Sunday, February 16, 2014

Discovering Nirvana through Nightie


 Image courtesy -  www.city-connect.org



It’s time aam aurats of India conveyed their heartfelt gratitude to the lady who was too lazy to change out of her nightdress and ended up sparking a revolution that led women to discover the delights of an unhindered, unclasped and drawstringless existence. Had it not been for her genius, Bhartiya Naaris would not have known Nirvana through Nightie.

Agreed that a fashion conscious, brand flaunting woman wouldn’t be seen dead in a shapeless nightwear masquerading as a maxi that does a perfect job of making you look like a dowdy behenji, but it is through its loose character, sweat soaked women all over India were exposed to the comforts of air-conditioning. Is there a greater satisfaction than slipping into a sack made of the softest cotton that lets you be yourself in all your hanging and paunchy glory? Who cares that the flowers printed on it outnumber the stars in the sky and its front has a bib like thing with even more flowers embroidered on it!

Its dusting cloth like texture is perfect for wiping your kitchen weary palms and your sweaty forehead with. It’s the perfect attire to slip into after a long day at work and what’s more, it gives you more space than your relationship!

The ubiquitous nightie is to women what lungi is to her husband - its comfort factor more than making up for its ewwness, bestowing its wearer with a beatific smile.

And who has the time and inclination to be that woman who slogs for hours at the gym and has three carrots for dinner before slipping into a lacy Armani that lovingly hugs her detoxed and toned body!

Of course, there is an emerging woman-force that has adopted the middle path and anointed pyjamas and loose t-shirts as their new nightie. These are women who spent their childhood traumatised by the vision of their Moms and neighbourhood Aunties flapping around in these hideous tents. I’m sure, all sabziwalas of certain Delhi localities like Lajpat Nagar and Rajinder Nagar have fond ‘mammaries’ of Chinki and Chunnu ki Mummy haggling for an extra bunch of coriander in her nightie-chunni. Or Raju Raddiwala who forgot his trademark manoeuvre to take the extra kilos off the stack of newspapers, the moment he sighted Mrs Mehra spilling out of her checked nightie with a waistband hugging her ample middle.

But no garment can beat the versatility of the Indianised version of the nightie that doubles up as a lounging, going out to buy groceries, screaming at presswala, gossiping with maid or even night-walk dress. What’s more, it doesn’t discriminate fat and the slim, lovely and ugly, and uniformly transforms everyone into a frumpy aunty jee. It doesn’t expect you to shape up or tidy up and goes perfectly with your no-make up look, bed head or even puffy eyes. A frock that fits all and covers all, it can be customised to suit your lack of fashion sensibilities. If floral fantasies make you sick, you can always opt for polka dots, checks or even cute hearts in pink. Sleeveless, side-slits, block-prints, flowy kaftans or even jhabla style. It is a garment that’s as forgiving of your indulgences as your conscience. Pair it Bata flip-flops for an outing to the grocer. For a more formal look slip into the pink beaded sandals that you bought for 650/- at the sale and if you’re feeling sporty, pair it with keds and voila you’re ready to conquer the world. Why, just the other day I spotted an elderly Indian lady in her nightie and sports shoes at a swanky shopping precinct in Brisbane! She looked cool as a cucumber.


As a busy homemaker who has devoted the rest of her life in pursuit of her family’s happiness, the aam aurat is least bothered what others might think of her as she rushes off to buy cheese slices for her son’s tiffin from the kirana store in her cotton nightwear and then rushes out again to drop him off at the school bus stop. She has little time to be stylish as she switches between playing the dutiful daughter-in-law, understanding wife and a doting Mother. It is this garment that understands her needs and has adapted itself as her all day wear. No wonder, it is the most loved and widely accepted attire of the Bhartiya Nari.

I’d like to believe, it’s through this humble garment Indian women discovered liberation rejecting the image of the comely wife in a sari or a salwar-suit and embracing their devil-may-care free spirit in an ankle length nightie.

In a society where women are held responsible for a man’s lust, the nightie does a perfect cover-up job of desexualising her feminine assets. It’s drab enough to elicit chaste thoughts from the beholder (sabziwala and raddiwala’s roving gaze can rot in hell), yet liberal enough to accommodate her needs. Easy to slip into, easier to slip out of it. Geddit?

So, if men can keep their cool in airy boxers and lungis, isn’t it imperative that women keep theirs in their humble nightie, fashion statement be damned! After all, you have to be cool-headed to deal with the men in your life who refused to grow up after 14.


This post was first published on IBN Live - ibnlive.in.com/blogs/purbaray/3353/65085/freedom-from-enforced-sexuality-why-the-aam-aurat-loves-the-tentlike-nightie-the-life-partner-of-the-lungi.html
 
Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers


92 comments:

  1. :D Nights with nighties are preferred to nights with men! Hilarious! :D

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  2. Although I have very few nightie wearing women in my life (my mother detests them), I have seen too many women in Kolkata wearing them One actually in Gariahat, shopping through her way in the market, teaming it up with an equally dowdy sweater and crocs. :D
    Great post as always! :)

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    1. Teaming a nightie with crocs which is inarguably the ugliest footwear, requires tons of courage.

