Monday, March 7, 2011

Bring back the lungi I say...

Baba, this one is for you

In India, most of us sweat buckets most of the year.  Rivulets of perspiration, trickling down our back is an all too familiar feeling. In Delhi’s scorching summer, I start sporting the tomato-trapped-in-a-hot–sauna look. With my back permanently soaked with sweat, the face a flaming red and my hair frizzy beyond belief, I look quite a sight.  I refuse to meet most of my friends in summer – what if they start thinking I’m ugly? What if they don’t recognize me at all??

This is the season when I discard all my noble endeavours towards energy conservation, carbon footprints and gleefully help burn some more holes in the ozone layer.  I’d rather keep my cool than save the environment! But what gets my goat is when I see people attired in skin-tight summer unfriendly clothes.  As the mercury hits the roof, the last thing you need is squeezing yourself into your jeans or wearing trousers with full sleeved shirts. Just the sight of it makes me break into a sweat.

And this despite the many options we women have. Saris for the breezy feel, skirts of all shapes and sizes, sarongs for convenience and shorts if you don’t mind men gawking at your legs! Men sadly only have a choice of length – short, mid way or full length. 

A few days back as I was twiddling my thumbs and counting the cobwebs, I came up with a designer of an idea!  And believe me it’s far better than Baby B’s - the one that he keeps hawking on national TV.

Men-folk can now expect deliverance and break free from the tyranny of their trousered existence.  Guys!  time is ripe to go back to your roots and embrace the preferred attire of our forefathers.  It’s time to say yes to our desi lungi.  

Courtesy : Google images
Look how our Mallu brothers and our Tam uncles fearlessly show off their hairy legs in their mundus.  This one-size-fits-all-bottoms garment is simple, down to Earth and extremely pocket friendly. 

As a kid I used to find its north Indian counterpart, the lungi, truly appalling.  A lungi which usually comes in flamboyant floral or window-curtain patterns has an instant eww appeal.  Ask me, I know.  My Dad in his heydays had a vibrant collection, each one more colourful than the last and no amount of glaring or cajoling worked.  At home when he was relaxing, Baba was surgically attached to his lungi!  When my fiancé and I were courting each other, I was plagued with thoughts of my guy in a lungi.  One day I finally managed to stutter “I hope you don’t wear a lungi’?  Naah I prefer shorts.  It was only when we started co-habiting I discovered his stunning collection of shorts – each one more hideous than the last.   Why he even had a pair in red with something in French printed on it!

But now I have grown older and wiser.  After my deep introspection of the past few days, I am convinced about the sheer versatility of this bedsheet like garment.  It can be worn 'Full Mast' or 'Half Mast' like a national flag.  Go full-mast for the demure look and half if you are feeling naughty! And you don’t have to restrict yourself to boring neutrals, checks and stripes. You can go wild with colours and patterns, a splash here and a splash there. Rest assured you will never be lost in a fair!!!!

If you are haunted by the thoughts of a wardrobe malfunction – please put your fears aside. Ask any lungi-pro and he’ll tell you –the art of tying it lies in its technique. Once you’ve perfected it, even an earthquake can’t shake off a well tied lungi.  Have you ever seen a lion of Punjab’s forehead creased with worry lines as he jumps up and down in a lungi doing his bhangra? Naah, he experiences sheer unhindered joy. 

The secret behind the success of Gandhi’s Non-Violent movement lay in his dhoti.

You only need to worry when you jump out of a crashing plane in a parachute or you climb up a tree to save a distressed kitty.  You modesty might be a stake and if a girl is passing by you might hear a horrified scream. But hey it will be fun way to show off your Calvin Kleins!

And looking at the brighter side, you will now have the option to look hot and feel cool.  Imagine biking at full speed in a lungi on the highway, with the wind caressing not just your hair.  Getting into a heated argument, don’t lose your cool; just hitch up your lungi to express displeasure.  The sight of your toned legs will stun your opponent into mute submission. If Salman Khan is your idol, you can always choose to go topless. A carelessly thrown gamcha with your biceps doing peek-a-boo will drive women mad with lust, including that cranky officer at the passport office.  If despite wearing a lungi you feel the heat, you can use the ends of it to fan your heated parts.  So convenient – so eco friendly.   And you can put your reservations about its suitability in winters aside. If a Scot can survive in his kilt why can’t you?

