreciation from you is equal to an A+, right Mr. Dean?

GRACE RAO 4 years ago

Well Done Tillie I just enjoyed reading this Honestly the taiilors are quite dumb or to be harsh crooks You are totally right when you say they speak a lot of lies Good for you and look forward to some more interesting tales which is such a boost I am indeed proud of you Tillie

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Tillie's Tales 4 years ago from India Author

Hey thanks Gracie. Now I can't blame only the tailor for my own spreading middle and other bulges.....But tailors, as we all have discovered, sure can leave you in tears.

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sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

Oh, my God. This is so hilarious and if you don't let it out, this is exactly how it happens with me..only, my blouses turn out too loose, as I am too skinny. :D Voted up.

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Tillie's Tales 4 years ago from India Author

Hi sen.sush23,

Thanks. Wish I was like you. Loose is good - I wouldn't mind being on pins and needles!

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Sivas hub 4 years ago

But, you haven't told about the experience you had with the Ashok Vihar tailor (Seema's invention).

Or was that the cultivated lady???

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Tillie's Tales 4 years ago from India Author

Dear Sivas hub,

Your memory is really very good! God bless Seema, her Ashok Vihar tailor didn't give me any heartburn at all. The cultivated lady is someone else.....!

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