The tailor of Peshawar

...and the case of the measuring tape

I was going through the pictures I had taken in Pakistan and it is really funny…some of the clothes I got stitched there. The reason was that I had not expected the summers to be so hot.

One particular episode comes to mind. I had picked up these salwaar-kameez suit lengths in Peshawar. Nice lawn cloth. And not the kind of bedsheets favoured by some expat Pakistani women who go ooh-aah over gaudy floral designs by a ‘name’. Khair, I got a few delicate prints in beautiful shades of light green, turquoise and magenta. I needed them stitched urgently. They said their tailor would get it ready within a day.

I got all set to be measured – stomach pulled in, chest puffed out, ass tightened…it was the reputation of my country, right? Well, the man handed me the tape. I took it. Held it at my waist and let it fall – he took over from there, hovering near the ankle. Then I held it at the shoulder and he managed to get the length of the kameez. Finally we got to the crucial one. I wrapped the tape round my chest and to retain the modesty of the moment held it loose.

Kitna? (How much)? He asked.

Pachaas (50).”

Yeh zyaada hai…”

Haan, aisa hi hai…” Darn, if I was going to measure it as though I was going to hatch eggs in it, then it better be loose.

Same with the waist and hip sizes. I figured he would have an eye and work accordingly. Well, nothing of the sort happened. The salwaar reached the ankles even when I wore it real low and it had these immense pleats which gathered at the waist. That was not such a problem. The kameez was so large I could have happily suffered from schizophrenia and managed both of us in it. The shoulder became an off-shoulder, which would have been rather tantalising had it not been that kind of dress…and the sleeves reached my hands and I had to pull them up.

It gave me an edginess as I did my rolling the sleeve act while the kameez fluttered halfway down the road and my legs were ready for flooded streets at the height of summer.

Seasons have never mattered much…


  1. Brajesh Sharma14/06/2008, 04:07

    How about sporting your photo in this outfit? Isn't a picture worth thousand words? I command you on your emphasis ' my country'.

  2. SM:


    Brajesh Sharma:

    If I can write those thousand words, and they are not really NOT worth it, then that works as well! or seriously, I have been planning to put up some pix of the earlier trips to Pakistan; I have uploaded the recent ones here:


    Re. your comment on my reference to "my country"...may I ask why you commend me for it? It IS my country, so I mentioned it. And in this particular context it was more playful...

  3. Your words are like pictures but still look forward to them!!

    I don't know why somebody must remark about my country usage

  4. KB:

    Th pix will be online in a few days, though not sure if the 'tailored' one would be good for my rep!


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