The new age man is not scared of global warming anymore, he’s ready to face it leg-on.  It time to tell Louis Phillipe to go take a walk and never come back, send Levis and its sundry cousins packing to Barack’s own country.  The oh-so-cool Bhartiya mard will now be walking tall in his lungi.

The one-size-fits-all wonder garment is now available in Picasso prints, Martin Jansen’s abstracts and Bollywood kitsch at   PS: Coming soon a zippered version with matching underpants.

Also published on Huffington Post, India


  1. As a Mallu and a fan, i am a practitioner of the mundu fan and can vouch for its versatility, expressivness and sheer ease of use.
    maybe we should think of patenting it, before the guys from Barrack land do.

  2. When I went to visit my then Fiance's family, I was not expecting him to wear a Lungi, but he did. Later when we were remembering it after marriage, he said, i was at my home and why not? fortunately the lungi in Karnataka is usually in white color. I appreciated his thoughts and humbleness and more over he looked very cute :)))

  3. Your new start up?

    About the Lungis...nah...I will skip it. I would rather wear my suit....birthday one to be precise.

  4. Mallus have formal lungi too,which we call "mundu"...Psst Psst..though lungi's are a turn off,I have a instant crushes on men in mundu's...

  5. Jaya Bhaduri and Saira Bano made lungi popular for women also, the garment is so versatile it is uni-sexual too.

  6. i still have a dadu back at home who loves them inside out. dad is another person who just cannot live without it. and now my new mallu friends over here who drapes it around only during occasions. yes bring back the lungi/mundu

  7. Menon...The fashion forward Madhu, go for it I say!

    Bhavana...Even I like the white version. The Bong guys wear it as a dhutee and only on special occasions with silk kurtas.


  8. Blue Lotus...Honey even I love the mundu. Bought a couple of them from Kasavukada. For summers they are divine and the man looks good too :)

    IHM...Yea the silk versions. I guess most of us now prefer sarongs. Ideal for Indian summer :)

    Paulami...LOL...but not those ugly patterned ones.

  9. Even though your fervent pitching pitching and apparent usefulness of the LUNGI, i still fear wardrobe malfunction. So i will stick to shorts only..
    Nice pitching for Bhartiya Mard though

  10. Firstly - you havent let me focus on work today. So much reading to do after a week of travel.

    Well some details, the traditional Irish kilt is worn with Calvin Kline or the likes my dear! :-D No no we are not even going to get into any further discussions.

    Lungi the much maligned yet so practical attire - if only it could be branded as a sexy wear, a la sarongs which men now flaunt too. I hope you price them competitively at !! Do you need distributors??

  11. loved the last para where you advertise purbaslungi!!

  12. For the first time in my life I literally mean it when I say this:


    I love the way I can pick up any sentence and quote it on Twitter!

  13. correction
    Well some details, the traditional Irish kilt is worn *WITHOUT Calvin Kline or the likes my dear! :-D No no we are not even going to get into any further discussions

  14. Hahaha..dats a lovely post purbalungi;) In our Tamil houses, lungis have spl attachment to ladies too;) I hav myself screamed lookin at my mom once or twice in d costume. And especially on tiresome nights, lungis simply shun the men and join the women when it becomes cold....hehehe:P

  15. Perception...This should help

    And watch out for my zippered version :)

    Mayank...I am aware of the without part of Scottish Kilts :)

    I definitely need a skilled photographer for my scintillating range. And no, you don't have to turn up in a lungi :D

    magiceye...Have you placed your order?

  16. Kartikay...You are a geniassss!

    cloud nine...And we all love the sarong version, don't we :)

  17. hahaha... The lungi..

    What a howlarious post Purba.

    Even Superman might want to ditch his suit for a lungi this summer. A lose airy feeling. :)

    - pzes

  18. Hi Purba,

    Inresting post , hmm Lungi is something which is very comfortable.
    But for the working gang its limited day edition i.e only on weekends it can wore.

