The tailor\'s tale
The smile was warm, as ever except the confidence of youth no longer permeated. The punjabi, worn often in conjunction with another was none the better for wear. Unlike other tailor shops located in a proper shopping area, was less well-lit and some of the finished trousers, jackets and shirts had been there for sometime, as had been the dismantled air-conditioners. Forty-odd years of client-tailor relationship had moved on from formality allowing for discourse to move easily from the serious to simple banter.
Dissatisfaction with the establishment was as strong as ever exemplified by the snort before saying bitterly 'every time the VAT guys turn up, they pointed to the air/conditioners and said business must be good. So better not to use them'. Business had been a struggle that throttled his dreams after leaving a well-known draper in a huff. Good at his work the initial response was good but as soon as he began to let go and depend on his staff, it all came unstuck. 'Trained them myself, I did. And then they left'. But he's thankful at being able to keep head above water and raised his children in decent style.
But when the discussion moved to his son, the one whose mention would always light up his eyes and cause a broad smile of satisfaction, now brought to his lips a smile as sad as it could get. Lowering his eyes, he said quietly 'I don't know what he is doing, though I know he stays in Uttara in a rented flat '. And yet, every educational or career move he made had been proudly listed in the past. 'Dunno what happened. He was Regional Manager in a telco (name deliberately omitted) and then he gave it up. Last I heard he was trying business'. 'Heard? Was he not in touch?'.
The sad smile returned, the eyes lowered. 'No. Maybe he's ashamed of being a tailor's son'.
After the inevitable silence the thoughts flowed. This had been such a common phenomena in pre-liberation times. One would have thought modern times would erase such pettiness but here we were in 2017, a young man ashamed of his parentage. The essence of family values lies twisted and trampled in the dust created by the shiny shoes of so-called progress and living standards. Such was the prize of years of decent and honest labour to provide for a family.
In the heartland of our country the farmer and labourer want their children to have an education that lifts them socially. As more and more do so, they move away from the livelihood that sustained them in the first place. The absurd promises of education's outcome, that of food for the body rather than food for the soul, of a glitzy world only a few are destined to achieve, have created a monster in expectation. The opposite to this is often ridiculed . The affluent young man who sells knickers-knacks and was castigated for mocking hawkers; the young woman who chooses to sell peanuts instead of an office job who was pummelled in social media for showing off, stuck to their guns. Good for them.
In an earlier write-up by this scribe, the roadside tea-seller Mojnu's story was told. He too has a son, going to a private university. May that have a happier ending than this-the tailor's tale.