      This is what I call a care a damn attitude, sartorial senses be damned.

      Delete
  3. An ode to the nighti (ngale), eh? - reminded me of the infinite uses of a towel in hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy.

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  4. I was waiting for THAT non-luring aspect of the nightie and you did not disappoint me, Purba :) Not that anything you write could ever disappoint - faaar from it :)

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    1. The nightie as a garment is only alluring for the wearer, for the beholder it's a sartorial nightmare.

      And thank you so much :-)

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  5. Only if nightie could understand this tribute from Ms Ray it would flutter in delight:)

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    1. I am expecting a defamation case from the Nightie Association.

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  6. nightie-chunni!! I always wondered about that attire !

    As always a great post..:)

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  7. First your post on lungi, then sleeveless blouse and now this. Scintillating witty write up. My comment is on IBN live.

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    1. Yes, I read it and was brimming with false pride :p

      And no wonder someone confused my humour and satire award with "what women wear" award :D

      Delete
  8. LOL! I still remember my mother going for her morning walks and going to buy milk packets in the evening, in her MAXI with a dupatta. hahahahah she did look cute though!
    This as always was a great post!

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    1. Fortunately for me, my Mom restricted her nightwear to night. But she unfailingly manages to wear the hideous versions.

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  9. Brilliant-pure genius.My mood is made for the day.

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  10. My mom wears these but I completely detest them :D Even though it was comfortable during pregnancy and post delivery for some days ;-) And you were so right when you said , that nightie is for woman when the lungi is for her man... I mean for typical Indian climate it is a huge relief...what a well written post is this !

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    Replies
    1. I was in two minds whether I should write on this topic but finally succumbed.

      Thanks for reading, Anita.

      Delete
  11. And older they are the better. In the sultry Indian summers, the mere thought of them can perk up the leaden steps under that damn fiercely beating sun. It's like running to the soft comforts of that fraying cotton and losing oneself in its folds... Wonderful post!

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    1. Yes and what a wonderful description!

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  12. I am most comfortable in 'nighties' or pajamas and top . This is my second skin but never step out of the house with this attire. The 'nightie' is a all-day and all night dress, comfy , flexible and hides the 'assets'.
    You have elevated the humble nightie by writing this post. I was beaming as I read it. Keep writing and we will keep reading.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading it as much I enjoyed writing it.

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  13. Sometime we need to write a long article on a topic on which nothing much can be written. This article has helped me in that context too. Interesting read.

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    1. I'm sure you're trying to say something that I'm not getting :-)

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  14. I am so happy to find a kindred spirit!

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    Replies
    1. Psst..I am the woman who took the middle path.

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  15. Perfect post :D I too detest wearing the nightie but post pregnancy it has become my maternity wear ;) Progressing towards my old style: track pants and loong tshirts :D

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    1. I spent most of pregnancy, waddling around in tents,

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  16. Yes, walking around in nighties exploded onto the scene in the 80s. You are funny, Purba.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, women took to the Indian version of the nightie with a vengeance.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. ROFL, my stomach hurts after reading this. I have written this in my head thousands of time. Bow to you Purba.

    http://idletusser.blogspot.in/

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  19. Hilarious ode to the ubiquitous Nightie . Loved the way it ended :D ;)

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes I take days to figure out an appropriate ending.

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  20. LOL.. What an ode to the humble nightie of Bhartiya naris. All the Mrs. Mehras and Mrs. Bhallas and Mrs. Patels are going to be so proud of u Purba! :D

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    Replies
    1. I'm petrified that they might end up gifting me a nightie.

      Delete
  21. I detest nighties!!! I feel sick when I see women pair it up with duppatas. And i hate the sleepy sloppy look that it gives. Felt so happy reading this post. The sarcasm completely echoed my opinions of this hideous outfit :)

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    1. Hahaha...I say to each her own. Thankfully more and more women are discovering the joys of track pants. I'm good with them as long as they are not in velvet.

      Delete
  22. Slap in the face of enforced sexuality incarnated by patriarchy gone wrong. Totally love it, Purba and what better tool than the humble nightie to wreck revenge.
    Awesome post:)

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    Replies
    1. Sarcasm has become my second nature :P

      And thank you :-)

      Delete
  23. LOL As usual a brilliant post. I must get myself a nightie now. Purple with mustard flowers on it would be just the thing. I am a pajama tee shirt person

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    Replies
    1. Try the Anokhi Kimonos. I think you'll like them

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  24. But.....but where is the comment I wrote on the IBN site? Is there a conspiracy against my comments? Are you part of a secret society? Is there a Knighthood of the order of the nightie? Are you blackmailing Zara to launch a range of nighties? I need answers!