    But girls have better options in this reagrd as far the range of clothes you can see in your wardrobe ..oh common don't take away the lungi ..
    that 1 thing we have to ..look for this summer its looking hot hot hotter ...summer this year.
    ALAS working lot has still to wore the old formals. :(

  19. Pzes....I just got a heart attack trying to imagine Superman in his colour coordinated lungi :p

    Vivek...You can always make a fashion forward statement with your lungi. And none of your colleagues will dare take panga with you.

  20. LOL , what about the boss who will say your fired or fired-up ;)

  21. Being someone who has ever so brieflybeen there, done it, I believe your post will go down in history as the finest tribute to the apparel so closely associated with the masses. I kept grinning so hard while I read it, everyone tried to have a peep at what I was going through!

  22. Cheap and best comfort wear. You can make Mithunda your posterboy for advert. Remember that disco from Agneepath, Mein lungi uthathi tumko disco sikhathi...?

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. THis one i understand , I remember in college I use to put it on .. in punjab its called CHADRA.. or dhoti..

    and CRISP.. ironed and starch applied .. and put on a WHITE cotton Kurta with a turban on . NOW tell me can any other apparal beat that ...

    Excellent I love this and it is one of my FAVOURITE APPRALS when i go to india and especially my village 99% times I am dressed like that ..


  25. What a terrible suggestion. Am already scared of my own dad's lungi-culture.

    Its worst when my dad together with his brothers are getting up after meals, lungis clutched clumsily between elbows n upper tummy, until they wash their hands..
    I keep praying for their secure fastedness!

    Dad is a mallu and a mallu can go places but cant part with his lungi. And thats why have told sternly to parents , 'no mallu boy for me'.

    As for colors, I like my dad's black lungi with a golden blue border :P Its classic!

  26. hahahaha, love it. send me one of those dhoti de dali:)

  27. Vivek..fired up sounds better.

    Umashankar...I was grinning while writing this post :)

    Harish...Really?? An entire song dedicated to the lungi! Damn I should have put the link!

  28. Bikramjeet...Here comes another staunch supporter :)) I love the Bengali version as well.

    mepretentious...Like I read somewhere - Just as the mosquito is the national bird of Kerala , the mundu is it's national dress :))

    Suresh....Your wish is my command.

  29. LOL @ zippered version with matching underpants :))) Many ppl who don lungis definitely need that!

    BTW, you may not think it could be possible, but the sight of men from south india flashing their hairy legs has actually led to a public ban on lungis in the emirate of Sharjah in uae :)

  30. lungi is actually very practical thing,, but we are blinded by everything western,, so will continue wearing trousers..

  31. The L&M had a collection of the colourful lungis too before he took pity on me and began wearing dhotis, thankfully full-mast :)

  32. D B...So many interesting facts I"m getting to read :))

    Uncommon sense..Trousers are more practical.

    zephyr...Ha ha really? Like I said the colourful version has an instant eww effect.

  33. What a brilliant idea! It can even act as a parachute incase one has to jump from a crashing plane without one...

  34. many many years ago a half clad man only in a dhoti or lungi with a lathi in his hand chased the britishers away.thats the power of the lungi.but the scheming english educted suit clad manage to divide the country .well its now rightly politically to bring the dhoti bk and throw open wagah wall needs to comedown.....just a thought about what the dhoti can inspire

  35. Lungi is traditional. enjoy it

  36. Nothing beats the Mundu/Lungi!

    Well written with the typical Purba humour-touch!

  37. OYEMMMGEEEEEEEE! Purba you are getting me into trouble now. I am at work sneaking into blogger and what do I get ? a howlarious post to read. How on earth did this idea of lungis come to you? Too good.

    Purba lungis!! haha..When are they hitting the stores???? Do you intend to export them too??

    You can have an IPL team next year, cant you? - the lungi boys???

  38. ha ha that was too good. All set to become the entrepreneur eh! And guess what I am reading this post on "Men's fashion" on Womens day! You truly are pioneering aren't you...
    Waiting for the launch of purbaslungi. Down south the marketing it much more easy. Ppl already are sold on the concept. Are you able to hear them saying "Bring it on I say!"

  39. Vijitha...Thanks, I enjoyed writing this piece.

    Always Happeeeeeeee....I totally love the idea of lungi boys. The men in blue can now say Jai Lungi!

