Love Thy Master

My stout tailor, or ‘Master Ji’ has his own workshop in a 2 x 3 hole on the corner of a corridor in the heavily polluted car park of a market place. His eyes have grown smaller and darker over the past year and a half, ever since the widowed lady who employed him and his men at a reputable Stitching-Tailoring shop near the entrance of the market place, realized that the venture was too much to maintain. The business had shut down within 2 days, and well Master Ji decided to grab the best two tailors of the kharkhaana and start his own little thing. His clients have remained loyal to him through the dark murky times where they have had to choke and splutter on sudden bursts of fumes of exhaust vents leading down directly above the tailor’s shop, scream till their jaws ached on top of the deafening hum of mega-electricity generators that groan and shriek diagonal to Master Ji’s long flat table. Yesterday this table was found inside the shop itself, with a new face sewing behind it. He was squished in such a way that the mind boggled when it tried to map out a possible exit route. Inspectors had decided to survey the area and opined that the flat table was a security hazard of some sort-forget the vents, the tiny corridor suffocated with open wires, that goddamn table had to be inside the shop or they would be out.

Master Ji’s supervision over his worker men (never more than two at a time) has been efficient on a general level, despite the ups and downs, or rather the too-loose and too-tights. His main talent (thanks to me- a behenji who thinks that buying branded clothes from malls is a waste, when there is so much good running material  and skilled labour around) lies in the ability of copying designs from magazines-especially chic cuts from editorials. People usually donate magazines to him , or forget them there, or are promised that they will be returned once he has made something for his wife. Flipping through them for immediate inspiration is great.

But sometimes things get so tempting you just want to rip them apart. Today I ripped a few pages from a Grazia magazine dated to 2008.

I was flipping away when I saw (in my opinion) the most creative and endearing editorial shots taken of models in the setting of an Indian railway platfrom/train. As he was furrowing his dark eyebrows while listening to a client, I gasped and pressed my fingers down on the top edge of the page pulling it with a loud RRrriiip! (the generators don’t function during winter) He stopped and gave me a few “what the hell are you doing to my property” blinks. I showed him the spread of a girl in tiny shorts and shook my head at him “It’s not like you’d ever make THIS would you?”-he shook his thick carpet of hair back in response. This happened 5 more times when he began to chew on a tiny white toothpick with his front teeth more violently than ever. I had to give him that smile (you know the one where you have to scrunch up your nose)  and put the magazine down….

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