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    1. Err...your comment is still there on the IBN site!

      Btw, I got over my Zara fixation quite some time back. You better update your G.K.

      Delete
  25. I have a feeling that the nighties date back to circa 3000 BC, in the boudoirs of ladies of Indus Valley civilisation. It was probably called 'Angavastra' or something on those lines, and the so-called inventors of nighties were roaming the planet in barks and shrub cloths about then. No wonder our Chinki-and-Chunnu-ki-Mummy-Class Ladies adorn it with such grace and charisma as captured vividly by you.

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    1. Hmm....So, you're saying nightie is part of our heritage? No wonder, Sushma Swaraj bathes in the Ganges in her nightie.

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  26. 'Husband-repellant' outfit, as my husband calls it. Loved the post. And the pairing up suggestions you've given!

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    1. Husband repellant is the perfect term for it :D

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  27. Didn't know a humble nighty could inspire all these reflections :) Very well done!

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  28. well said..the nightie brigade is strongest in West Bengal!!


    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  29. I have never understood the love for nighties :P but yes totally agree about how they can actually keep the roving eye away, after all women are at fault for sexual crime right? so let them bring the nightie to the rescue!

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    1. Nighties with bhaiya printed all over them should work wonders.

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  30. I know they don't look glamourous but some how can never leave my addiction for them :P They saved me $$$ during both my pregnancies. Who could write it better on nighties? :) Loving this post totally sitting in my sofa wearing a old nightie that retired long back from my wardrobe..

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    1. Hahaha...Not sari, its nightie that's the national dress of India.

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  31. ROFLMAO :D I secretly love nighties, nothing more comfier than them hehe.

    Long time Purba, and hearty congrats on the many awards this blog has received as I see on the right side! You're just getting better.

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    1. Welcome back, stranger! How have you been?

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  32. This is one of those extremely funny and original pieces that I've read in a very long time... Besides the humor and the billion-dollar sarcasm, you seem to have a knack to arm-twist the language to say what you want it to...way to go!

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words :-)

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  33. Haahaha. Glad there is something that helps aam aurat attain nirvana. and last line was a bumper :-D Enjoyed ther read

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  34. hahaha:D I have seen my mom in the hideous garment, thankfully she restricted it to only wearing it in the night and inside the house. But now you get many glamorous avatars of the nightie too with thigh long slits and what not ;) but ofcourse it will become a treat for sabji walas and raddi walas to get a glimpse of big cellulite filled thighs.

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    1. I used to love the Fab India gala-bandh versions with slide slits in beautiful ikkats. Then they stopped making them :/

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  35. From a first time reader’s point of view of your blogs, you have hit the bull’s eye. The topic and style of writing go hand in glove and both make the end product hilarious to the core. Thanks.

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  36. Could so much relate to it.
    But the best line to which I couldn't help but agree so much was men who refuse to grow up after 14. :P

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    1. Hehehehe...It took hours of "deep thinking" to come up with that line. Looks like it was worth the effort :p

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  37. Hahaha ohh god I am in splits... I m in train and people are throwing strange glances at me. The memories of Padosi wali aunty's flapping nightie came to my mind. awesome article.

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    1. And now you know why your Pados wali Aunty loves her nightie so much :D

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  38. Ha ha. Nicely done. It's a compelling case for the new national dress - for ladices only - men can keep their lungis on (metaphorically and literally). Btw you do have a kindred spirit here (http://tinyurl.com/75aostq).

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    1. Thanks for reading, Subroto.

      Bookmarked your link.

      Delete
  39. Hilarious! Well written. Loved it.!

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  40. Love the sarcasm! :D Hate nighties! What is worse? Ladies teaming the nightmare nighties with bath towels to cover the upper half while they run a quick errand around the neighbourhood! Ew!

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    1. Hahaha! I have yet to see that.

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  41. Gone a're the days Of nighties with floral prints and bib like lace in the front. Now there are brands manufacturing nighties and boasting of their variety in tv ads . It's comfortable indeed for Indian weather but I don't prefer wearing it during the day

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    1. But I have reserved the softest, oldest and most worn out dresses and tees as my home-wear :D

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  42. You know, the first English woman writer I read was Arundhati Roy (I couldn't however finish the book owing to my limited taste for profound literature), between the two bong writers, that is you and her, you always make most sense..great post.

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    1. Saket, I need a bottle of Digene to digest this comment :D

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  43. Fantastic Purba ! Amazingly well written. I forget how many times I have cringed as I have seen women walking around in their nighties outside and I have tut-tutted at their fashion-unconsciousness but you have given a very different view of the hitherto unspoken psyche behind the nightie !! LOL

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    1. Typically desi traits are fun and funny.

      Thanks for reading.

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  44. hahaha.... loved every profound statement in the post. Especially the "more space than the relationship" bit. Fantastic post.

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    1. It was fun writing this one :-)

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