    Sapna...Dahhling you are giving me ideas :D

  40. Purba Di is on a Lungi Campaign this summer!:)

  41. Good one! My husband would be the first to agree. It always surprises people who visit us in the winter, when they see him in his dhoti. What's so unusual with wearing a dhoti at home you ask? Just that in winter the high temperatures here can be around -6C! He claims that the dhoti is man's best invention!

  42. Hahahaha...awesome as usual :)
    Your blog is my recipe to get back in good mood :)

  43. Raksha...And it's a cool campaign.

    Agnija...Yea and so is the Sari. I miss wearing it.

    Siddhartha...Enjoy it while it lasts :)

  44. ahahah...well written grand dad used to wear it at home..but I hardly see people in it now.

  45. Enjoyed reading it!! I don't like men in lungi. Some of them are too eager to show their Calvin Kleins, even when they have forgotten to wear one.

  46. Oh God ! I have been laughing like crazy n now my tummy hurts.
    Loved it .........

  47. Raam Pyari...Yea now it's either shorts or track pants.

    Giribala...The lungi wearer should come with a statutory warning :D

    Rituparna...He he

  48. My dad wear lungis when he's home but thankfully he wears decently printed with not many colors. He prefers dhotis though. By the way, nice write up. It was really funny. :D

  49. haha ROFL ...
    peek-a-boo ... nahiii ewww :P ... :P
    I always wondered why there never is a wardrobe malfunction when it comes to lungi ... :P
    I totally enjoyed the post

  50. Nethra...Glad you liked

    Rajlakshmi...God I don't want to be there, if ever there's a wardrobe malfunction.

    Shrinidhi...Oh you can accessorize it..will soon be coming out with desi style belts :)

  51. Rest assured you will never be lost in a fair!-ROFLMAO.
    What if people seriously start to think that lungis are the in-thing right now? :P
    Coming soon a zippered version with matching underpants. *shudder*

  52. Hilarious Purba!! & U know my thoghts on this one..eeks

  53. Tell me Purba! Which lungi making company hired you to write this post? :-P

    Nicely written, what a study of the Men's attire. You forgot to add that Lungi gives us a chance to have our own Marilyn Monroe moment. Just that there will be no takers for it though :-)

    Personally, I hate lungis and lungi wearing men

  54. So Purba you have given Fab India a brilliant idea- next we hear they have introduced
    Lungis or wraps in the Men’s section ;)

    BTW did you tell the men-folk here that a comment on this post automatically qualifies them to walk the ramp in lungis at your debut fashion show?

    PS: reading your posts in office are going get in me in trouble soon!

  55. Samadarita...The plain old unzipped version...*shudder shudder*

    Maitreyee...LOL...all of us are scared of the visibility factor.

    Mayur...Damn I should have thought of the Marlyn Monroe pose, with the lungi fluttering tantalizingly in the wind~

    Delhizen...Hahah..that would be a wonderful idea...them marching in lungis to the beats of your drum!

  56. Having a mallu blood and a mallu background, lungi tradition has been existent in my family since time immemorial. And the usual sites of self proclaimed hunks riding a KARIZMA with a half mast lungi and showing off their hairy legs are a usual site.Moreover sites of underpants showed off from uner the lungi are normal too. The best sight is outside the liquor shops where the lungi can be found tied on the head and various other places. good post ! much love!!

    New to blogging here and havign big problem having traffic feed. you know how it is. do check my blog and if worth it..follow it :)

  57. OMG awesome topic
    wuld surely suggest my friends

  58. Excellent article. Though trying not to be a typical 'mallu', I also get tempted to wear 'lungi' ('dothi') occasionally in spite of the warning from my little daughter who is scared that it might fall anytime!! But lungi is not only a relief during summer, it is also a 'symbol' of liberation!

  59. red handed...You will take some time to find your place under the sun. Keep writing and will be checking your blog soon :))


    sibi...Aren't we all petrified of a possible wardrobe malfunction :p

  60. ref: your PS

    how about giving fly buttons.

  61. The lungi evangelist that you are.. Its been the fall of many a great men. The overall confidence one may possess in the security of trousers or shorts may not be there when clad in a lungi.
    You need to dedicate a large amount of your sensory energy and your motor cortex, on a subconscious level, to make sure that in the slightest event of this piece of cloth considering desertion of the waist the hands have to move in lightning speed to secure it.
    In a age when we are hooked to gadgets this may not be advisable. Take a simple phone conversation, depending on the person we converse with, it is possible that our mind may take flight and one might find caught with the lunging lungi...

  62. I am one of the few Tam that too who was born in a place bordering the mallu land, who don't know to wear lungi or rather say whose body lungi flatly refuses to stay ;) Cursed soul am!

    Btw, did you say Calvin Klein inner? Noooooooo... we have our own langot - the best for Indian summers :P

  63. Brilliant post! Certainly had me in splits while I remembered all those wild colors worn by neighbouring uncles and when I used to visit the local vegetable mkts! Oh, how I hated this garment too! The zippered version sounds like a great business idea :). I remember my Dad getting his lungis stitched at one side for the convenience!

  64. Awesome post, too good.. I'm your new follower.. keep writing..

  65. This is a fun read!! Well written!
    Flowery lungis, polka dotted bright red ones, ah, and with what pride they're worn :D
    Heard this joke abt why the work productivity of mallu men is so low? Because half the time is spent in tying and untying the lungi :)

  66. Pramathesh....Right now only you"ll have to settle for the zippered version.

    Benedict...Lungi evangelist LMAO - love the title.
    The lungi-man lives without a care in the world. The world may worry about it's unfurling, but not him.


  67. Richa...The stitched version - already thought of a tagline. Better be safe than sorry :p

    Raghu..Thanks a ton

    Ambika...Mallus and Bongs excel in the art of procrastination! Let's say the lungi is just an excuse ;)

  68. Lungi is multipurpose i believe, it can back up as bedsheet, towel, and what not. Plenty of air circulation guaranteed.....kudos for a humourous and informative post Lolz

  69. fascinating post:))

    Getting to hear that even women wear lungis down south!! If women can wear this with so much confidence, why are the men so scared of this coming off due to a wardrobe malfunction?

    Keep writing!!

  70. I've been in love with lungi, but never dared to sport one...guess it's the time to say Hi to Lungi, and bye to Pajamas! :p

  71. Deguide...And you don't have to worry about bursting out of it's seams. This is a one size fits all garment.

    Himadri...We women wear it as a Sarong.

    Punit...LOL btw pj's are good too

  72. One of your best..and to think I almost missed it.
    What an idea...a rib tickling post on lungi..only Purba can do it. I made my husband read it too..You rock and so does the lungi...

  73. Lungi is my ....home attire and i am lot comfortable with ....a post on lungi is something beyond my imagination rock ...

  74. We Indians have not created a sexier garment. Never tried it myself (being born in a generation seeing only my grandfather wear such an attire) but I can sure see its uses. However, summer is about to hit us hard once more and since I'll be living in Delhi when it hits me, I'll prefer the shorts without floral colours! :D

  75. Alka...I was giggling when I wrote this post. It was fun writing it and glad you liked.

    Akhil....It was beyond my imagination too...but like they say never underestimate the power of your imagination.

    D2...I have seen a lot guys in Goa lounging around in a lungi. So next time when you are there.....

  76. @purba: yeah sarong is a favourite for many women, yet they raise their 'brows when you tell them that lungis are comfortable!! Then they say lungis-OMG-double standards ha ha ha:))

  77. *laughing till my tummy hurts*
    You have helped me capture some bright and beautiful images in my mind for sure! and I believe they are not to be shook off easily :P

    LOVED the post!!

  78. We guys have to wear a full sleeved polyster shirts and ties even during the summer to office...Donno y these guys r so attached to western outfits

    But the girls here are free to wear whatever they wish....

    As for lungi...i donot know how to wear one yet. its a great shame for me being a mallu

    Me being from the city of Priyadarsan, mohanlal....there is a story going around from their naughty college days

    These guys used to climb atop a high compund wall adjoining women's college...wearing a lungi and free as a bird underneath..So when some girls passed in front of them. they used to jump from the wall...right in front!!!

  79. Himadri....Ahh let's just say a sarong sits well on a woman.

    Enchanta...Buy one for A...pleeeeez

    Jon...Gawd! that doesn't sound good at all!

    Ana-treek...He he

  80. hahaha!! as a hesitant user of the lungi initially, but being a mallu, I have grown into it and tbh, all u stated are true. The convenience, the comfort, the arrogance, the attitude, you name it, one can do it all with the way of wearing one of Malluland's brightest traditions :D

  81. Purba-Here's the link for the lungi song that someone mentioned :

    Also did u know that there's a place called Nungi near Kolkata? God knows how the name was derived!!

  82. Try getting into a DTC bus in June...You'll surely feel someone else's sweat trickling down your backside! :P

  83. Nice one. For a moment, I really believed that you are selling lungi's from your website, and tweeted it as a 'commercial but witty' post.

  84. Doc... The lungiman needs a lot of confidence to carry it off. Agree.

    Himadri....Nungi sounds sinster! Don't ever want to go there.

    Aman....LOL...but we now have the Metro!

    Shubhra...LMAO...that will be some day! Thanks a ton for the tweet.

  85. sorry am a little late reading your post...night shifts never let me read blogs...but the post is refreshing...yes even my dad prefers lungis....when I go to my hometown there are oldies asking me dont wear a lungi?...and I see small kids having fun in a lungi

  86. At night you can remove the lungi from your waist and use it as a blanket.

    I'm a geat fan of lungi, and I still proudly wear it at both full and half mast at home depending upon the climate. In summer at quarter mast or lesser.

    By the way, I would like to place an order for the Picasso print one.

  87. i think you will then enjoy this :

    all hail the lungi and the mallu who dared to go bare in dubai..

  88. Shahid...You sound like the Amul chocolate ad of yesteryears - I am too old for disco...too young to hang up my shoes...but I think you"re just right for.... :D

    Joshi...Guess what? Someone actually thought I was selling lungis :D :D

    tys...Dubai must have got a heart - attack!!!

  89. This reminds of my father screaming my mother when he dnt find his lungi in place after coming back frm wrk.. :)

  90. I love my dad in a lungi - his are white with a black or brown border. He looks so cute in it. And when I was a child, if dad was in a lungi, it meant it was a holiday and he would be at home. Considering he was my best buddy (and victim), it was all good news.

  91. Suprit and Deepa...Time we formed a lungi club. We all have lungi memories - the good..the bad..the ugly.

  92. Lungies are very good: comfortable, good from the practical point of view, decent and beautiful. I like their simplicity, their colours, their border. Lungies and dhoties look great. Besides this the wearing of lungi (sarong) is unique south asian tradition. And I believe it is very important to preserve this tradition. I think we should wear lungies and dhoties not only indoors but also outdoors in our everyday life.People who like lungies and dhoties have moral right to wear it at work too. There is nothing indecent or unfitable in it. These people support and preserve the clothing of our ancestors and their attempts to preserve it should be respected. Those who mock at lungies and dhoties always surprize me. Usually they give no arguments to their position. They even have no experience of wearing lungi or their experience is small but they condemn us - lungi wearers for our choice. What should be condemned, I believe, is pants dogma and negative attitude to lungies and dhoties and the disrespect to the clothing of our ancestors.

    For me wearing of dhoties and lungies is ancient tradition, the tradition of the peoples of India, the tradition alternative to pants dogma, the tradition of peaceful people, not invaders. And for me it means that I need to support this tradition. More than that, lungies and dhoties are comfortable, decent and beautiful. And we have no moral right to ignore this very fact. So I stand for lungies and dhoties in our everyday life.

  93. It is strange for me to see indian male politicians abroad wearing trousers. I think we should ask them to wear normal clothes: dhoties, veshties. They are public figures and so should wear proper clothes.

  94. did u knw that kuwaiti's wear lungi's at home too?

  95. Oh man. this is a fantastic post. Im putting a link on my blog for this post if you dont mind. Fun read... also writing another one... will put up a link when i do.

  96. Check out female lungi I am wearing on my blog

  97. Hilarious... Enjoyed reading your blog even though I don't dare to wear a lungi :-)


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